Quite a compelling photo if I do say so myself. On the left is a baby that surprised us 12 weeks, 1 day early with his arrival. He was so tiny. We were so scared. We had never seen a baby born so early and weighing only 2.5 pounds. We really weren't sure if he would make it. I mean, really, that small, that early, needing help to breath, not able to eat, how could he?
The photo on the left is of Aidan 3 days old. In this photo you can see he's on a ventilator. The cotton on his head is covering an IV, it's in his head because the veins are so close to the surface they are easier to get to than his tiny arms or legs. There is an NG tube in his mouth and down his throat and into his belly. Every 3 hours they pull back on the tube and see what residuals were in his belly. There are leads on his sides monitoring his breathing and his heartbeat. There is a gold heart lead on his belly that is monitoring his temperature, because he can't. The diaper that looks huge on him is a preemie size small. That diaper is only about 3 inches tall and not even 2 wide. This picture was taken by putting the camera inside his isolette because he was completely enclosed to keep warm and healthy.
In the photo on the left Aidan's skin is "shiny" because he is jaundice and bruised. The photo was most likely taken while he was breathing out as you can see his belly is sunken in and you can see his rib cage. His arms are the size of my pointer finger and his legs the size of my thumb. He is sedated so he doesn't try so hard to breath because it tires him out... yes, breathing uses too much energy for this little man.
Aidan spent 66 days in the NICU. Aidan lived and thrived in the NICU thanks to many doctors, nurses, specialists and research done to help babies born too soon. Aidan came home a month before he was even supposed to be born.
And then we come to the photo on the right. Our big boy. This photo was taken of him when he was 9 months old on September 27, 2009. (I would have included a picture of him more recently but they were silly pictures or had others in them, and I wanted one of just him.) This is Aidan at the park, standing, playing, smiling, and loving life. Instead of 2.5 pounds, he weighs 18. Instead of being 15 inches tall he's 26. He doesn't have any tubes or wires attached to him. He's eating stage 2 baby foods and self feeding puffs. He laughs and "talks" without any effort at all.
While Aidan may be doing great and not in a hospital he is still a little behind developmentally. He has nearly caught up to his actual age with his fine motor skills and cognitive skills however he's still at his "adjusted" age for gross motor. His actual age is 11 months 3 days. His adjusted age is how old he "should" be had he been born at 40 weeks. Aidan should only be 8 months, 8 days old. Some days are more difficult than others, he's not walking or crawling, he's not talking, he's not feeding himself anything but puffs. But we get to have a baby for longer. Everyone else gets upset that their babies grow so fast, we have Aidan as a baby about 3 months longer. And we've been blessed that he is HERE!
And yes you read correctly, Aidan is now 11 months, 3 days old! His 1st birthday is right around the corner! And while we've had a "baby" for longer, I can't believe how fast the time has gone. He makes me smile every time I look at him or think of him. I am so unbelievably proud of everything Aidan has accomplished. I look forward to seeing him accomplish new things every day and watching him continue to grow big and strong. I love seeing his personality develop. He's quite the little character. He loves to laugh, make motor boat noises and be the center of attention. And boy is he cute!
It's been an honor to blog for my preemie today as part of Bloggers Unite and the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes has done so much for families of preemies and the funding for research to help premature and sick babies. Check out their website and see what you can do to be a part of Prematurity Awareness Day and Prematurity Awareness Month. http://marchofdimes.com/prematurity/index.asp