Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This was my Robbie last week.

This is my Robbie yesterday. As you can see, the difference from week to week is still pretty slight but I will point out the major change: no vent tubes. In other words, he's breathing under his own power right now. Of course he's nowhere near able to deal with room air; he's on an O2 cannula. Still. I think this is one of the big developmental milestones of preemiehood.

Forget about the normal babybook items. Baby's first smile, first gas, the day the umbilical cord fell off. We are counting such milestones as baby's first day off the vent. Baby's first tube feeding. Baby's first experience trying to suck on a preemie-sized soothie-pacifier. Baby's first time throwing a tantrum inside the isolette and pulling out his leads. Baby's first heart surgery.

Strangely enough I still take all those things as true parental-pride-worthy accomplishments. If I think about them in the context of what the regular baby books tell me, I wonder what planet they've come from, because in our universe those "first" steps aren't going to happen for many months yet to come. They will come, I have every confidence in that. They will arrive here unheralded by balloons or marching bands. It will happen and be marked with quiet joy by a tired mother and father who recognize just how miraculous every sunrise is for this child who started so small and who fought so hard to learn how to breathe and eat and keep his heart beating.

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