Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Need to Smile?

I HAD to start with this picture because you can't look at it without smiling. I can't believe this little "chunk-o-love" was my little 3lb miracle just 4 months ago! He was sitting on a pillow that made his little voluptuous rolls really stand out and the smirk on his face only makes it better!

Back to smiles... the babies are smiling like crazy! First Baxlyn... then a few out of Brody... then finally Korbin & Kylee. Now it's pretty easy to get any of them to smile. I like to call Baxlyn my "Cheeser" she gets these ear-to-ear grins going on with gums hangin out everywhere!
Here's a small one from Brody

... and Korbin

"What?... I'm cute?....Little ole' me?"

"Yeah I guess you're right!"

The babies have been doing great and growing over night it seems. They're are changing so so fast. It's exciting but I can see their "babyness" slipping away before my eyes. Yes yes I know they are only 4 1/2 months old (and technically just 2 months) but really they remind me daily that it won't be long and my babies will be kids and chances are.... no more for me :(

A physical and an occupational therapist from Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) has been coming out to the house weekly for the past month or so working with the babies physically and evaluating them developmentally. They are doing well with just a few things to work on that are common among preemies like muscle tone. Korbin especially is a little stiff and tenses up very easily. We do a variety of exercises several times a day to loosen their muscles up as well as working on head control, tracking people and objects, strengthening of the shoulders and neck...etc. We set goals for the babies, things we hope they'll be doing at 6 months adjusted age (November) like sitting up without assistance, holding their own bottles, entertaining themselves, transferring objects from one hand to another, and being up on all fours. For now they will all be seen once a month and maybe more often down the road as they're expected to do more things.

I mentioned the holding their own bottle thing... Bret has seriously been working on this since they left the NICU. Believe it or not they are SLOWLY starting to cooperate. Of course it's easier for them when the bottles are almost empty as seen below... but they're getting there! The sooner the better for mom and dad!

Thought I would share a few sleeping poses.
This one is Bret and the girls.

But of course the BEST place of all to fall asleep... Mommy's hands...

Last but not least for today, Bret and I ask for your prayers. We need wisdom at this point. Next week we go see the cranial band doctor (the helmets they need to help shape their heads) but were having a hard making a decision about Brody. Because of his shunt, many people including therapists and his neurosurgeon, are encouraging us NOT to put him in a helmet. The helmet would be fit for his head around his shunt... however there is always a chance it could put pressure on or around it in the wrong place and cause the shunt to malfunction. Others including our pedi say to do it. What's worse a misshaped head or a shunt malfunction that could cause more surgery? Seems like an easy answer, but it's not. Without the helmet we're afraid his head will stay misshaped and his torticollis (a condition in which the head is tilted toward one side, and the chin is elevated and turned toward the opposite side) will get worse not to mention when his head is so misshaped it is physically hard for him to roll it over. If anybody has experience with a child with both a shunt AND a cranial helmet... GIVE US ADVICE! Clearly... we're torn on this matter and want to make the right decision for Brody so we just ask for your prayers!
Thanks to all!
Bret & Heather


  1. Precious! I can't even believe how big they are getting! OH! What I wouldn't give for my nine month olds to hold their bottles once in a while!

  2. My son has a shunt (2 grade 3 ivhs, born at 28 weeks 3 days) and we did do the helmet--all approved by his neurosurgeon. We had zero problems with it. In my experience, the shunt made no difference to my son and the cranial office was very careful with how they fitted the helmet to his head. Feel free to email me if you have any questions, just link through my profile. Also, if you'd like to read about our experience with the helmet, he got it in August 08 and wore it until April 09. He was a lot older than your little one, so he had to wear it longer. My advice is to do it early if you are considering it.

  3. Heather, they are doing great! I completely understand the growing up too fast. They are all just so so beautiful.

  4. God bless you Stacie for responding to this question!! We will be praying for wisdom for the right decision for you and Brody, strength to follow through, faith to KNOW for CERTAIN it is God's Will, and for it to be a SUCCESS :)

  5. My daughter, Brynleigh had torticollis too. We took her to see a chiropractor, b/c we'd been doing some stretching exercises at home that didn't seem to be working. After just one visit to the chiro she was good to go. She hasn't held her head facing just one way since. She went on to gain great head control and is perfect. :) Her head never really became mis-shaped b/c we noticed it before she was 2 months and took her to the chiro early 2.5 months maybe? At her 4 month check-up her peditrician was pleased w/ her progress and strength in her neck. As far as the helmet, I have no idea about them. I'd say if the pediatrician doesn't think it'd hurt the shunt, then go for it. Hope you're able to make a decision.


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