Bringing home baby

36 weeks for Deuce! And Tess is a week away from being a year old. Deuce threatened to show up again yesterday, but we now know to hang tight, and he settled back down.

Something shocking just occurred to me: when Deuce is born, we’re going to bring home a baby. Not a 3-month old with special needs who won’t eat, but a newborn infant. The joy we felt when we got to leave the hospital with our beautiful Tess is incomparable. Still, reverting to the idea of a newborn coming home is a bit of a shock to the system after grieving those expectations and moving beyond the loss of normal into the joy of our daughter and everything that she is.

So we’ll be bring home a baby: a roly-poly, sleepy, snuggly, hungry baby who knows how to suck, who doesn’t need an incubator and who can be held by our friends and family within his first few weeks of birth. We’ve taken the preemie clothes out of the suitcase; they’ll be too big. From the intelligence-gathering I’ve been doing, I hear he could leave the hospital the day after he’s born!

And Tess will be a big sister. She’s small for her age but totally on the charts unadjusted. She’s had colds, gotten teeth, grown out of more sizes than I care to consider, and rocked her one-year checkup today. She’s on the cusp of 19 pounds, in the 95% for height, and has a big head – in a good way. The pediatrician sees absolutely nothing of concern, and said she’s doing exactly what she expects of a preemie: learning things in the wrong order, catching up in leaps and bounds, and growing up like every other baby does.

She also insisted that she heard Tess say hi, which I’ve been suspecting for a few weeks. Tess’ official first words?

Hi and yay!

How appropriate. 🙂

Her checkups always knock the wind out of me a little. The doctor has to ask about the full range of development, and no – Tess isn’t walking, crawling or scooting sitting up. She rolls all over, pivots on her tummy, is rocking therapy, and feeds herself though. Our pediatrician is great; there’s just no way around the age-appropriate questions. The overall tone was delighted. In fact, Dr. B reminisced about the day the NICU contacted her about Tess and how far this kid has come from that call!

We rounded out the checkup with a blood draw, which was horrific. Even with a butterfly (I have no idea.), the first nurse was digging for a vein. They could only find access on one arm, so the second nurse had to dog in the same place. Tess screamed so hard she was frothing at the mouth, and I don’t blame her. As a regular blood donor, that hurts like hell – and I have a lot more meat on my arms! They finally got it, but a friend yesterday recommended we actually go into the hospital next time. Will do. Also, mamma bear Becca instructed us to demand a pro. As Dave pointed out, Tess has been stabbed with enough needles in her short lifetime. Our responsibility as her parents is to make her healthcare experience as manageable as possible, and to protect her from unnecessary pain. Speaking of pain and to round out our medical Friday, we hightailed it home for the last RSV shots! Tess won’t need them next year unless she gets really sick over the summer.

Despite the progress, we’re adding occupational therapy to the Tess intervention cocktail. Should be entertaining. I’m pretty sure Tess’ team can see that Dave and I want to be as proactive as we can right now, so they’re giving us ample opportunity! And Tess? Tess is playing with sounds, communicating constantly with her public, clapping for everything and showering smiles on the world. This 51-week old is crazy awesome.