My 29 weekers are 29 weeks!

How did we get here?

Whenever I hear the term, “29 weeks”, I assume we’re talking about the gestation my babies were born at. I can’t assume that anymore… My babies are officially 29 weeks old.

This means – they’ve been out of my belly as long as they were in it. I have to reiterate the question – how did we get here?

I thought it would be important to mark this occasion with an update on how these ex-29 weekers, now 29 weeks of age, are doing.

Life seems to be calming and slowing down for us – well, as calm/slow as it could be after adding two new members to our family at once.

Throughout the summer I had been loosely following the “E.A.S.Y” schedule set forward by the baby whisperer. The babies would eat, then have an activity time before going to sleep, with time for myself to follow (ideally… In reality? Maybe not so much).

Once fall hit though and the big kids went back to school, the “E.A.S.Y” method was suddenly not so easy. There was no way I could let the babies dictate their day when I was stuck running for the bus 3 times… So we’ve been forced onto a more rigid routine, that seems to be working out.

We’ve been seeing our pediatrician, whom we love, about once a month to once every two months, and have been going to the Children’s Hospital’s follow-up clinic about once every four months. In fact, we just got back from a visit there:

Our 4 month (corrected) check-up:

They took our picture as we entered (so fancy) and then it was a morning full of questions – talking, listening, watching and learning. The “smart boys” didn’t disappoint! They are both following their milestones as they should be.

Henry at 29 weeks old - our 4 month (corrected) check-up.

H at 29 weeks old – our 4 month (corrected) check-up.

H is reaching for toys, rolling over from both front to back and back to front, he’s following you with his eyes and turning to the sound of your voice. His muscle tone looks perfect – no signs of cerebral palsy to be seen (PVL is the leading cause of cerebral palsy, so we’ll be on the watch for signs until he’s at least 3).
The neonatologist explained to me that from what she has seen of cases like H’s (he has left frontal damage), she is hopeful that his damage could be limited to fine motor issues, or perhaps difficulties in learning math or difficulties understanding social cues… time will tell anyway!

Ethan at 29 weeks old - our 4 month (corrected) check-up.

Fin at 29 weeks old – our 4 month (corrected) check-up.

Fin is reaching for toys, rolling over from his front to back and will roll from his back to front with assistance, he’s following you with his eyes and turning to the sound of your voice. He’s a little floppy with his muscle tone, something I had noticed at home, but the doctor assured me it still fell within the normal range. Fin just needs a little more tummy time to strengthen his muscles and develop better head control.

When it came to their weight…

H – weighed in at 12 lbs. 2 oz. Fin – weighed in at 11 lbs. 4 oz.

For the first time ever, H, who had always been 0.5 lb to 1 lb smaller, has surpassed his brother in weight. Significantly so. I was delighted for him but my heart initially sunk for Fin. This can’t be good. “This has me concerned,” I told the dietician and occupational therapist – they both spoke back in unison, “It’s concerning for us too.” Uh oh.

More questions, a lot of listening and then came an answer: reflux. Now, Fin has always been a bundle of constant drool. He would cough after eating and spit up at least a little after every meal. We knew he suffered from reflux, we just never realized it needed intervention.

Fin loves his nighttime sleep, falling asleep sometimes by 8pm and sleeping through to 6 or 7 am – but is a terrible daytime sleeper. He’ll sleep 30 minutes at a time, wake up grumpy, until I put him back to sleep for another 30 minutes. I had decided that this was just him, his nature… some babies like sleep, some babies don’t… right?

The dietician explained to me that Fin’s reflux could feel to him like intense heartburn for us. He could be in so much discomfort that all he can sleep for is 30 minutes, and that by the end of the day he’s so tired, he crashes. Apparently being in mom’s arms is comfort enough, as he spends his days perfectly happy in them. But, she also explained that he could be eating just enough to sustain his hunger, too uncomfortable to consume enough for him to gain.

A lot to take in –  but here’s the solution we’re trying:
We’ve beefed up his formula bottle (the boys have one bottle of formula per day, right before bed – the rest of the time they’re breastfed), we’ve started the boys on iron-fortified cereals and other solids, and we’ve started Fin on a prescription medication to help soothe/tame the stomach acid that’s making him so uncomfortable.

We go back at the end of the month for a weight check – but we’ve already noticed a difference in his daytime sleeping. Woohoo!

In saying all this – I have to say, the “smart boys”, now 29 weeks old, are doing great. They’ve come a long way from the 4 and 5 pound little bundles we first brought home from the hospital.

Time has gone by in literally the blink of an eye – so this 29 week milestone is definitely a reminder for me to embrace this time with them… spend more time enjoying the present we’ll never get to enjoy again, while remembering the past, and MAYBE a fleeting moment here and there can be spent dreaming about tomorrow.

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