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Ashlee is Mama of one darling boy. A 28 week early bird, now 1 and some change, doing beautifully. She lives near Chicago with her sweetheart husband and French Bulldog. She's a thinker not afraid to get her silly on. Babywearer, veggie queen, photography nut. Before the domestic days Ashlee was pursuing a future in developmental psychology but has happily shifted gears in favor of staying at home and couldn't imagine doing anything else. In her free time (ha!) you can find her whipping up babyslings, holding down the fort at Mama Speaks and spotlighting as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor.

NICU Developmental Clinic

We had to take Xavier back to the NICU for his developmental clinic on Wednesday. Our hospital offers this clinic free for preemies who have "graduated" from the NICU. At certain intervals we bring him back in and he is evaluated by a team of physical therapists and checked out by the neonatologists where they assess everything from his growth to his motor skills.

Going back there is the strangest thing , wrought with conflicting emotions. When X was born the NICU was obviously VERY foreign, so medical and unnatural, but after you are there all day, everyday, for so long - you become strangely comfortable - and it becomes your home away from home. The moment you are discharged you once again become an outsider. The unit is locked so there is no more coming and going, no stepping more than a couple feet inside the door. The enjoyable part of going back is catching up with the nurses who were so instrumental in his care, some of whom we became very close to. This is where he fought to stay on this earth and will always be an huge part of our lives.

...Back to the evaluation... after signing in we settle in for a long wait (it is after all a "clinic"). The small waiting room is filled with families and their babes, some still teeny-tiny, others growing big and strong. For the most part everyone is quiet and keeps to themselves. Eventually we are called in to see the physical therapists. I sit Xav down and they look at how he can sit and stand, ask him to perform a few tasks and ask a load of questions. Until preemies are 2 or 3 years old they essentially have two ages: their chronological age (actual age) and their gestational age (the age they would be had they made it to term). In our case Xavier's chronological age is 10 1/2 months, his gestational age is 7 1/2 months. It is expected that they develop according to gestational age and even this is some times a stretch since so many preemies experience delays.

After finishing up with the PT team we go back and wait until the doctor can see us. We are called back just as X settles in for a nap of course. We undress him and sit him on the scale so he can be weighed and measured (where he starts dancing like crazy!) The doctor soon comes in to look him over, we quickly catch up with one of Xav's associate nurses (each baby is assigned one "primary" nurse and at least one "associate" nurse so that care is as continuous and familiar as possible) and then within moments we're free too go.

So what did we learn? Our little champ is doing great! X is at or above his CHRONOLOGICAL age for language skills. His gross motor skills are at the level of an 8 or 9 month old. Medically he's doing great, no issues to speak of and is above the 95th percentile for growth!

God is good!

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  • Blogger Staci says so:
    3:52 PM  

    It is very obvious just by looking at Xavier that he is a happy, healthy boy, but it is so nice to hear it from someone else, isn't it?
    What an amazing little man you have! top

  • Anonymous Bea says so:
    9:23 AM  

    That is so awesome.When i saw that he is supposed to be 71/2 months I knew he was ahead of their schedule!!! God is so good! top

  • Blogger Cyclone says so:
    10:21 AM  

    Ever since the first time I met Xav I never would have guessed he was ever a preemie!!! So good to hear all of those things from the doctor. top

  • Anonymous Anonymous says so:
    7:18 PM  

    Xavier's story is so precious, and you as his Mommy & Daddy had a lot to do with it, for sure! I love those photos- an amazing story... God is perfecting that which concerns you. He doesn't fail! top

  • Blogger beth says so:
    8:48 PM  

    Yeah, he's obviously doing great by what you post on your blog alone. I'm happy for you guys though. Such an amazing story. top

  • Anonymous Anonymous says so:
    10:08 PM  

    What a wonderful dr. visit that turned out to be! He's a beautiful little boy. Ours is right on track too, you're exactly right, God is good. That's wonderful! top

  • Blogger Robin says so:
    10:44 PM  

    Everyone is right, Xavier is a miracle. He has grown so big and so strong, he doesn't seem like a premie at all.

    I sat next to a woman today whose baby was only 5 pounds. She was SO tiny. But 3 pounds. WOW!! And look at him now. top

  • Anonymous Anonymous says so:
    1:24 AM  

    What a blessing he truly is! Thanks for sharing your story with us! top