We are so fortunate in that there has been very little to report in the world of Andrea. I know people want updates, but for the most part, there is nothing going on that is out of the ordinary. Who would have thought that we'd be saying that about Andrea? A year ago at this time, we were trying to come to terms with life on the apnea monitor and PulseOx. Now, we're contending with baby gates in not one, but four locations in the house as Andrea climbs the stairs and basically gets into everything she shouldn't.
Last week was a week of doctor's appointments. We had Andrea's 15 month physical (those are scheduled based on her actual, not corrected, age) a pulmonology appointment, and a follow-up hearing test. The physical went well, although at this age there are always vaccines. We know they're important, but we hate to see Andrea so enraged, LOL! The pulmonologist was pleased with the way Andrea's lungs sounded, and we don't need to go back until October, if she stays healthy. The hearing test was the most interesting. Andrea had a hearing screen before being discharged from NICU, but I wasn't there when it happened. This time, I got to watch. The doctor had me sit Andrea on my lap in a sound booth. (I felt like I was on a game show!) The doctor then spoke to Andrea from outside the booth, and the sound came through speakers on either the right or left side. If Andrea turned her head to the correct side, a box lit up and she saw either a stuffed dog or pig making sounds. The doctor progressed from speech to tones, and each time Andrea turned toward the sound, she got the reward. Fortunately, Andrea did well on the test. Her hearing is adequate for speech and language development. I learned from the audiologist that some of the preemie medications can cause hearing loss. We're not in the clear, but she doesn't need to be retested until she's three.
One of the things we're enjoying this summer is finally being able to go places with Andrea. (Although it's a challenge to travel with her.... we have to bring so much baby stuff!) We've been able to spend a day at the NJ shore, travel to Connecticut for a family wedding, and make trips to the town pool, where Andrea is able to splash in the baby pool. Last summer, we went to the pool with the boys, but Andrea was allowed nowhere near the water, and we left her with my parents to take day trips with the big guys. Now, she can be a part of all of it.
Our most recent adventure was a trip on Saturday to the Bronx Zoo. It was a cloudy, overcast day, which is great for seeing the animals. They're more active when it's not so hot. This time of year, there are usually lots of baby animals, too. We saw the "adolescent" giraffe that was born there last year, along with this year's crop of monkeys, cattle, sea lions, birds and so on. The most interesting thing, and the reason for today's title, was Andrea's response to the animals. She was quite interested in everything she saw, and we could see her eyes following the animals as they moved around their enclosures. She rode the "Bug Carousel" and watched the butterflies in the Butterfly Garden. Nothing intimated or upset her until we got to, of all places, the Children's Zoo. For those of you not familiar with the Children's Zoo, it's a place within the main zoo where kids can experience some of what animal life is like. They sit in giant birds' nests, climb in prairie dog burrows, wear tortoise shells, climb a giant spider web and so on. At the end, there is a barn yard with farm animals for feeding; the usual assortment of cows, pigs, goats, fowl and sheep. After all we went through, the one thing that made Andrea absolutely hysterical was... the sheep! Among the cutest animals in the area, they had the audacity to bleat when we were there, and Andrea burst into tears. Actual heart wrenching sobs of terror! It was so bad we actually left the barnyard and moved on to another area of the zoo. So, go figure... she's had more transfusions, IVs and shots than most adults, endured months on oxygen tanks and monitors, will happily be thrown through the air, but cannot abide by sheep! LOL!
Next week, we have Developmental Clinic in New Brunswick. This will be her first appointment there since October 2009. She had an ear infection for her March visit, and the doctor didn't want her coming in. I hope the doctors will be pleased. We think she's come so far, and seems pretty on-track to us. As before, the doctors will assess her against full term babies and recommend early intervention if necessary. I'll try to post after clinic with the doctors' updates.
“We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character”
Henry David Thoreau