I wanted to add a few photos from the past three months, since they were pretty darned momentous for us.
But first, I just wanted to ask everyone to say a word of prayer--I am not sure that it matters to whom or to what you pray--for a little girl that we know. She's five months old, 6 weeks corrected, and was in the ICN at Pennsylvania Hospital in the same nursery as Hallie. She is a surviving triplet and 24 weeker and she is having a really rough time of it right now. She is a gorgeous little girl with parents who love her very much and want desperately to bring her home. We want the same thing for them. So please say a prayer for little Miss Emily (her blog is linked under "Emily" in our preemie pal link section). Emily is a fighter, but she could use all of our collective help.
Now onto our saga.
We made it home by three pm on October 10, 2006. We were going to wait for shift change since Hallie's night-shift primaries had rearranged their schedules so that they would be there on her homecoming day. We're very attached to Hallie's primaries (who totally rock!) and we wanted to be able to hug them goodbye, and even more importantly, have them hug the little girl whose head they molded to a perfect round shape and whose little body they held during the two or three hours a day we weren't there. We knew even then that we'd be staying in touch with Ellen and Corinne, but still, the symbolism of leave-taking is pretty significant. Anyway, the ICN kind of needed Hallie's bed and it was nice to think of getting her out of the hospital, so we strapped her in her car seat and her primary nurse, Meghan, walked us downstairs to the car. She gave Hallie a big hug and a huge Meghan high-five and off we went. Hallie fell asleep for the eight block ride and slept through our opening of champagne and pretty much just chilled out while Sharon, Vanessa, and Sheila and I got used to the idea of not going to Pennsylvania Hospital all the time.
Then we put her in our stroller (might I recommend the Peg Perego A3? It's a great stroller for preemies because it flips into a bassinet and it also has the capacity to attach car seats and it turns on a dime). And headed back to the ICN. This was just around shift change. Meghan convinced us that it was a nice day and hence okay to take her out. And this way we'd be able to set out all the goodies (I'd also like to recommend hoagies from Sarcone's deli if you are ever in Philly) for the night shift and get our hugs in. It was an amazing time for all of us, but no pictures exist. It was too dark on the stroller walk and somehow my picture taking skills fell short during our brief visit with the primaries. INstead, I'm pasting their pictures below:
After that, we returned home to 'normal life', which apparently means feeding, pooping, and not sleeping much (if you are us) and more (if you are Hallie). Hallie quickly developed into a baby who liked to be held while she was sleeping, and one morning, I woke up and came downstairs and found her and her mommy like this:
This was an irresistibly cute shot. It's a bit blurry since I didn't want to wake either of them to take the picture, so I didn't use a flash.
It also turns out that Hallie wakes up with the same stretching routine that Sharon engages in every morning. And they both are champion eyebrow raisers. Though Hallie can raise her whole scalp. Very cool.
Hallie also began to spend a lot of time doing exercises on her tummy. She's progressed far in her tummy time over the past three months and has gone from just being able to raise her head to being able to hold it up for long periods of time at a ninety degree angle. She's very, very curious about the world around her and hates to miss anything. Here are a few selected Hallie tummy time poses from over the past three months:
Early December 2006:
December 27, 2006:
She has been practicing her moves a lot lately, and is doing great. She sees a Special Instructor every week, and is about to add an Occupational Therapist to deal with her reflux, feeding, and disorganization issues while feeding.
Hallie is a hard worker and a very determined little girl. She's managed to roll over four or five times but most of the time, gets about half way, balances on her side in her crib (which is used for playing, not sleeping, to our great dismay) and then kind of hangs out there. She'll get the hang of things soon and be rolling like a champ in the new year. Meanwhile, here's evidence of the fact that she did roll over a few times already:
Hallie has also been spending a limiteda amount of time getting to know friends, family, and of course, her numerous doctors. She's totally interested in everyone she meets and tracks them. Needless to say, everyone washes and Purells really well and stays away if they have even the slightest chance of an illness. Mommy and I, however, had to take care of her when we were sick, and this was a bit anxiety-producing. But Hallie's RSV shots seemed to have worked really well (and we are giving her a little breast milk in each painfully slow bottle that we feed her, which hopefully also boosts her immunity). So Hallie has stayed well the entire time she has been home, so far. Let's hope this trend continues since we really are not terribly fond of going to CHOP, and certainly not staying there for any more than we have to for her doctors' visits (which are too numerous to contemplate, unless of course you are the parent of a preemie, and then you know exactly what our medical visit schedule is like).
Sometimes Hallie's love of people distracts her from playing with her toys, unless of course we are talking about her cool mobile (which she speaks to) and her tiny tot gym mat with her Lamaze mirror suspended over it. Our theory is that she thinks that she is making eyes at another baby, who is making eyes back at her.
Here's a photo of her grabbing her toys and playing with them on her mat:
Anyway, that's all for now. There will be a third pictorial retrospective of Hallie's first holidays and Hallie's friends later on this week.
I hope that everyone is off to a good start this year, and again, please pray for Little Miss Emily.