So a wonderful Thanksgiving was had by all and Benjamin got to see so much of his family. He even got to meet his new cousin Kaia who was up from North Carolina. They held hands – it was adorable.

Lots of photos were taken. However, those photos are on the camera forgotten at Amy’s cousin’s house. Fortunately, we have a few shots we got from my phone we can share of Ben with family:

Ben and Uncle Kevin

Ben and Uncle Kevin discuss the finer points of long hospital stays

Aunt Chrissie and Benjamin

Aunt Chrissie explains to Benjamin how Kaia can teach him about eating if he can teach her about sleeping

Aunt Rosie

Aunt Rosie gives Benjamin the giggles


Giving Thanks and an update

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. This morning as I was explaining today’s holiday to Benjamin (“…and then the pilgrims and the native Americans enjoyed a feast together and everyone was happy… except that probably didn’t happen and the story actually ends pretty badly for the indigenous people… but anyway they had turkey”) I made sure to tell him all of the things we are grateful for. One of the things we are most grateful for, of course, is that we have him in our lives. To that he said “GA!” and grabbed my finger. I’m not sure if that translates to “right back atcha dad” or “you are super cheesy.”

Benjamin has been doing so well lately – turning over like a champ and doing so great with his therapies. Tonya, his vision therapist, was here yesterday and said that she thought he was doing fantastic, especially with social interactions. He is just so giggly lately. He really wants people to talk to him and tickle him and bite his cheeks. And he’s babbling up a storm – mostly “Ba! Eee! Ga! Iii!”and the like – but he has a lot to say.

He also went to the eye surgeon recently and got an update. The doctor said he still doesn’t think he’s ready for additional surgery, but he was very happy with how his eyes were looking. He thought they grew more than he expected and was happy there was some retinal activity. The doctor actually said that he had expected Ben’s eyes to be shriveled by this visit but that they were doing well. That was information I wish we had. I think we might have panicked if his eyes really did begin to shrivel.

Ben also visited his pediatrician who thought he was doing great, but wants us to keep an eye on his weight. Ben hasn’t been growing very fast lately – mostly because he wasn’t eating all that great (he is a very difficult child to feed). But Benjamin must have heard that because since that visit, he’s been eating so well! Hopefully next visit he will jump up a few percentiles (he’s in the 2nd for his adjusted age now I think).

So lots to be thankful for! We hope your Thanksgiving is wonderful, no one argues politics, everyone has just the right amount of wine, and your yams don’t fight with your sweet potatoes.

Come back for photos of Benjamin and family later!

World Prematurity Day

November is Prematurity Month and today (what’s left of it) is World Prematurity Day. So we wanted to do our part to spread some awareness around. Some info:

  • In the United States, 1 in 8 babies is born prematurely that’s about 543,000 babies a year
  • Worldwide, 13 million babies are born too soon each year
  • Babies born just a few weeks early are at risk of severe health problems and lifelong disabilities.
  • Premature birth is the number 1 killer of newborns.
  • Tonight, the Empire State Building will be glowing purple and white in honor of March of Dimes and World Prematurity Day.

So do your part – don’t be born early. Even if all your friends are doing it. Just say No.

And you can donate to a worthy charity such as Graham’s Foundation. We mentioned them before – they are a great organization that supports families of micropreemies with care packages, information and community. We are fans.

It seems like a million years ago and like yesterday.


Benjamin's first days - born at 23 weeks, 3 days - 1 lbs, 12 oz

Front to Back

This afternoon I saw my parents and brother (Benjamin had to stay at home with Joe), and they all asked me how Benjamin was and what he was doing. Benjamin has been gaining a lot of strength and is super cute, but he hasn’t done anything¬†particularly noteworthy since Joe allegedly saw him roll over on the couch. The rest of Ben’s very ardent attempts at rolling over have looked something like this:

Despite some champion leg flinging, as you can tell (and I so helpfully illuminate in the video) he has trouble tucking his arm underneath so that he can roll over it.

After I got home, Joe went out to walk the dog and Benjamin got some tummy time as I folded laundry. Then I noticed something weird. Benjamin was on his back when I checked on him over the stack of burp cloths, even though I distinctly remembered putting him on his belly. So, naturally I grabbed the video camera (proof!) and flipped Benjamin onto his belly. Almost immediately he was on his back. He did this one more time- three rolls total- before that darn arm got in the way again.

We have faith that he’ll figure it out again though- hopefully while both of us are in the room at the same time!

Outbreak Monkey and Early Intervention

No amount of purell or handwashing or leaving my shoes by the door would save me this past week. Last Sunday I started feeling a little “off” and by Wednesday when I finally got to a doctor he told me I had “early pneumonia.” When I started feeling sick I also started keeping my distance from Benjamin, which was hard since I just came back from a trip. I was, of course, paranoid about having already exposed him to my germs before any of my symptoms showed up. In fact, I still am. I am feeling much better now but we have been watching Ben like a hawk to make sure he didn’t catch anything. So far so good, but I am worried that this will be a long winter of me asking Amy “Does he feel warm to you?”

In actual Benjamin news – it was a busy week for our boy. Early intervention finally started and he had two sessions each of visual and physical therapies. The visual therapist called Ben “a very strong kid” and has already brought toys for him to interact with and stimulate his vision. Benjamin has gotten to play with a lightbox and may get his own soon. She thinks that Benjamin is even tracking some items with his left eye – the one that we pretty much gave up hope on.

The physical therapist also seemed very positive was happy with his muscle tone. She did exercises with him to help build his core strength and showed Amy things we can do with Ben in between sessions. Amy says Ben likes the sessions and it is mostly like play – so what’s not to like?

Cute Ben

The therapists both thought Benjamin was adorable!

Benjamin is even showing improvements in pushing himself up and moving his head around when on his belly. We’re sure he’ll see more improvements as he get more sessions.