Thursday, October 11, 2012

Benjamin at four months

I never did write about Benjamin's two-month appointment (probably because it was on August 9th, the day we loaded the moving van, two days before Andrew and the girls left). Turns out the poor boy suffered from ankyloglossia—which sounds like it should be the name of a dinosaur-themed dictionary—which just means that he was tongue-tied. My mom pointed it out one day when he was screaming so I brought it up with the doctor, who, after asking a few questions, snipped his tongue right there and then.

One of the questions was how Benjamin was feeding. The answer was that he was obviously getting milk but he wasn't latching very well. I don't know how we didn't notice it in the NICU with lactation consultants buzzing around the place, but because Benjamin was tongue-tied he clicked when he ate. I'm not even sure he was clicking in the hospital or if it started soon after coming home but it certainly was a bit of a challenge because not only was he a ridiculously noisy eater but clicking tongues cause milk blisters which are kind of annoying to chronically have.

The doctor peeped in Benjamin's mouth, said, "Yup. Definitely tongue-tied," and got out this spoon-type mechanism with a slit in the middle to hold Benjamin's tongue in the right place. Then he just took his scissors out and snipped his lingual frenulum, just like that.

"You'll want to nurse him until it stops bleeding. I'll be back in five minutes to check on you," he said, handing me my squalling son.

Five minutes later and he was just fine, though the clicking would take a few weeks to disappear.

Benjamin also got his vaccinations but they were out of the combined shot so he ended up getting five separate injections. He was not a happy camper, but he survived and we walked out of the office with a cute little card bearing his latest statistics:

Length: 21 inches (0%)
Weight: 8 lbs. 15 oz. (2%)
Head Circumference: 37 cm (3%)

We just had his four month check up today. I am kind of in love with North Carolina's medical system so far. All their records are on the computer so when I called to register the kids at the clinic they already had some of Andrew's information from when he lived here as a boy.



"I see you've already brought one of your children to our clinic?" the lady said.

"I have?" I asked.

"Yes—Miriam, at the urgent care center for a..."

"Head wound. Right." Bang up job, memory—that was less than two months ago!

"No, wait. You didn't bring her in. The father did. Andrew?"

"Yes."

"Now, are you two married?"

"Yes."

"Are you currently separated?"

"No...?"

"Hmmm...well, I have Miriam's address showing as blah-blah-blah."

"That's correct."

"But it says here Andrew's on Revere Road."

"What?! Oh, wow—that's his childhood home. His family hasn't lived there for twenty years or so. No, my husband and I just moved from out of state and our whole family lives at blah-blah-blah."

"I'll make that change then."

Seriously, they have everything in their records. It's awesome because sometimes my memory is less than reliable at retrieving information (in a timely manner (or at all)), as I proved above. What? We brought a child into the urgent care? Oh...oh, that.

Anyway, I didn't have to fill out a single form at the reception desk because I answered most of the questions when I was on the phone making the appointment in the first place and anything I didn't answer they asked me in the doctor's office.

So, Benjamin is doing well. He's doing a great job of catching up with his actual-age peers (rather than straggling behind with his gestational-age peers).

His current stats are:

Length: 23.35 inches (0%)
Weight: 12 lbs. 0.6 oz (0%)
Head circumference: 40.4 cm (12%)

Miriam was already 13 lbs. at her 2-month appointment and by her 4-month appointment she was 15 lbs. (but only 23 inches long). Rachel, on the other hand, was 14 lbs. 3 oz. at her 4-month appointment, but was 26 inches long. Benjamin really isn't too far behind them, all things considered.

"So we can conclude he is gaining well," my mom said. "You were 12 lbs. at 6 months."

I was actually 13 lbs. at six months (I just looked it up in my baby book) but at any rate, Benjamin is growing just fine and the doctor said he's looking great. He's still a little behind his actual-age peers developmentally, but that's to be expected. The doctor asked when I was going to start him on solids and I didn't have an answer—I hadn't really thought about it...he still seems so new. The doctor said we'd be fine to wait for several more months since Benjamin is growing steadily. I quite agree. I couldn't imagine feeding him anything else right now and he isn't the least bit interested in big people food.

Benjamin got his second set of shots today, but this time they had the combined vaccine so he only had to get two injections. Our nurse was so sweet...and southern. She gave him his oral (rotavirus) vaccine first and instead of squirting it all in his mouth at once (causing him to choke and spit it all out like he did two months ago) she gave it to him slowly, over several minutes, talking to him the whole time.

He was smiling up a storm at her.

"Now, if you'll grab his arms, I'll hold his legs," she said as she prepared to jab him.

Before she stuck him with the needle she leaned over his face and said as sweet as could be, in her slow southern drawl, "Ah do this with luv in mah hart, ah suh-wear!"

She didn't beetle on out of the room after she was finished and instead stayed to coo at Benjamin and they were friends again before we left the clinic. He smiled at her on our way out, though after we left he was kind of an angry boy—stress-sleeping most of the afternoon away and angry-crying when he wasn't.

I was happy to learn that he's growing so well, though. I feel like my sole purpose in life these past four months has been to feed that baby and make him grow! I suppose that's always a mother's purpose for the first little while but honestly, the NICU scares you into feeding your children—they wanted me to fortify my breast milk and wake him every 2-3 hours for the first couple of days we were home. They had me keep a record for every single time I fed him—on which side, for how long, was he wet or poopy...how poopy? Did you pump? How much? Did he spit up? How long did he sleep?

I was more nervous about bringing him home than I was bringing Rachel home. I felt like I was a first-time parent all over again...only worse. I didn't realize they only wanted me to keep that record for 4-6 days (as I later saw on my discharge papers) and so I kept recording his eating/pooping habits for two weeks! Some people might have a baby book filled with cute entries of the little things they did the first few weeks of life and all I have for Benjamin is a detailed record of his bowel movements.

Such is life.

And I'm not stressed out about how much he's eating now because...twelve pounds?!

6 comments:

  1. See, my memory is not so good either. I forgot that whole pound! Good thing you had your baby book!

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    1. You also forgot to log out of Josie's account. :)

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  2. That was weird. I posted a comment, and then realized that Josie was signed in...so I signed out from her account. But then the comment "she" wrote disappeared too...

    So what she didn't really say, because it was really me, was that it is a good thing you have your baby book so you could look up your actual weight since my memory was incorrect!

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  3. Okay, so it is back...weirder.

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  4. And also, Nancy, go to bed!! It is way past midnight! :o)

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  5. I am nursing a baby. To make him even FATTER!

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