I can't tell you how many times I heard that from a few die hard veteran moms. Of course I ended up having to row that forsaken boat when the babies first came home due to their extremely low birth weights and need for so many extra calories. After the first couple of weeks however, I let them make their own schedules. It's worked well so far. I'm not looking at the clock all the time and they are doing what their bodies tell them they need to do. Everyone is gaining weight (some days, even me, pft) and all are happy for the most part. Currently, I am able to predict with some accuracy (within a half hour or so) when they will wake and when they will need a diaper change or feeding, etc. They naturally stay pretty close together although Mary Louise made the jump from 3 to 4 hour feedings (at night) a week or 2 ago and David is still pretty much on a 3 hour schedule. It still works however, because by the time I finish with David and put him back to bed, Mary Louise is just starting to stir. I can finish with her, pump and clean everything in about an hour and 15 minutes which means I sleep anywhere from an hour and half up to a heavenly 2 and a half hours before starting all over again. Of course Brent helps when he can but he commutes an hour to and from work and therefore needs a bit of rest every now and then.
He was home today to help with the all too long appointments we had. Early Steps in the morning...the babies are officially enrolled and we now have a family service coordinator - this has been over a month in the making. Though it was mostly filling out paperwork and setting long term goals for our little ones, Mary Louise put on quite the show of smiles, grunts, sitting up, staring and kicking her little legs. Needless to say, we were all slightly distracted and very entertained. David, sweet David, slept in Brent's arms after feeding. He was so fussy last night - Brent stayed up with him most of it as I was apparently "out". I must relax more when I know Brent will be there to pick up the slack.
Mary Louise went to sleep towards the end of our 2 hour meeting. It was now 11am and we all had to be at the Kid's Team appointment at 1pm. It was 30 minutes away, it takes awhile to get both babies changed, diaper bag and bottles packed, and oxygen set up moved - are you doing the math?
I let them sleep as much as I could while I gathered their records, extra clothes, Wubbanubs, blanket - you know, the parade of various textiles deemed "completely necessary" for us to leave the house with our little ones. Then I did it....UGH! I still cringe...after having little to no down time for almost a week, very little sleep, and with exhaustion setting in, I woke not one, but TWO sleeping babies for the sake of a stinkin' developmental screening (I really hate developmental screenings now).
So we made it there - with bells on. Both babies content for the moment with bottles in their mouths. We were called to the back rather quickly where the real fun began...weights: David 6 POUNDS!!! Mary Louise: 7 POUNDS 4 OUNCES!!!
Wow - that was exciting! David was crying and Mary Louise was flashing her pearly pink smile for her daddy. On to the next room.
A physical therapist and an occupational therapist took turns evaluating the babies' development over about 10 minutes. First, the passing back and forth was a bit much. Second, I was cold in the room (so I know the babies were) and they took the babies' socks off leaving their feet FREEZING! Third, as I said before, I had to wake them from their naps to be there in the first place. Having said that, the physical therapist was the one who had seen them in the hospital and was amazed at their size and successful development as she calmly played with them on the floor. Mary Louise tolerated her exercises very well while David though a bit grumpy, put on a fair display of what he does at home. So far so good.
The occupational therapist had her turn and played with the babies for about 2 and half minutes each before deciding they were at (Mary Louise) and just below (David) their target level. Both babies were fussy, both were tired, and both couldn't care less about the damn keys she kept shaking in front of their faces (though she did in all fairness catch Mary Louise's glance for a brief moment). She ended her exam by telling me - well insinuating actually - that David couldn't see properly and that I wasn't spending enough "tummy time" with him. His eyes didn't track properly (umm mine don't either when I'm hysterical) and he only picks up his head - not his chest which means he's behind. She also told me that my babies were spoiled - many many times over. Ok - so that's really a pet peeve of mine. I absolutely plan on consciously "spoiling" them with attention throughout their lives, but I question how spoiled a baby their age can be. Honestly - they want what they want - there is no reasoning and therefore no spoiling. My David marches (and grows) to the beat of his own drum and I refuse to try to force him (if that's even possible) or pressure him to do otherwise. I introduce activity whenever he tolerates it, we have massage time, and reading time, we do range of motion exercises multiple times a day. But if he won't follow keys, he won't follow keys. He does follow lights - which is where Mary Louise was a couple of weeks ago. Though I try not to compare them too often, David is typically 7 to 10 days behind her in development - not too surprising considering his size and increased need for emergent care. Honestly, who really knows where these babies "should" be right now - a couple of years ago, this would have been a really different situation for us.
Finally the poor poor speech therapist saw them - or what was left of them. (PS - they still had to see their neonatologist after all of the therapists got through). Really, both babies did well with her - most likely because her assessment was short and sweet because they really don't have any feeding problems and are just beginning to coo and smile. They ranked the best in speech at around 3 mos and just under that for the 2 of them.
Their PT scores weren't too shabby either with both of them scoring just above their adjusted age of 1.8 months.
We were so happy to see the neonatologist who has saved our babies' lives and faculties time and time again throughout their NICU stay. He grinned when he saw us and exclaimed how good our little ones looked. Though David was (again) a little fussy, they both seemed to be just fine with the doctor's handling.
We dragged out the door just over 2 hours from the start of the appointment. We skipped our walk today as I just couldn't in good conscience disturb my sleeping beauties again.
Tomorrow, we try out the jogging stroller!!!! I am so so excited I can hardly contain myself! Marathon mom, here I come!! (ha - maybe I should just set my sites on running a mile first right?)