Today we visited St Michael’s Hospital for the last time. Eva had a clinic visit with the neonatal consultant, Pam. I will start off with the most important piece of information the weight: 7.45kg (16lb 6oz). This is just a 410g increase in 7 weeks and takes her just below the 9th centile. We didn’t expect a huge gain as Eva has had two chest infections (drop in appetite) and a trip to Morocco (on packaged food). No one is worried about her weight so I guess we shouldn’t but with so much focus for so long it is hard to change. For some more statistics her head circumference is 42.8cm and her length is 68cm. At least it means we get good value out of each range of clothes.
The most extensive part of the appointment today was a neurological/developmental assessment by the physiotherapist. Overall they are happy with Eva’s development for a 25-weeker. Basically Eva needs to spend more time on her tummy and practicing moving. Eva isn’t too excited about this news. The tricky thing is that Eva likes sitting so I let her and it keeps both of us happy. Whenever I put her onto her tummy she reaches for a toy and then rolls back onto her back to explore the toy. If I try to roll her back onto her front it becomes a game. We need to place lots of fun objects further in front for her to move to. Also when Eva is standing we need to hold her across her middle instead of by her hands. This encourages her to stand flat footed instead of on her toes. They were very happy with Eva’s straight back when sitting and her balance. Also we need to try to keep one arm in contact with the floor when coming into sitting from lying and vice versa to teach her how to get herself from lying to sitting. It seems Eva’s fine motor skills are progressing nicely, she was able to pick up various size objects. Also she could find an block hidden under a cup and followed objects that were dropped to the floor. They were happy with Eva’s range of vocalisations.
The dietician was happy with Eva’s progress and seemed pleased with her food. We need to keep protein at both meals and keep trying new foods. Pam thought that Eva would most likely grow out of any food sensitivities which is great news. The dietician was happy that Eva was having lumpier food and some finger food. She did suggest that perhaps we could try some more finger food choices. We do think that with the soon-to-be influence of bigger cousins Eva’s finger food choices will expand!
Pam wanted Eva to have her 12 month immunisations today and also the swine flu vaccination. Eva hasn’t been well enough until last week and we wanted to wait for Pam’s advice regarding immunisations. Pam suggested holding off the MMR vaccine until after all of our travels as this can produce illness 7-10 days post immunisation so not good for plane travel. So this afternoon I took Eva to the GP baby clinic which is a walk in clinic for her immunisations. Eva did give the nurse big smiles before and after the jabs but did scream her displeasure after each arm was injected. Poor thing, they were very real tears. She was very easily calmed with a breastfeed and a cuddle followed by a yummy lunch of Braised Beef.
After the appointment with Pam we visited SCBU where we saw lots of staff who were just delighted to see Eva. Eva was a little grumpy by this stage as her morning sleep had been cut short but she did manage a few smiles. It was great this visit to meet up with so many staff who remembered us. They all made lovely comments about how well Eva looked and had progressed. It is always wonderful to hear it from the experts who saw her born at 790g and going home at 2.1kg! They also kept commenting on how well Andrew and I looked which we both think is very amusing as we must have looked really bad a year ago to look better now. Eva gave Nikki, one of the Community Nurses, a big smile and reached to have a cuddle with her straight away. We had a couple comments about how Eva’s great progress is related to our care of her since her discharge home which was lovely.
After St Michael’s Eva and I visited my old manager Colleen. Eva really wasn’t in the best mood but did give some smiles for the ladies in the office to marvel at how big she is now. We enjoyed some time sociaising and catching up. Eva demonstrated her sitting abilities but it did turn a little messy when she fell backwards onto the concrete floor! Oops!
One thing that I really wont miss is the shocking overheating of all the buildings we were in today. I just don’t understand why anyone needs to be that hot! It is very tricky when I need to wear a big coat outside then have to carry it around inside! I can’t believe that we will never go back to St Michael’s again after spending all that time there. It was sad to think that leaving Bristol means leaving this part of our life behind.
It was a very tiring day today for all of us so hopefully Eva wont be too bothered by her sore arms tonight. I also had the seasonal flu and swine flu vaccinations tonight as they squeezed me in when I was there with Eva this afternoon. Maybe we will have a quieter day tomorrow.