Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Caught Up

Dear Eli,

How many times have I heard over the course of your life, "It will take him at least 2-3 years to catch up to his peers?" How many times was I reminded by doctors and nurses that you'd probably be a little "behind" for a while due to your prematurity?

As a premature baby, you had the odds stacked against you, for sure. Neonatologists all agree that preemies are "behind" in normal development, taking years to catch up to their full-term peers. I was told this hundreds of times by every doctor and nurse who cared for you, and I had myself convinced that what they said was absolute truth.

Yet, true to form, you have proved them all wrong. You are our miracle, Eli, and we are so very proud of the progress you've made!

At your 15 month check-up today, Rocky came in with the "milestone checklist" that she goes through at every well-baby check-up. Since your very first appointment, she has written "2 months premature" at the top of the checklist, as a reminder that you shouldn't be able to accomplish these milestones, that you should be "behind." And yet, each time, you have been able to check off many of the milestones that you "shouldn't" be able to accomplish.

And today? Today? Today Rocky moved down the list, asking me question after question... "Can he climb up stairs?" "Can he feed himself?" "Can he indicate what he wants by pointing and grunting?" "Can he say several words?" "Yes, yes, yes," I told her, the answer to these and many more questions. And then, before the last question, Rocky said, "This last milestone is one that some 18-month-olds can't even do." "Can he point to at least one body part?" she asked. I smiled proudly, thinking of the many times you've proudly pointed to your hair, your belly, your nose, all on command. "Yes," was my proud answer.

"He's more than caught up to his full-term peers!" Rocky announced. "There is no need to correct for prematurity any more! He's there!" My eyes filled with tears at her words of praise for my little boy. My mind flashed back to your incubator in the NICU, where I sat day after day watching your tiny little 2.5# body supported by machines for your survival. I heard in my head the voices of all those doctors reminding me of how you'll be "behind" for years to come.

And then I looked at you through my misty eyes: smart, active, happy, healthy, the joy of our lives. I'll say it again, Eli: you are our miracle! Way to go, our little fighter- you've overcome all the odds, and you are right where you need to be. We are infinitely proud of you.

All my love,

P.S. You tipped the scales today at 18.2#! You're slowly catching up in your weight and height, and your head, as always, is quite large. :) (It has to be, right? It's got to hold all those brains!)


Tricia F said...

Girl, seriously, tears just came to my eyes... as they often do when I read the posts of your miracle baby! God is amazingly amazing, and it's so cool to watch Him work through your family from a distance. :)