Charlie is one month old as of last night. It's slightly bittersweet, as I suppose all dates & anniversaries will be for the next few months. I mean, I look at him sometimes and think, "you're still supposed to be in my belly! For another six weeks!" He has improved in this one month - he looks and sounds more like a baby. However, the normal strides that a newborn makes occurs in teeny tiny little increments with preemies. To me, outside of the fact he's filling out a little more, he acts much the same way he did in the incubator.
As for age, of course, it's a challenge identifying it for other people. Today we had an appt. with a retinal specialist, which I will talk about later in the post. They had to put two sets of 3 eyedrops in his eyes. They do this in the waiting room. I had to pull Charlie out of his carseat for them to do it (it took two nurses, one to hold his eyes and one to put the drops in - I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere). The nurses and nearby people all oohed and ahhed over him & his size, and one asked inevitably, "how old is he?" Now, how do I answer that? He's not "one month old" in the traditional sense. Do I say "34 weeks gestation" and have a quizzical look given? I finally said, "he was born 10 weeks early a month ago." Make them do the math. Hah. Doug calls this being "minus-six weeks old."
The eye dr. confirmed my thoughts that preemies go by gestational age. His comment after the (very quick) exam was, "we will see you every 2 weeks until he's 45 weeks." This adjusted-age-preemie numbering is quickly going to confuse me. I think I mentioned that before, but it really is. Anyway, as for the appointment, it's really one of the only major things to worry about with an otherwise-healthy preemie. The retinas take 40 weeks to develop. If a baby's born early, it interrupts this development and can take much longer to develop - up to a month longer, hence the "45 weeks" check. Structurally, however, everything looked fine at this appointment. It was at the office building next to the hospital, so maybe on another trip we'll go visit the NICU to say hi.
Included now, some one-month-old pictures for you - including one of Roman eating his Valentine's pizza. Nope, not a very exciting holiday at this house this year. Although I did get slightly creative and for dessert we had strawberries with vanilla pudding. Strawberries are Roman's 2nd-favorite fruit after blueberries, so he was very, very pleased. And in the other pictures, I tried to give you an idea of scale, still: That little blue bear next to his head is a newborn rattle - it's the size of Charlie's face! And in Doug's arms, well, he's definitely just a little "Skippy" peanut still.