While Callum was in the NICU we met all sorts of people from doctors to nurses to social workers to lactation consultants. You name it. We met them.
When it became evident that Callum would be discharged home sooner than later, we met with a discharge planner. She sat down with us and discussed the things that had to happen in order for Callum to come home.
Once she went over everything she mentioned Callum was eligible for a special follow-up study. Because Callum was so critically ill and on an oscillating ventilator and nitric oxide, he qualified as one of these special babies. The only other babies who qualified were the ones born before the 29th week. To me, that was scary. Babies who are born before the 29th week are sick and tiny. At that point, it all hit me, Callum had just gone through something traumatic and everything that I had read up on Pulmonary Hypertension could be true. So, at 6 months, 12 months and 18 months, Callum would be seen by a developmental pediatrician to discuss his development.
Since we are no longer living in Maine, our pediatrician here thought it would be a good idea to call INOVA Fairfax Hospital for Children to discuss their follow up study. We weren't sure if he would be eligible for their program, but much to my surprise, he was.
We entered this small room. He sat on my lap at a table in front of an occupational therapist. Alongside of us sat the developmental pediatrician and a student?. It was very stiff. She started with fine motor skills and watched him as he grabbed toys, switched toys from hand to hand, held multiple things amongst other things. I watched contently as my big boy accomplished the vast majority of these tasks without much coaxing.
After the fine motor skills assessment, we went down to the mat. We laid him down on his back, which he isn't a big fan of, and tried to coax him to roll over. I told them that he doesn't roll to his belly very often because his big sisters tend to do it for him, but he can do it. After that we got him to roll on his belly, he started scooting in circles, pushing up firmly on his arms and grabbing for toys. Not a second too soon did he figure out that he can propel himself forward - crawling....I knew it was close, days away actually, but he waited for his big debut to show them what he could do. They sat him up to watch his posture and how well he sat, and he did fabulously. As the end neared for him, his personality started to shine through with his flirtatious manners and squeals towards the individuals in the room.
Once the gross motor skills assessment was complete, we headed to the office of the developmental pediatrician. She discussed his development - absolutely appropriate for a 7 month old baby (he was 8 months old yesterday, but they use corrected age). On the developmental assessment sheet, I saw the words "high average" - she said at this time she sees him as completely appropriate and has seen no red flags for him. Of course, there is a long way to go to be sure there aren't any other delays like speech, behavior, etc, but for now, Callum is progressing like any other baby - normally.
And that for us is one of the best Christmas gifts a mom and dad could have...