Monday, December 22, 2008

Evening update (Monday 12/22)

As promised, the head circumference figure has been updated. I now have an intimate and personal understanding of time series measurement error. It seems that 36.0 is the new 35.5, which was the new 35.0 which in turn replaced 34.5 as our favorite magic number. Dr. T. said that Max is on the appropriate growth curve for infants in the 95th percentile of head circumference ("In a room of 10 babies, Max would have bigger heads than 9 of them").

In related news, Dr. T. told us that the head ultrasound showed a shrinking of Max's ventricles, as, in Dr. T.'s words, "his hydrocephalus resolves itself." Carolyn and I, of course, are not nearly so sanguine, but it's good news and we'll take it.

We also talked to Dr. T. about Max's stop-and-go approach to such basic baby reflexes as rooting and sucking. According to Dr. T., these reflexes aren't programmed into babies until the 35th week of gestation. For the most part, babies born at 34 weeks or sooner require a feeding tube to survive. And, as we're learning, one week in the outside world doesn't equate to a week in the uterine environment. Dr. T. said that they have a ward full of "suckers and growers", meaning babies that are otherwise healthy but just were born a little too soon to have suck/root reflexes built in. (Actually, she used a different phrase than "suckers and growers" but neither Cj nor I can remember it at the moment--saved for future updates.)

Dr. T. said that Max is now on a more normal preemie course. He seems to have gotten the hang of dirtying diapers and his hydrocephalus is, if not resolved, at least not causing active problems. She is firmly convinced that Max's respiratory distress is caused by reflux from his feedings. Max now has to learn the suck-swallow-breathe dance steps, get some exposure to different positions such as sitting up and sitting somewhat reclined, and get strong enough so that he can keep his food down. Max now weighs more than six pounds. He's on his way.