LN was my second pregnancy. He was growth restricted from the start, but we monitored him every four weeks throughout the pregnancy with growth scans and ultrasounds. By this point, we knew we’d probably have another preemie, and we were anticipating it. We’d been through it once, we could do it again. Sure enough, right after 35 weeks gestation we were sent to Maternal Fetal Medicine for closer monitoring. His umbilical cord flow was slowing down. Soon, we realized that it had stopped, and by the next day it had reversed the flow. LN was born at 35 weeks 5 days gestation via my second emergency C-section. He came out screaming at 4 lbs 3 oz. Shockingly enough, he did not need any NICU time, and we were told that he was the smallest baby born at that hospital that did not go to the NICU. He was able to come home with me, although we did have to borrow a car bed from the hospital because he was too small to fit in a car seat.
LN did not show many alarming signs of being premature, although he was tiny. His little body shook almost nonstop for months as his nervous system was too underdeveloped to be exposed to the outside world. He nursed like a champ, and grew slowly but surely. However, when LN turned 2 years old, we began to see the effects of prematurity in his little body. He began to have constant diarrhea, along with vomiting, and eventually began to refuse any solid food. We saw doctor after doctor, and finally settled on a Pediatric Gastroenterologist. His Pediatric GI put him on a medical toddler formula that was pre-broken down so his system could absorb the nutrients more easily. He underwent two separate endoscopies at the age of 2.5 and 3. He saw an allergist with mixed results. His only formal diagnosis was dermatographia. Dermatographia is where his skin is so sensitive, everything leaves a mark. This made allergy testing challenging because even the act of rubbing his back with an alcohol swab prior to pricking his skin with allergens would cause his back to turn bright red and inflamed. Eventually, by the time he turned 5 years old, he seemed to have outgrown a lot of these GI issues. He is more prone to diarrhea than most kids, but he doesn’t vomit all the time anymore. And he eats more than most adults some days!
LN spent a few years in Occupational Therapy (OT) due to some sensory challenges. He has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and ADHD. His first attempt at kindergarten did not go as well as we had hoped due to his sensory needs. However, this year is going much better. We have found that items like a weighted blanket and a weighted compression vest help calm him and allow him to (mostly) avoid sensory overload. He recognizes when he needs these items and will ask for them or get them himself. We have found the use of calm down bottles to be extremely effective with him, as well.
CALM DOWN BOTTLE
1 plastic bottle
1 bottle glue
1 bottle glitter glue
Trinkets (beads, glitter, etc)
Mix everything together in the plastic bottle. Ensure the glue is dissolved. Super glue the cap on the bottle. As needed, shake the bottle really well and have the child sit and watch as the glitter and trinkets settle. It even works for adults!