Oh Miss Amelia. I’m sorry this is delayed, my dear girl but we have been so busy doing family things together this summer and fall.
While we call her our happy girl now, she wasn’t always that way. She was very vocal during her time at the NICU and it took her a bit longer than her siblings to graduate.
Amelia was our Baby B and from what I know from behind the blue curtain, Dr. Hoyson had to work a lot of angles to get her out. She was the largest at 3lbs 12oz. In those first few days of the NICU she had some green aspirate, which eventually normalized. Aspirate is when a baby has food that hasn’t been digested still in her belly hours after being fed.
All of our babies also had brain scans because they were born before 32 weeks. Ava and Owen had nothing unusual on their scans but Amelia had a few things of note. She had a level one brain bleed and another object appeared on the screen that they couldn’t name or identify. They would do another brain scan to see if they could get a better look and consult the Children’s Hospital Neurology team. When a doctor tells you they see a mass or cyst of some sort and they have never seen it before, its a bit terrifying. I was already worried about the brain bleed but learned that a level one was nothing to worry over. It took a few days before the neurologist came to visit and she determined that Amelia had a Rathkes Cleft Cyst on her pituitary gland. The only concern was that it could affect her growth later in life and we may need to do an occasional MRI.
Being preemie parents you learn a lot more information about your children than if you had a full term baby. The infant medical community never scans the brains of full term, healthy children, so there is truly no benchmark to compare. Full term babies could have small brain bleeds and we would never know how these things can affect them the rest of their lives.
Amelia’s time in the NICU was relatively uneventful. She was the first of our trio to drink from a bottle. It was an incredibly emotional moment for me as most milestones were. Amelia did have reflux which caused her to have the occasional bradicardia. She went on and off oxygen throughout her stay and we always felt like she would take a few steps forward and then backward. She loved her nurses though. We joke that is why she wanted to stay as long as she did. Perhaps it was the extra snuggles and bubble baths?
After Owen went home, things became the most complicated. It was hard to have two of our babies at home while one was still at the hospital. We just wanted our family to be complete and reunited. No matter if I was at home or the hospital, I never felt like I was in the right place. Mike was home now so we could at least divide and conquer. I actually remember breaking down with my NICU friends because I was just ready to be done being there.
Amelia’s biggest hurdle was eating 2 ounces of breast milk 16 times in a row or for 2 straight days. She was now 6.5 pounds. It was the first time, and I’m sure there will be many more of these, where I found myself thinking that if I could do this for her, I would. But thus, she needed to do it on her own. There was concern that something greater was wrong and since they wanted to do an MRI after she was discharged to look at the cyst anyway, they decided to do it now instead. We received great news! Not only was nothing new found, but her brain bleed and the cyst were both gone!
She still needed to complete this task, so we talked with the doctors on how she would conquer this milestone. They decided to let her eat on demand instead of every 3 hours. If she kept gaining weight she would get to come home. Our vocal girl let everyone know when she was hungry, often exhausting herself yelling and therefore struggled to coordinate her suck, swallow and breath. But, she finally got it! She kept up her weight and ate on her own terms. On July 23, 2018, she came home at 38 weeks and three days.
Amelia remained very vocal when she first came home but soon turned into the laid back baby she is today. She learned to self-soothe with her thumb and she could sleep anywhere. You can always count on her to sleep all night long and complain very little. She loves a good snuggle and shows so much kindness towards her siblings. If someone is sad, she always offers a hug or a favorite stuffed animal.
She was the first to fully crawl and is our most social child. Amelia will certainly be pulling the other two onto the playground to meet other kids. She is very fascinated by the big kids at the park and could follow them around all afternoon. Amelia loves dogs and can spot one a mile away. Her Mimi has taught her (and her siblings) that we tell all dogs, but especially her Uncle Lincoln, “no, no barking.” So the moment she spots a dog she immediately shakes her finger and barks in reply.
She makes other interesting sounds which has earned her the nickname “tooka” because she walks around saying “tookatookatookatooka.” It doesn’t matter her mood she says it when she is happy or even when she’s expressing her dissent. It makes us chuckle that she had such difficulty eating at first because now she turns nothing away. You can always count on her to clean her plate and try anything, including vegetables.
We have loved watching her personality bloom and while she may not have started out as the happiest girl, she has come around to be funny, kind and so very spirited.