Truman has a big noggin!
CHRONOLOGICAL AGE: 12.25 MONTHS
ADJUSTED AGE: 8.25 MONTHS
CURRENT WEIGHT: 13 LBS, 13.7 OUNCES
CURRENT LENGTH: 25.5 INCHES
HEAD: 17.33 INCHES
Truman had his one-year evaluation yesterday. All in all, he got a positive review. His weight is still lagging, and in fact is moving farther below the growth chart for his adjusted peers (He would need to be 17 pounds to make it onto the standard chart). However, his length is showing a steeper curve and getting closer to the chart. (He would need to be 26 inches long to make it onto the standard chart). His head, on the other hand, is actually almost on the chart. So, the bottom line -- Truman has a big noggin. Clearly, his pedi and nutritionist want him to do a better job gaining weight, but they weren't too concerned about the most recent stats because he is improving in length and doing so well on head growth, which is the most important growth statistic of all. Dr. Suterwala also talked about the weight issue in that with a 23-weeker, he really can't even be compared to his adjusted-age peers or even a 25-weeker for that matter. His only reliable measure of comparison is himself and whether he's growing, which he is.
That said, weight gain is still important and to be pushed as much as we can. So, the nutritionist raised the possibility of a product called Duocal, which is a fat and carbohydrate powder which can be added to liquid or solids to increase calories and fat. However, there were out Tiny Tots, so we'll think about it in a month at his next weight check. In the meantime, he was prescribed butter. In addition to the Neosure we put in all his solids foods (and bottles of expressed breast milk), we are to melt butter and mix it into his solids. His nutritionist joked that we should just give him a stick of butter to gnaw on, and I don't think she was entirely joking. She also suggested we encourage fattier and starchier solids like avocados, sweet potatoes, squash, and peas. We're really building some great food habits long-term -- teaching Truman to want carbs, butter, and fat.
Dr. Suterwala is very pleased with Truman's progress on gross motor skills and improvements in muscle tone and reduction in extension tone issues. He stated that he does not think Truman will have cerebral palsy issues with regard to muscle tone. He encouraged us to continue pushing Truman with therapy because he, too, believes that it is really making a difference. He agreed with the OT's recommendation to step up to two sessions of occupational therapy or physical therapy every week. We are currently working through the insurance issues with regard to that, so Truman should be adding more sessions within the next couple of weeks once all that is worked out.
Truman's speech development delays, on the other hand, do concern Dr. Suterwala, who thinks they could be related to his brain bleeds. He agreed that an evaluation by a speech therapist is called for. He also referred Truman to Callier Center for Communication Disorders for a hearing screening just to rule out the possibility that his speech delays could be related to hearing issues. That is scheduled for September 21. Remember, we had concerns in the past that Truman was late to turn towards sounds, but he passed his hearing screening upon NICU discharge and passed the informal hearing test Dr. Suterwala gave him a couple of months ago. So, there's not a concern that he can't hear at all, but there could be some deficit there, even though I really doubt it. Either way, it needs to be ruled out before beginning speech therapy.
At this point, Truman is quite vocal, but he does not babble. He basically just coos, and even then, he only uses two vowels for the most part. However, the dexterity he has achieved with the letter "e" is impressive. We've heard a total of four consonant sounds ever -- and none of those were in succession. An 8-month old should be babbling quite a bit, and many have said their first word. So, it is an issue, but hopefully, he'll surprise us soon like he did with gross motor skills or will respond well to speech therapy.
His occupational therapist also continued to express concern at today's session that he has some of oral fixation issues because of the excessive drool and because he rarely interacts with toys in any matter other than putting them in his mouth. For example, he does not bang toys together. If there are oral fixation issues, a speech therapist would also be the appropriate person to deal with that. In the meantime, we are trying to offer toys that can't be put in the mouth and trying to teach him to bang things, pet things, etc. By the way, that backfired with the cat last night when he tried to put her tail in his mouth and take a bit bite of her side. Flora was not pleased, but just politely ran away.
Dr. Suterwala disagreed about the diagnosis of the white bumps on Truman's hand and foot as sebaceous cysts. He thinks they could be deposits of fat, which could show he's not processing all the fat we are pouring into him. Or, they could be "swimmer's warts." Either way, we need to figure out what they are, so he gave us a referral to the dermatology clinic at Children Medical Center. However, when I tried to make the appointment today, I got the runaround that if I wanted to see a dermatologist for my child's pimples, I had to wait until December. Tiny Tots is now trying to help rectify the situation, but isn't making much progress either.
All in all, he was pronounced to be doing fabulously for a 23-weeker at one year of age.