the eric update – day 254: yet another ( and, we learn, not his last ) developmental assessment.

it’s hard to believe that it has already been almost two months since odin’s last developmental assessment and despite his passing that test with flying colors, it was hard not to get a little nervous today as we prepared to meet the developmental specialists associated with the neonatal intensive care unit. his first assessment was conducted by a nurse from a county support program and it’s not impossible for the two sets of specialists to come to different conclusions. and they immediately gave credence to our suspicion that they might possibly come to a different conclusion by letting us know that they didn’t agree with the county’s recommendation that odin was doing so wonderfully that he didn’t need any more active monitoring by specialists. the specialist’s opinion was based not so much on any specific behavior she did or didn’t see in odin, but rather she reassured us that is was simply a matter of statistics.

since he’s a “25 weeker” her experience tells her that it’s likely ( although not a certainty )that some sort of developmental delay will appear over the next year or so and it’s best to have a conservative monitoring program to help ensure that you can catch issues early.

but after that gentle reminder that we should never lose sight of the fact that for years to come odin will require close monitoring, she seemed to agree with the county’s conclusion that he did not yet show any of the “normal” delays that one might expect from a baby born 15 weeks early.

except for this moment, when she’s noting that he has “poor” shoulder strength and “mild decreased central tone”, which means that even though he’s been sitting up unassisted for quite some time, he’s showing signs of of having underdeveloped muscles in his torso and upper body which could potentially delay crawling.

the prescription for “mild decreased central tone” is more frequent “tummy time” exercises, which – photographic evidence notwithstanding – odin will happily tolerate for only very short periods of time. nonetheless we’ll have to be a little more disciplined about getting him to workout at gym.

additionally, the developmental specialist expressed some concern that he apparently hasn’t gained any weight since his last pediatrician’s visit. while he’s shown relatively normal diminished weight gains over the past few months , not gaining an ounce is possibly a sign that something is amiss. or not, depending.

the specialist would like to see him gaining about 20 ounces each month, so if he doesn’t start packing on the pounds i suspect we’ll be weighing ( ha! pun intended. ) the merits of a variety of recommendations for helping him to gain weight.

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