Tuesday, November 22, 2011
(This was written several months ago as part of our personal NICU blog for friends and family but I think its appropriate to share again here.)

This is one of the first questions we get when people see Cora. Of course we don't get out much so this comes mostly from people at the doctors' office or people we meet on our nightly walks in the neighborhood.

The answer to "how old" is a tricky one. For at least the first year of her life, Cora has two ages. Her actual age-the amount of time that has passed since her birthday. And her adjusted age-the amount of time that has passed since her due date. For most things she is caught in between the two ages.

In some ways, Cora is a 3 month old baby. She's been eating, breathing, experiencing the world for that long. As parents, we've had all that time to get to know her and learn to interpret her cues. But in most ways, Cora's development is tied to her adjusted age. She will hit most major milestones based on her gestational age not her real age. This means she will be about 3 months behind her peers on a lot of developmental issues. Her pediatrician watches her growth on a special preemie chart (Cora is almost in the 50th percentile!) rather than one based on her age since she wouldn't even be on the chart at all.

To help Cora catch up, she is enrolled in a program called Early Childhood Development. ECI is a team of specialists who work with low birth weight babies for the first three years of their lives to help them catch up to their peers. Right now Cora has an Occupational Therapist and a Nutritionist who visit our house regularly. Her OT comes every other week and works on developing muscle tone and cognitive behaviors such as making eye contact. The nutritionist comes every other month to help make sure Cora is gaining weight and growing appropriately. Both give us homework after every visit so that we can work with her daily.

So we have a 3-month-old-newborn who will do things at her own pace. Right now she is working on head and neck control, grasping things with her hands, and focusing on toys with her eyes. We've seen her make big leaps in each of these areas in the last week and celebrate every tiny milestone, just as we have since her birthday (real or adjusted!).


Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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