Sutton also had a milestone this week! This past Wednesday was Sutton's six month check up as part of the NICU Follow-Up Program. The purpose of the NICU Follow-Up Program is to provide ongoing evaluation and guidance related to the development of high-risk and premature children during the first three years of life. It is usually recommended or provided as a free service to those with children born at 32 weeks gestation or earlier, and since Sutton was born at 26 weeks, he is the perfect candidate for such a program. During Sutton's appointment, a Neonatologist evaluates his health, growth, and development, and offers guidance and makes recommendations to assist us with any concerns. Brad and I appreciate it, as we consider it an extra check up for Sutton (which is always comforting), and Sutton loves it because he gets doted on and gets to play with all sorts of toys. And although we keep in touch with staff and other parents from the NICU, it's great to reconnect with all those who helped keep Sutton healthy, and for them to see how much he has grown. And grown has he ever!
Even though Sutton's actual age is 9 months, his adjusted age is six months because he was born three months early, and that is always taken into consideration when factoring Sutton's height, weight and developmental patterns. Sutton is now weighing a hefty 15 pounds and 11 ounces, which is in the normal range for a 6 month old boy (males at six months usually weigh between 14 and 21 pounds). He is also long and muscular, measuring in at 28 inches! He is also hitting a few noted milestones, such as grumbling his first words ("Dada" and "Mama"), sitting unassisted and pushing up to his hands and knees while doing the back and forth "rock", a sign he is going to be ready to crawl soon (baby proofing, anyone?). His eyes are also healthy, and his optic nerve and retina are intact and very strong.When babies are born early, the blood vessels on the retina are not fully developed, as they usually fully develop in utero by 34 weeks. After an early birth, the vessels may begin to grow too quickly that their growth damages the retina. Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is the name for the improper growth of the blood vessels on the retina and is usually a cause for concern in any premature birth, especially those born before 34 weeks. I am proud to share that Sutton has healthy baby blues and his ophthalmologist doesn't need to see him until he is two years old!!! Sutton continues to amaze us and his doctors, and it is so good to have reassurance that as of now, he is developing perfectly. I couldn't ask for a better anniversary gift than that.