Both girls are being bottle-fed at this point and we are starting to spoon-feed them rice cereal on occasion. Rachel has really gotten the hang of it quickly; Megan is still a little unsure of what to do with (semi-)solid food. We are still mixing in cereal with Megan's bottle feeding - its possible she has outgrown the swallowing difficulties but as a precaution it was suggested that we continue thickening the formula. Any aspirations during the winter months could greatly increase the risk of pneumonia.
On a similar note, both girls are receiving Respigam once a month (for six months beginning in November) to help protect them against RSV. RSV is a virus that in adults and older children manifests itself as a bad cold; however in premature babies and other infants at risk, it thickens the mucus and because of their weaker lungs it can result in a hospital stay for bronchiolitis or pneumonia. Respigam is an immunoglobulin treatment given intravenously (IV) that provides them with antibodies that reduces both the chance of them getting RSV (by 40%) and its severity in case they do get it. Although the procedure is somewhat tedious (about 4 hours from start to finish) we feel that it is well worth it to protect them, especially this first winter when they are still so little. The first treatment went well (we were concerned about Megan since in the hospital it was difficult to find a good IV site for her - they ended up putting it in her foot this time and got it on the first try) although Megan did run a fever several days later that was probably a minor side effect.
Halloween in Florida, October 1996
In late October we all went to Florida to visit with my parents and my sister and her family. We had a great time. Megan and Rachel did wonderfully traveling on the airplane (without monitors this time) and even got their picture taken with Mickey Mouse at MGM Studios (our only excursion to the world of Disney this trip - it really helped having the grandparents with us).
Karen and the girls have been in Allentown quite a bit this month
(and I've been back and forth a fair amount as well). Her parents really
enjoyed having them up there ... of course they also spoiled them. It also
gave them time to be with Karen's grandmother who has been in poor health.
She passed away earlier this week, and while we are thankful that she is
no longer in pain, we will also miss her very much. We are so glad that
she had the opportunity to meet her great-granddaughters and hope that
they brought a little joy into her life during those last difficult days.
On April 15th, we celebrated their first birthday with a small party attended by family and several close friends. They really enjoyed their birthday cakes although it did take a while to clean them up afterwards :-). Of course, our floor space is quickly decreasing proportionally to the number of toys they have received.
Developmentally, both Megan and Rachel are doing great. At their last monthly assessment, it was decided that they would not need to be evaluated again for about 6 months. Within the last couple of weeks, Megan has begun pulling to a stand and Rachel has stood on her own and taken her first steps. They are both drinking from a "sippy cup" but still occasionally get a bottle at nighttime. They are taking whole milk now (no more formula) and are exploring a wide range of new foods (although Cheerios, yogurt, and marshmellows rank pretty highly as their favorites). Both girls like to say "dada" and "mama" (sometimes "dadadada" and "mamamama"). Megan is really doing a good job with "get down" and "all done" and might even be saying "ball." Rachel's favorite word is "hello"/"hi"especially in conjunction with putting any object close at hand up to her ear (hate to see those phone bills in a couple of years). They also love to clap and sing along ("lala") and bounce whenever music is playing
Last week Megan successfully had her tear ducts opened via surgery (the doctors were waiting to see if they would open on their own until after she turned a year old). The procedure was relatively quick (about 15 min) but the with pre-op and post-op the entire operation ended up being about 4 hours. Because Megan's face was so small they had to give her a general anesthetic through an IV (instead of a mask) and intubate her (put her on a respirator) for the surgery. We were a bit nervous about the latter part but after speaking with the doctors the only other alternative was to hold her down (which was not an option in our minds). Fortunately, they gave her a sedative before inserting the IV and put the tube down / removed it while she was unconscious. She came out of the anesthesia fine and after a day or so was back to her normal manic (mostly happy) self. With the exception of a little swelling and the need for some eye ointment this week, everything looks great and we are glad that the frequent cleanings needed to prevent eye infections are no longer necessary.