Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A steady eye and a rubber face

Besides Blaise's recovery from surgery, we've also been able to notice several very fun changes in her overall abilities as she continues to grow and develop. In particular, over the past day or two we've both found that she seems much more able to hold her gaze steady. Earlier, her eyes had a tendency to "float" a good bit, which is very typical for a premature baby. Now though, Blaise will look you square in the eye and just look at you for a bit. Granted, her vision is very blurry at this point. It's kind of funny how often the nurses remind me of this given that I'm a vision scientist, but I will also admit that it's hard not to get very excited when she looks right at you. Even if I'm just a blurred-out talking blob, I'm still glad she likes staring at me. 

The second thing that many of her visitors and caretakers have remarked upon is that she seems to be developing a very expressive face. Blaise has a wide range of very funny facial expressions, including some impressive eyebrow tricks, a great little half-smile, and a full-face open-mouth grin that she wields very effectively when she wants extra attention. All in all, she's quite the little flirt and we're having great fun watching all these capabilities "come online." 

Finally, to say a little more about the follow-up to yesterday's attempt to feed, it turns out that they're planning to try giving her just 4 hours of breast milk today. This is very much a game of waiting and tweaking the parameters of her care, so you may be hearing a lot about this for a while to come. Several people have invoked the "marathon, not a sprint" analogy to describe what she's doing right now, but I think it's even more accurate to say that it's like marathon training. At this point, a lot of what we're doing is laying the groundwork for things we'd like to have happen months from now. It can leave you feeling a bit like you're not making progress, but I get the impression that the real way to move forward here is to just keep building up steadily. 

Last night, during her check-up in the NICU, we both noticed that Blaise stayed awake and alert, but hardly fussed at all. She just kind of sat tight and held Erin's hand the whole time. For a 35-week preemie, it seems a little bit like she's already working out how to be patient, too. Dad's working on that too.

1 comment:

Grandpa Tom said...

So when can we expect to see a couple of new pictures or video of this rubber face?