Tag Archive | vaccine

Seven months!

Today is Little Miss Minion’s seven month birthday! She also had a pediatrician check up this morning, so I have lots of fun new stats for you. She is 23 inches long, and a whopping 12 pounds, 10 ounces! Her percentiles are: 50th percentile among very low birthweight girls, 25th percentile among low birthweight girls, and 3.77th percentile of full term babies, unadjusted for prematurity. That last one sounds bad, but she hasn’t ever really been “on the chart” before, so this is fantastic. Her head circumference is perfect, which is an important thing to look at with her hydrocephalus. Overall, it was a very good visit. 

She’s rolled over a couple more times this week. She has started spinning a toy on her bouncer, which shows that she’s starting to understand cause and effect. She likes it when I play peekaboo with her and she loves kisses and smiles. So far, she’s eaten rice cereal, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, and peas. She was holding a spoon while we fed her the other day and she shoved it in her mouth. She gets oatmeal in the morning, half a container of food at lunch, and a full one (if we’re sure she won’t have a reaction) for dinner. She’s also eating 4 ounces of breastmilk every couple hours still, since that is where most of the calories should come from for several more months. 

She likes to chat with us, especially in the mornings. She coos, we talk back to her, she coos again. Sometimes she gets really excited and squeals and screams. Her pediatrician and her physical therapist both say that she’s very social and a very happy baby. 

Synagis shot #2 is tomorrow. This is the RSV antibody injection that she will get once a month during RSV season. A new study I read about said that by the age of three, something like 95% of all babies will have gotten RSV. For full term babies, it usually presents as a cold, possibly requiring the use of a nebulizer–picture an oxygen mask with aerosoled medicine. For preemies, it usually presents as difficulty breathing, extreme lethargy, high fever, and blue-tinted lips and nails due to oxygen deprivation. Obviously, RSV is a big deal for preemies. Treatment involves admission to the hospital, being given oxygen, being put on a ventilator if the lungs are too weakened to work properly, and medication for inflamed and irritated airways and lungs. Secondary infections can include bronchiolitis and pneumonia, both of which are very bad news for a preemie with already-weakened lung function like LMM. 

The upshot of this: isolation is good. No people, no germs, no illness, and no hospital admissions. 

Happy Cold & Flu Season!

October 1st is the unofficial start of cold and flu season. For Preemie families, this marks the start of the most anxiety-ridden part of the year. Since preemies have underdeveloped lungs when they are born, and since they are generally lacking in antibodies, they are very susceptible to any kind of illness or infection. Further, their airways are generally narrower than full term babies, making them more likely to have breathing problems as a result of illness. 

Isolation is the best medicine for cold and flu (and soon, RSV) season. No exposure means no germs. People have told me that she needs to have SOME exposure in order to build her immune system, and that we can’t keep her in the bubble forever. These would both be true, if she was full term. She needs to have time to build up her immune system through antibodies in breastmilk. She needs to have time for her lungs to continue to develop. She needs time to get bigger and stronger. She needs the bubble because she can’t fight things off quite yet. 

Her Synagis shot (to help prevent severe RSV) should be coming at the end of this month. She’ll get this shot once a month for 5 months. Most babies get RSV by age 2, and build immunity quickly. It’s usually just a case of sniffles, maybe a cough. For a preemie, RSV can easily require hospitalization, supplemental oxygen, even a respirator. Adults can be carriers and feel perfectly fine. RSV is one reason the isolation is so important. 

My public service announcement: get your flu shot. Not only will you be protecting yourself, you’ll be protecting vulnerable populations (like babies) who can’t get the vaccine yet, but who are at highest risk of complications.