Avery will always be considered a preemie, despite how big she gets or how much she develops. I’m finding it difficult to answer one simple question that I will inevitably be asked anytime I take her in public. How old is she? The simple answer is her chronological age, six months. But then her size and development come into question. We are still trying to get her to break the seven pound barrier and while she does do somethings that a six month old does, she doesn’t do very many of them. Intentional rolling is still not a common thing. Reaching for objects is not that common. She definitely can’t sit unsupported. And though she definitely finds comfort with Robin and I specifically she has no fear of strangers. Therefore her corrected age of two months is a more appropriate answer.
Recently, though, the final tether to the NICU was broken. At her last appointment with the pulmonologist we were told that Avie no longer needs the apnea/heart rate monitor that we had come home with. I referred to it as the final tether because for the five months that she was in the NICU it was something that no matter how hard we tried to ignore, we inevitably were drawn to looking at it. When she came home with the monitor, though mobile, it was still something that we had to pay attention to and pull along with us anywhere that we went. We would have one extra thing to take off of her and put back on for bath time. We would have that one extra bag to cart with us to and from appointments and up and down the stairs of the house. It was both a physical and physcological tether to the NICU. And now freedom from those wires and that tether is upon us.
Though there will always be an emotional bond to the NICU and all that they did to help us bring Avie home, at least that physical feeling of being still attached is gone and there is one less question that we have to answer when we go out in public.