Because he spent so much time in the NICU, every three months Benjamin goes back for a neonatal follow up. We elect to have a physical therapist and a speech/language therapist come in and spend some time with the big guy at these appointments. Back in October there were some slight concerns about overall core and trunk strength. They gave us the phone number for Early Intervention and a handout with some exercises to do at home, no biggie. We waited a bit to call EI, wanting to give Benjamin some time to see how things worked out.
In December he was evaluated, but did not meet any criteria for services - which was a good thing because there has to be a 30% or more delay to qualify. So we were very happy about that, but at the same time if he needed support we wanted to be proactive and get it sooner than later.
In January (at his 6 month neo appointment), pretty much the same concerned were brought up, and we explained that he did not qualify the month prior.
In the beginning of May at his 9 month appointment, Benjamin was still not sitting up unsupported and when he crawled it was more of an army crawl or he'd roll where he wanted to go. So we made the decision to have EI come back and re-evaluate him. This time around he qualified for physical therapy for his core and trunk muscles. Babies on oxygen for an extended period of time often have low muscle tone, no biggie. By the time services started (about 3-4 weeks later), he was sitting up and crawling! We're still going ahead with therapy every week right now. He is doing a fantastic job! He'll be flaunting his six pack by the end of summer. =) Benjamin not only closed the gap between him and Gabriella, but he even passed her up for a week by pulling to a full standing position on toys and chairs before she did!!!
While everyone continues to adjust his age for prematurity, I really feel like in addition to the 6 weeks he came early, he lost another 4 weeks in the NICU. He was intubated for a total of 17 days and very heavily sedated for quite a while. Find me somebody who thinks that he didn't "lose" those weeks developmentally when he wasn't eating or moving or being held or ANYTHING, and I'll crack 'em upside their head. For real.
All babies are different, but I just feel like a lot of people are super aware of what Benjamin is and isn't doing. And it makes it hard when Gabriella (or other babies) hit *milestones* at a certain time and he doesn't. Who the heck cares if he crawls at 8 months or 11 months? Or if he bangs two objects together. Or waves bye-bye (which my princess doesn't even do yet). Honest to goodness, give the kid a break. Things will happen in their own time. Benjamin is seriously THE happiest baby in the whole wide world. And after a rough start (going back to his placenta starting to detach just weeks into my pregnancy, dealing with pneumonia/an open pda/ a heart murmur/ extremely underdeveloped lungs/etc, and riding with lights and sirens when he desatted at home) he's here and doing just beautifully! I couldn't ask for anything more from my little man!!!