Poor Carter had his four-month immunizations yesterday, and he's been cranky and clingy ever since. When he had the two-month shots he was lethargic for a couple of days, but this time he's clearly feeling icky. I feel weird about him being immunized as a four-month-old when he's really developmentally seven weeks old. I know immunizations can be controversial, and I've looked into it a bit. The anecdotal stories of parents who believe immunizations caused their kids' autism are very compelling, but there just isn't any hard evidence of a link between the two. I've asked the doctor if the shots should be spread out because of his small size, but she said it wouldn't make that much difference. I'm not sure I believe her, but I decided it was best to just get it over with.
Carter was VERY unhappy when he got the shots. Five sticks in the leg, even done quickly, wouldn't be fun for anyone, but for a tiny baby can be just traumatic. At the first shot his little face screwed into a silent scream and turned bright red. He wasn't able to make any noise for a few seconds, and once he started he didn't stop for nearly ten minutes. Even tucking him back into the wrap didn't work. He cried almost the whole way to the car, and then fell asleep. He was sleepy and out of it for a few hours, and then around 7:00 pm started to wake up and be cranky.
He nursed from 1:30 am until 6:30 when Doug took him to give me a break. (I slept through most of the overnight nursing, but it was still good to be horizontal for a few hours.) I got up at 11:00 and came downstairs to find Doug holding a bottle in Carter's mouth, which he had apparently been slowly working on ALL morning. I put him back to the breast, and he's been nursing ever since. It's now 2:00 pm, so he's basically been nursing for more than 12 hours. It's mostly been comfort nursing, but he's definitely getting milk too. He still seems miserable. Poor punkin. :-(
His length yesterday was 21 inches, so he's 50% longer than he was at birth. His weight was 9 pounds 14.3 ounces, basically a feeding short of ten pounds. He's double the weight he was at his two month visit. The doctor said that he was in the 5th percentile for height and weight (for his gestational age, not chronological age) at his first visit and is now in the 25th percentile. So he's catching up!
The nurse who came in at the beginning of the appointment was asking me all these questions about what he was doing (head control, etc.), and he wasn't doing many of them, because he's not really four months old! I pointed that out and she just shrugged and kept going down the list. I can see why preemie parents could get a complex about their kid's development, geez. They also gave me a handout about "parenting your 4-5 month old", which involved introducing solids. Though the handout noted that babies should not get any solids before six months, it still went on to detail how to get started. The doctor told me just to ignore that part since Carter is a long way from starting solids (as if I wasn't already ignoring that part), but even then most of it was not really applicable to us. Some of it gave parenting advice that seemed rather inappropriate -- more a matter of opinion than medically sound advice. And so I tossed the whole thing in the trash. Ugh. I have so many books on parenting that are SO much more helpful.
I didn't do a heck of a lot of research before picking this doctor. I really couldn't, as I was in NC and Carter couldn't be released from the NICU without an appointment. My first choice wasn't taking new patients, and this was my second. But you know, I doubt I'd find anyone I feel completely comfortable with. :-/
To add to his misery, Carter also had an eye appointment yesterday. So his eyes were dilated then propped open Clockwork Orange-style while a doctor poked at them and shined a bright light into them. He screams through those, and my job is to hold his head still! Fortunately, it's over quickly. He had a rough day, poor baby. But the good news is that his ROP seems to be regressing. The retina specialist released us back to the pediatric ophthalmologist, which is a good thing.
Edit at 3:00: I just took this video of Carter, and though he looks pretty miserable still, he smiles at the end. So sweet!