Is she normal? And other FAQs

My micropreemie turns six this month.  Unbelievable.  I’ll no doubt be writing more about that as it gets closer (she was born on Christmas Eve, you may recall), but, in the meantime, I thought I’d address a few FAQs:


1) Will she be a good candidate for laser surgery down the road?


We don’t know.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  To be honest, we don’t really care.  We feel so blessed that she can see at ALL that we don’t spend much time worrying about the whole “wearing glasses or contacts” piece.  C. has been through four eye surgeries already, all before she turned two.  Those surgeries were done to save her retinas and prevent total blindness.  Those?  Were critical.  By contrast, laser vision correction, while not a bad thing, seems kind of trivial.  If it’s something she wants down the road and she’s a good candidate, we’ll revisit it then.  But it’s honestly not even on our radar at this point.


2) Are there lingering effects from her prematurity?  (Sometimes asked as, “Is she normal?”)


Yes, there are effects.  (So, I guess, no, she is not “normal.”   Just FYI– “typical” would be a much better, kinder word here.)  C. receives quite a bit of support at school.  She receives speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and has some support in the classroom from a special education teacher.  That sounds like a LOT, I know, but it’s actually pretty minimal, all things considered.  We no longer see any specialists– just a regular pediatrician and an ophthalmologist.  C. doesn’t need someone by her side at all times.  She can participate fully in all activities.  Still, her muscle tone is low.  She’s just not as strong as most of her peers.  While it’s possible she may have been that way even had she made it to term, it is highly likely that her prematurity has factored in here.


3) Will she catch up?  (referring to physical growth)


Well, that depends.  Catch up with whom, exactly?  With her older brother?  Not a chance.  But, small as she may be, the fact is– C. is “on the charts”.  She always falls between the 10th and the 25th percentile for height which, while not tall, is not super crazy short either.  Her weight consistently falls on the 3rd percentile line.  She’s light, no doubt about it.  Odds are she’ll always be small.  She’s very fine-boned and has a tiny little face.  We don’t expect that she’ll suddenly shoot up or gain a bunch of weight.  We also aren’t particularly concerned about any negative effects of being petite.



So there you go.  Those are three questions I hear several times each week, at least.  There are more common queries– perhaps I’ll address those sometime soon!


In the meantime, do YOU have any questions?

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14 comments to Is she normal? And other FAQs

  • Our baby just got out of the hospital a month ago and is growing like a weed. After 3.5 months in the NICU, he was dischaged at 3lbs. 13oz and is now 6 pounds. He’s nearsighted also and “97% out of the woods” of ROP. We’re starting to get a lot of the same questions you are about his development. Fortunately, he has many people watching him to make sure he’s doing well, OT, PT, ST, etc. God bless your family and your miracle. We know exactly how great the power of prayer can be.

    • I am so, so happy you all made it home in time for the holidays, Mike!! We also spent 3 1/2 months in the NICU and happened to make it out just in time for Easter. It sounds like your son is growing beautifully and I bet he’s getting stronger and stronger. He will develop exactly as God intended him to– perfectly in His time. Your family has been (and will remain) in my prayers. Please let me know if you have any questions– we’ve definitely been down many of the roads you’ll likely be traveling. :)

  • “Is she normal?” I’m sorry to learn that you hear that question so often. She’s beautiful, that’s for sure!

  • Susie

    10-25 – she’s huge! My grandson is 15 months and has stayed at 2% for height – and he’s “typical”

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your daughter and her challenges. It helps me understand a little bit better the issues that some parents and children face. Isn’t common language so judgmental? i.e. “Is she normal?” What kinda question is that! God bless you and keep your patience if you can! Claire

  • I would like to note that it’s not all that desirable to “catch up” to the 95th percentile people if you’re a girl. I don’t know one single woman who says “gee I wish I was bigger!” I don’t know what I was on the growth charts but I’m 5 feet 0 inches and weighed 85 pounds until I was 25 years old. No doctor ever advised me to pack on any pounds.
    I never heard of low muscle tone until recently, but suddenly I know a handful of people..all full term with an older relative with low tone.

    • Oh, I hear you! I think there IS a point when being “too light” can be an issue (and dangerous!), but certainly none of us are expecting– or hoping for– C. to get hefty. I have a feeling the questions stem from the fact that, while on the slimmer side, I’m also on the taller side. Genetically, it wouldn’t seem typical for us to have a 5’1″ daughter. But, hey, genetically we shouldn’t have a son slated to be on track for 6’6″ to 6’9″ either! I think God just wanted us to have an amusing family portrait. ;)

  • Johanna Lane

    I came across your blog and it brings back so many amazing memories. I’m a proud momma to a tiny blessing born at 26 weeks weighing in at 1.6lbs. We were told she had only a 5% chance of living because of some complications, but she is a tiny fighter and just celebrated her ninth birthday! I should correct that, she is a not so tiny aymore fighter! Until she was 7 she was just below the 3rd percentile for height and weigh. At her recent appointment she was at the 90th for height and 70th for weight! We have also elminated most specialist and everything exept pt and speach. It just goes to show you never know what a God has in store for these tiny blessings!

  • Courtney

    My micropreemie twins are 5 months younger than C, and your answers are very similar to my own. I frequently ask question #2 of myself, in a different way: is he/she like this because of his/her prematurity? I’m actively working to stop asking that question, since it doesn’t matter, but it still pops up.

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