Christmas in July 2015

This weekend last year was the very start of my bed rest with Rory. We were on a weekend away with Peter and Suzie and while the boys were out training for the Oxfam 100km walk, I lay on the couch ordering Suzie around the kitchen! So it seemed only fair to host Christmas in July this year. Michael and Kate joined us too.  I must confess though that with my Rory feeding duties, Colman did almost all of the cooking (I focused on starters and pudding for dessert)! He really cooked up a storm with two chickens on the BBQ and lots of roast veggies.

   
   
We ate dinner after Rory was tucked up in bed but while he was up he got really into the Christmas spirit! We pulled out his Christmas sock to see if we could recreate his photo from last Christmas and while he had room to spare last time, now he’s way too big!

   
   
He did enjoy all the rest of the Christmas paraphernalia though!

   
    
 
It was a fun evening and in true Christmas spirit we all ate way too much with generous servings of pudding tipping us all over the edge! Winter is definitely a better time of year to indulge like this!

   
 
Finally there’s also other celebrations this weekend with birthdays for both my mum & Liam! Rory says a big happy birthday and is looking forward to seeing you both in the second half of the year!

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Rory – 36 Weeks corrected

It’s been a pretty busy week at this end. As Rory turned 8 months corrected last week, he had his 8 month appointment with the growth and development team on Tuesday. The 8 month check is just a with a physio who assesses how Rory is progressing with gross motor skills versus an 8 month old baby born at full term. It was a pretty long appointment with Rory doing different tasks like sitting, rolling, reaching for toys etc while the physio scored him for each task. Rather than our usual physio, it was someone who didn’t know Rory or his history so she could conduct an entirely unbiased assessment. An average full term baby would sit on the 50th centile and she put Rory as between the 12th and 25th. This is within the normal range and once she heard that Rory came home on oxygen, she was very impressed with how well he was doing (as often babies on oxygen don’t make it past the 10th centile). The biggest purpose of the test is to assess for any major problems so it’s great there aren’t any. Also with any of these tests it’s important to remember that it’s just a snapshot of the day and by the evening time Rory was doing one of the tasks that he was marked as not doing in the assessment! The kind of things that Rory’s not quite there with are commando crawling forward on his tummy (he’s good at going backwards!), getting from a sitting position to his tummy (which we’ve seen him do at home once he really wants something) and he could be quicker with some reactions e.g. putting his hands out when he thinks he’s going to fall. In his own physio’s view the reaction response is unsurprising given his reaction for a long time, like most prems, was to arch and fling his arms back when uncomfortable.  We had a catch up with his usual physio on Thursday and she was really happy with the results emphasising that the most important thing is that he’s constantly developing and improving functionally.  She’s confident he’ll catch up with all of these skills as he’s continuing to improve week on week. For example he’s made great progress with “side sitting” demonstrated below which he hated just a fortnight ago. Practising this will help him get from sitting to his tummy and eventually crawling. We think Rory is doing great given his starting point and we’re very proud of him. We also all agreed that Rory’s on the 100th centile (way above average) for smiling! 

  
Here’s a photo of Rory moving backwards on his tummy… I thought the cushion would stop him going under the couch but I watched as he just reversed into it until it fell on top of him!

  
Rory also had a blood test for his thyroid this week. The results are perfect and Rory didn’t even cry getting his blood taken but rather was quite interested in watching it go up the tube, something I’ve never liked looking at! Here’s a selfie we took waiting for an appointment. 

  

Rory’s the first of his premmie buddies to have the 8 month growth and development assessment so we caught up with Kai and Sami on Wednesday to give them the low down on what to expect! For some reason smiles were in short supply when the camera came out!

  
Away from medical stuff, we had a nice week. The weather has been milder so we went for a walk in Centennial Park on Sunday and briefly caught up with Adam and the kids.

   
 
On Monday it was Kate’s birthday so I slipped away to Fratelli Fresh in Potts Point for a yummy lunch while Colman and Rory hung out. 

  
Back at home on Tuesday we had lunch out in the back garden while Rory played in his favourite bath which he now loves hanging out in!

 

Finally here’s a few pictures we took getting ready to go out the other morning as Rory was looking particularly cute in his cardigan and then jacket and hat. You can see our wedding picture is still a favourite!

   
   

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Rory – 35 Weeks (8 months) corrected 

Rory was 8 months corrected on Tuesday and weighed in at 6.61kg. He was born 11 months ago next week so his first “actual” birthday is coming up fast!

Most excitingly for us this week, Rory is pretty much back to sleeping through the night and is also having a longer daytime nap. One of the reasons he seems to be so much happier in his cot is that he’s learnt to sleep on his side and roll onto his tummy. While we always put him to sleep on his back, he’s now ending up in all sorts of positions and we’re likely to find him anywhere in the morning (which is fine at this age). Since these pictures were taken last weekend we’ve now stopped wrapping him as he’s a houdini for getting out of them. He also sticks his leg through the hole in the sleeping bag that’s designed to check a baby’s nappy. The free leg seems to help him scoot about the cot!

   
 
Or maybe Rory’s sleeping through has nothing to do with rolling and it’s just his babysitters Neil and Noelle had a word with him last weekend! Rory slept without a peep for them and we had a really fun night out in our favourite Mexican restaurant with Shona and Finn before they & Maggie head off for Scotland tomorrow.

  
It’s been a really cold week but we did make a pit stop for coffee at Bondi beach last weekend. 

  
The reason we were in Bondi was that we were picking up a secondhand activity table that I’d bought for Rory to use. You’ll remember the physio showed us an exercise for Rory to do while sitting at a table like this so when I saw one going for $20, I jumped on it, particularly as I’d just sold Rory’s bouncey chair for the same amount. Here’s a pic of Colman not pushing Rory’s knees together as per the exercise and me doing it!

   
Rory’s very favourite activity though remains sitting on his mat playing with various toys and he can very happily occupy himself for quite a while now. He’s also realised that the mat comes apart so has started pulling the edging off and chewing it! When he occasionally falls over he doesn’t immediately cry but just thumps his leg on the floor until you come and help him up… You can see the leg in motion in the last pic

   
   
Rory was sitting in this spot when Kathleen & Cyril came over and he had a big smile for them down the hallway and throughout their visit.

   
 
Our only trip to the hospital this week was for Rory & Kai’s postponed pool party! As the physio said it doesn’t feel much like work! Rory was a bit more hesitant this time around which may have been due to there being more people in the pool, including two physio students… Colman of course says it’s because he wasn’t there! He warmed up once he got his hands on Kai though! The boys also enjoyed a music class at the library this morning and are definitely more engaged with it now compared to when we first started going. 

   
    
 
A few random photos to finish. The first is Rory patiently watching me making Christmas puddings last weekend. We’re having a Christmas in July dinner on the 25th so I made one for that and have put one in the freezer for actual Christmas with John, Cindy & the boys.

  
To escape the weather we visited a very trendy coffee spot in Alexandria on Monday. It was a bit overrated but Rory was looking pretty cute in his jumper.

  
Finally if anyone is looking for Rory & Colman this weekend, they’re busy!

  

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Rory – 34 Weeks corrected 

It’s been a pretty quiet week at this end with Rory weighing in at 6.55kg. 

My week got off to an exciting start though with a visit to the circus with Maggie! We had a lot of fun and our favourite acts were the acrobats, the Shetland ponies and the human cannonball along with the clowns of course! Hopefully Maggie will see many more Shetland ponies on her trip to Scotland soon. 

   
   
On Monday we caught up with Rory’s premmie buddy Archie and his mum Margie at Coogee. Archie is looking great and has really stacked on the weight recently (I have no idea why   I’m leaning so far back in this picture!!).

   
 
On Wednesday we caught up with another premmie buddy Kai who is now fully over his cold that saw him in hospital last week. For some reason the boys were really eyeballing each other (although Rory had just averted his gaze in the pic below). We had a nice coffee followed by a walk and whale watching at Maroubra.

  
It was a lovely week for getting outdoors and while very cold, we had some beautiful blue sky days. You can just see the big top from the circus Maggie and I were at to the centre right of the picture. 

   
 
We had one visit to the hospital this week with physio followed by Rory’s winter RSV jab. Rory’s physio suggested sitting Rory on the desk Colman made him and then giving him things on a table at a higher level to play at. You can see in the picture she is slightly pushing his knees together. Now that Rory has mastered sitting upright we’re encouraging him to sit to the side with his knees together as this will eventually get him to crawling (this is hard to describe but most of us would “side sit” when sitting with our knees to one side on the floor). In the pic she’s also exerting a little pressure on his feet onto the floor to give him the idea that they’ll eventually bear weight! Rory didn’t care much what was the purpose behind him sitting on the desk… He just loved the activity table!

  
Rory was great getting the RSV jab although it does involve a lot of hanging about while they mix up the medication (20mins) and then observe Rory for 30 mins after administering it. This means he needs a lot of distracting!

   
 
Back on the home front, Rory is now loving his bath – yay! 

  

He’s also getting better at learning to put food in his mouth. We give him a carrot stick at the end of his dinner so he can try scoop some up and in his mouth… It gets messy!

  
Rory has found a very odd fascination with a picture we have in our bedroom of  us at our wedding. I’m not sure if it’s the frame (Áoife, if you’re reading it’s the one you bought us!) but looking at it gets him all excited and he couldn’t even settle to breastfeeding and bed the other night until I hid it!

   
   
Rory has been waking twice a night this week which isn’t exactly ideal but hopefully it’ll pass again. Last night he did better only needing one feed. Not sure how much it had to do with the position he’d gotten into when he woke us this morning. Usually he would be under the covers and facing the exact opposite direction! We have no idea how he got himself out and spun about but he was pretty happy about it!

  

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The Pool

World premiere of the much anticipated next instalment from CCR Films

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Rory – 33 Weeks corrected 

We’ve had a fun week with Rory.  First I should finish off on last week as we heard from Rory’s respiratory specialist on Monday who said the data from our night at home monitoring Rory’s saturation levels last week showed a further improvement over his sleep study back in May which is great news. Otherwise there are no other medical updates this week with Rory’s weight remaining stable on last week (which is fine after two big weeks of weight gain). As for all that chicken stock that everyone commented upon, it made up lots of different dinners for Rory and our freezer is certainly stocked! Rory’s enjoyed trying chicken and beef this week and is also better at closing his mouth when drinking water from a sippy cup (as in middle picture below). Of course he’s still breastfeeding too and Colman took this sneaky pic of Rory sitting on my breastfeeding pillow while I was reading a baby book (and trying to figure out why Mr Rory isn’t so keen on his daytime naps any more… There is no answer it seems)!

  

  

  
After celebrating their wedding anniversary on Saturday, Neil and Noelle came around on Sunday and Rory had a good laugh with them, giggling lots as they tossed his toys in the air. They both noticed how much chattier he is lately and we’ve started to pick up a few “ah ga” and “ga ga” noises amongst his babble. 

   
 
Speaking of tossing toys around, throwing toys out of his high chair or bumbo is now one of Rory’s favourite games!

  

Rory’s also made a big break through on his tummy this week… He’s figured out how to move backwards! It’s not quite crawling but he’s been pivoting around in circles for a while and now that’s led to some backwards movement. Only problem is that he pushes himself away from his toys so he sometimes gets a bit frustrated by it! The problem for us is that he can now move off the mat and the gap under our couch is the perfect size for him!

  
Funnily enough another new favourite this week is Rory’s inflatable bath. At the start of the week, we were just trying to get him to tolerate being in it but now he loves playing with toys in it. It’s also quite a handy playpen like when I was hanging out clothes in the garden… He gets to practice sitting but if he falls back he can just recline for a bit and then get himself back up. As for actually bathing him in it, we’re getting there! We started adding water midweek and he’s since had a very low water level bath in it!

  

One of the most fun things this week was Rory’s first swim! We were meant to have a pool party with Rory’s buddy Kai at their physio but unfortunately Kai picked up a cold and had to go into hospital (thankfully recovering well now). We’ll rearrange the pool party but our physio was happy to go ahead  as she wanted to show Rory off to her students. Unlike his bath, he took to the pool really well with no tears at all. He enjoyed splashing his feet and hands and then I moved him about a bit on his front and back. The physio thought he was great kicking his legs and raising his head high out of the water and we all had a laugh about whether he’d swim for Australia or Ireland in the Olympics (better chance getting on the Irish team I think)! From Rory’s first attempt it looks like he’ll be rearing to go swimming on our holiday with the Buckleys in Queensland in six weeks time! Colman took a video but he hasn’t converted it in time for the blog deadline (!) so I’ll upload it a bit later.

  

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Rory – 32 Weeks corrected 

Rory’s had a good week weighing in at a very pleasing 6.45kg up 150g on last week. We saw his paediatrician on Thursday and Rory is now 62.5cm long which means he’s doubled his birth length! Rory’s paediatrician is very happy with his progress, in particular how he’s achieving his milestones and is so bright and alert. He agrees that we’ve found a good balance between milk and solid feeds and wants us to continue giving Rory the same amount of milk for the time being rather than weaning him further as you might do a full term baby. We can go full steam ahead on the food front and start to introduce some meat protein. Rory had his first taste of fish this week which he seemed to enjoy – it was cod with carrots, broccoli, peas and cheese. I’ve also cooked up a huge pot of chicken stock which is the base for many of his baby recipes. Colman took a picture halfway through the preparation stage at which point I was half cursing Shona for giving me the book! Rory is looking at me a little quizzically I think!

   
 

We did another nighttime test to see how Rory’s going without oxygen and as usual it’s Friday afternoon and we’re waiting on his Irish respiratory doctor to ring with the results! From our perspective it seemed pretty good and the foot probe was better attached. Rory slept until 4am too so it was a less disturbed night for us all. Generally Rory is waking less at night this week which we’ll enjoy for now. 

Rory started off the week watching the end of the U.S. Open with Colman! You might notice some new clothes over the next few weeks as he’s broken into the 00 or 3-6 month clothes range. Here he’s wearing a pair of new pyjamas. 

 
Midweek we caught up with Rory’s premmie buddies Kai and Sami at Sami’s house. The boys enjoyed checking each other out and are all sitting now at various degrees of stability!

   
  

  

Speaking of core strength we took some pictures of an exercise our physio gave us and sent it onto Rory’s twin friends Cara & Mia who now live back in Scotland. It led to some pretty cute pics!

   

Oh and remember that bath from last week, well while Rory tolerated it quite well the first time, now he descends into tears when he sees it! So we’re trying to acclimatise him to it by putting him in it fully clothed as in the garden today! Hopefully soon we can add water again!

  
And finally here’s a few pics of Rory on the floor and just now hanging out on the couch with Colman where they’ve just been having a tickle and a laugh while I type (although for some reason they both look quite serious)!

   
 

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Rory – 31 weeks corrected

Rory had a good week with no medical appointments. He weighed in at 6.3kg on Tuesday which is a particular milestone for both of Rory’s Grandads who have been eagerly waiting for him to hit the one stone mark. Actually while I’m mentioning both Grandads, we’ll say happy Father’s day for Sunday to them both (Father’s Day is in September here). While we were weighing Rory, a nurse walked by and said we should take a photo as he was looking so cute on the scales (he prefers being on his tummy on the scales and it gives the same result).


We were out and about as usual this week making a Monday morning trip to our favourite cafe in Maroubra.



On Tuesday we went to a soggy Bondi to meet with my mum’s cousin, Carmel, her husband Ger and their two boys Vo Vo and Luca who were inSydney  this week as part of a huge three month holiday that they’re on. The last time I saw Carmel was when I was about 10 and she would bring me on the train from Dublin to Cork when she was going home for the weekend and I was going to spend a week with Nan! It was great to catch up and hear about their trip so far and inevitably feel envious of all that they’re about to do (Alice Springs, the Ghan train, Darwin, Kakadu and the East Coast drive all before heading to South America). The rain they had in Sydney this week will probably be their last for a while.


Back at home, Rory is just loving sitting up on his own now and is happy to sit and play with a toy for a while. Occasionally he topples over hence all the cushions.


He continues to wake once at night for a feed but generally then sleeps till between 6 and 7am. The other morning, he spat up on his pyjamas and seemed to get a laugh out of taking Colman’s spot in the bed while Colman went and got him a change of clothes.


And the last bit of news this week is that Rory has a new bath. We only have a shower in our house and Rory didn’t have much room to move in his baby bath so some research on line led me to the inflatable baby bath option which we can put at the bottom of our shower cubicle. Rory enjoyed trying it out for size although got a fright when he was popped in it last night.


And finally here’s proof if you needed it that Colman has time on his hands at the moment! That said I’m sure you won’t complain about another funny video.

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Everyday Steps

I was going to include these pictures in my usual weekly update but I think it’s deserving of its own post and I know no one will complain about extra pics!
Our friend Peter’s son Tim is currently undertaking a massive walk from the southernmost tip of Australia to the northernmost. He’s taking these “everyday steps” in aide of the charity Lifeline after facing his own struggle with depression a few years back. You can read more in this article written by Peter: Everyday Steps article 

Last week Tim passed the halfway mark and has now walked over 3,000km or the distance from Cork to Kiev as Peter told us! To celebrate with Tim, a gang of his friends arranged to meet up and have a stroll around the 3km circuit of Centennial Park on Sunday. Here we are about to head off with Shona & Maggie. 

 
  
Maggie got waylaid by a fairy partway around… Her message was that there is no such thing as a dog poo fairy so clean up after your dog!!

  
 

Maggie was on her scooter for a bit of the walk and later found a better mode of transport on Colman’s shoulders!

   
 
   

Here’s a group shot plus a pic of Tim’s littlest supporter who was happy in his pram throughout!

   
 
   

After the walk and a long wait for coffee that is almost inexcusable in Sydney, Rory showed off his sitting skills to Peter and Suzie. It was a really nice morning and we’ll all be cheering Tim on for the remainder of his everyday steps!

  

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Rory – 30 Weeks corrected (7 months)

Rory is 30 weeks corrected today and will be 7 months corrected on Sunday. He weighed in this week at 6.18kg which was a nice increase of 130g on last week and it feels like we’ve got a better routine going with milk and solid feeds to make sure he gets as many calories as possible! 

We saw Rory’s respiratory specialist this week who was happy with how Rory has been going off oxygen. We did take home a monitor for one night as a random check of how he’s saturating at night as apparently some babies can get tired after being off oxygen for a few weeks. It was a bit of a broken night for us all as Rory wasn’t keen on having a probe on his foot so he woke up a few times. We’re still waiting to hear the results but working on the basis that no news is good news. In other respiratory matters, Rory had his second winter RSV jab on Thursday. He gave a good scream when it went in but was smiling at the nurses shortly afterwards!

We also had a physio appointment this week and she was just delighted to hear and see Rory’s progress with sitting. He can pretty much sit unassisted now for up to 10 minutes and is able to play with a toy for a little while without throwing himself off balance. Speaking of balance, Rory’s physio’s advice was now that he can sit , we should tip/push him gently from side to side and front to back so that he initially puts his hand out to stop himself falling and then engages his oblique core muscles… It seems a bit mean to push him off balance when he’s just got the hang of it but I guess it’ll help! Here’s a happy Rory sitting under his playmat surrounded by a few pillows just in case.

   

Rewinding a small bit, we had a busy enough Queen’s birthday long weekend. Shona, Finn and Maggie came over for early dinner on Saturday. Rory showed off his sitting skills and then watched a bit of footy with Finn. 

   
   

Rory had two new experiences last weekend. Firstly we tried putting some shoes on him to see if it would help keep his socks on as we’re constantly picking them up… Instead he kicked off the shoes but they did look pretty cute for a bit!

  

Rory also made the move to using Maggie’s old high chair last weekend and enjoyed being up and part of the action on Saturday and then again when John, Val and the kids came over on Sunday for pizza. 

   

   

Earlier on Sunday, while Colman was golfing, Rory and I took a trip to La Perouse. Rory had a nice nap while I had a rare treat of reading the paper with coffee. Then we had a walk and while I enjoyed the scenery, Rory had eyes for his toys. In fact it was so nice we took out the picnic blanket and had a bit of a play.

     

      
Finally I’ve been trying on and off this week to get a photo of Rory’s first tooth for you all. He kept hiding it again when he saw the camera but it did lead to some pretty cute shots. Finally this morning I had success and you can just see it in the last pic. 

   

  

  

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