Eliza Grace was born on March 15, 2006, at 26 weeks, 4 days, weighing 1 pound 4 ounces and measuring just 11.5 inches long. She is the light of my soul and this is the story of our life in the big city.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The "Why" of It

It seems lately I have been asked (a little too often) by friends, family and even passing acquaintances things like "but why can't Eliza eat?" or "why does Eliza get so upset if she ______" (you can fill in any number of things). The truth is I don't think anyone has a really good answer for the "why" of it all. I mean Eliza has no identifiable neurological disease or defect, no significant structural problem that would impair her ability to eat (save for a shockingly high palette), nor for example did she suffer some acute injury (except for a few hundred heel sticks) that would cause her to be in visible discomfort from simply the touch of sand, a blanket or carpet on her feet.

I find myself simply telling people that her brain is wired a little differently because no one was meant to be born so soon and no one really knows what impact being exposed to the outside world 14 weeks too soon has on a baby's brain.

It has dawned on me though that, much like the misguided belief that micro preemies are just cute tiny babies that need to grow, people probably think a micro preemie's brain is just the same as a full term baby's brain, just a little bit smaller.

Well guess what dear readers, these "tiny" brains look nothing like the brain of a 40 weeker:

Eliza was born at 26 weeks and 4 days, so her brain was not quite as developed as the schematic of the 28 weeker's brain. Due to her IUGR, Eliza was more like a a 24 weeker, so her brain would be closer in appearance to the schematic of the brain of the 22 weeker. In either case, neither the 22 weeker's brain nor the 28 weeker's brain is nearly as convoluted as the 40 weeker's brain. Kind of makes you wonder how all those little fettuccine like convolutions develop when they are exposed to the light, sound, touch, smell, and taste of the outside world when that little ball of fettuccine should have been happily floating in a nice warm dark pool of amniotic fluid.

So I think I am going to laminate the little schematic above, carry it in my wallet and show it to folks when they ask the "why" of it ... kind of like the old "what's wrong with this picture" game.

Speaking of what's wrong with this picture....

Can extreme prematurity be the cause of an utter lack of fashion sense?

Why does Eliza wear her shirts as skirts?



CG said...

The eating thing. People just don't know half of it and don't even understand the tip of the iceberg.
Oh that fashion is good. I love the pants in the half on waist off style. I will look into Isabella copying that:):)

abby said...

I love the fashion show shots. I think Eliza is onto something and I am hoping to see onesies-as-skirts during next year's Fashion Week. Maybe you can even start a reality television show to promote this?

Hallie's lately taken to screaming every morning when I get her dressed. Especially the onesie (we see these items of clothing as strategically necessary to keep Hallie's hands out of her pants after a nice poop...Hallie is a major sensory seeker and this leads to many mommy EWWWW moments). I'm not sure why this screaming started, or what it means (perhaps it means: I know you want to keep my hands out of my pants after I poop and I hate this item of clothing because of that. Who knows?) But there really are a lot of 'whys' out there and most of the time I'm too tired to ask them, let alone answer them. I think a steely look and a grunt should suffice.

Sarah said...

Well, I think I can honestly say that my carb-addicted brain will no longer eat or desire fettucini. I've never quite compared fettucini to a brain before and now it's not quite as appetizing.

But, the pictures are great. I think she looks healthy and beautiful. I keep getting told that Emery doesn't eat because he's stubborn and it's cute. *sigh*

She does look like she's posing, though. What I want to know is how did you get her to do that :)

Anne, Eliza Grace's mom said...


Eliza will be holding "fashion week" this summer and I'll make sure Isabella is on the invite list! She'll be introducing her new line of "panties as hats."

Anne, Eliza Grace's mom said...


I believe that the onesie was invented by the same person who invented the straight jacket and the hair shirt ... or at least that seems to be the perception of a few two year olds I know!

So happy Eliza likes very clean hands and would never dare reach into her diaper. Blech. Poor you.

Anne, Eliza Grace's mom said...


I am deeply sorry for having ruined a perfectly good pasta for you.

Fusilli anyone?

Proud preemie mom said...

Anne, I don't see anything wrong with Eliza's fashion sense. That is exactly how I wear my shirts. She's very fashionable. Didn't I tell you she is just in training to be a supermodel? THAT is why she won't eat.

Jenny G said...

Thank you for posting that chart of the brain development. It really does put things into perspetive.

The Walsh's said...

Oh I love the shirt/skirt. Reminds me of the skort...Remember those? A skirt in the front, but really shorts underneath and behind? I had every color...Couldn't get enough.

I love the brain answer to the Why question. Makes so much sense...

And because I'm not just the average person who you're telling that Eliza has feeding problems, I can say this...But she really does LOOK GOOD. Her legs still have some chunk, at least they do in the pictures. I know that you're working overtime to make sure that chunk stays put, but I just wanted to say KUDOS. What you're doing is hard and frustrating and something that cannot be explained to the "next guy" but I know what you're going through and I think you're doing great.