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?