Destroy has brown eyes. Search has not yet decided – his eyes average a dark grey color, swinging back and forth between bluish or brownish depending on what outfit he is currently stylin’. Both boys have adorable expressions (see The Look/You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile) and are slowly starting to check out more of the world around them.
These poor muppets have endured far more than their fair share of poking and prodding in their four months. (Today was Destroy’s final retinal doctors appointment. Search finished this process last month.) But I am pleased to announce both muppets are officially RoP free.
Retinopathy of prematurity (RoP) is an eye disease that affects preemies. It results from a rapid and chaotic growth of blood vessels behind the retina. Term babies complete their physiological development in a low-oxygen environment; retinal blood vessels freak out when they hit the high-oxygen atmosphere of the world.
Virtually all kiddos considered “extremely premature” experience some level of the disease. It can be mild and simply resolve of its own accord or, in more serious cases, cause blindness. I remember speaking with Nurse Jennifer about RoP for the first time, before their first eye exam. A pediatric retinal specialist would examine them every two weeks as needed. Their little eyes would be propped open with a wire so the doctor could shine a light inside.
Thankfully, the muppets were diagnosed with only a mild form of Stage 1 RoP – the closest to all clear they could be. But they had to return for exams monthly after NICU graduation until the RoP was completely gone.
This morning, while I was busy educating the world on the technical glories of Silicon Valley, Jon packed up the muppets and trooped over to hospital. Nurses, patients and visitors alike were apparently awestruck to see Dad alone with twins. “Where’s Mom?” a nurse asked, incredulously. I wonder if she would have been so surprised to see me there without Dad.
As my three boys sat in the office waiting for Destroy’s eyes to dilate, Search decided he was hungry. Since Jon was holding Destroy, Search elevated his hunger situation to meltdown levels. As Jon riffled through the Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag looking for a pluggie, Search proceeded to shove his entire fist in his mouth – self-soothing and audibly sucking so no one around could possibly forget his predicament. Personally, I was pretty impressed with the hand-to-mouth coordination.
Finally, the pediatric retinal specialist decreed that so little RoP remained – leaving approximately a 0 percent chance of resulting issues. Yay! Destroy does not have to go back. (The doctor is used to examining preemies. Pudgy Destroy is getting too big and squirmy for the doctor.)
The muppets have surpassed yet another trial set in their path to big, strong, smart, healthy baby boys. Sight-wise, vision problems will not be related to prematurity – it’s all up to genetics at this point.
Sorry boys – glasses are definitely in your future…