Preemie Posture

Remember this photo?

That is three pounds of pure preciousness right there! Look at those arms!!! I cannot believe they were ever that teensy and non-roll-y!! Craziness....

I had a little Facebook caption contest for that one, I think the winner was... actually a tie between these two:
"Part of your woooooooooooorld!"
     (I just love Ariel. So. so. much....)
"Seriously, the baby next to me was only this big. True story..."
     (That really is a true story! Sweet little Ruthie. She weighs the same as Mercy now!)

I remember the moment that photo was taken so well, Chris and I could not stop giggling at her spreading her arms like that, we just wanted to wrap them around our necks and embrace that little baby girl so hard!

Turns out, it wasn't just an adorable Mercy thing, it's actually a pretty normal preemie thing.

Our OT calls it the 'Preemie Posture,' and here's my limited understanding of it:

Apparently... because full term babies are all squished up in the fetal position for awhile, they come out curled up with the muscle tone to keep their hands near their faces. They have to learn to extend.

Preemies, on the other hand, are still all stretched out in the womb when they decide to make their grand entrance into the world, and haven't developed that flexor muscle tone just yet. They have to learn to bring their arms and legs in.

See, she still does it:

We've been working with the OT to help her learn to bring those sweet arms in. Overall, she does a pretty good job, but even so, everyday we find ourselves tucking her arms back in over and over. Sometimes she just pops one arm out, and as soon as we tuck it in, the other one has popped out! That can sometimes go on for awhile. It's hard not to laugh, it's almost like she's playing a game with us and she's just so dang adorable!

But in all truthfulness, this is not a laughing matter. We're doing a lot of exercises with Mercy trying to get her ready to crawl, and this preemie posturing is clearly affecting this, she just holds her arms out so wide. It affects her ability to self soothe, to hold her bottle, learn to crawl and eventually even things like riding a bike. Don't get me wrong, she can definitely get her thumb in her mouth and reach up and grab her bottle, but within just a minute or two, the arms pop right back out. We're for sure seeing improvement, sometimes it's just a few seconds before she brings them back in on her own, but this is definitely something we'll be continuing to work on for a while.

And sometimes I wonder how different I am from Mercy... How different my own sin nature that came into this world with me is from her preemie posture that came into the world with her.

Every day as my faith develops more and more, my heavenly Father teaches me how to tuck my own arms in, how to trust Him, how to love others, how to love Him... Specific sins I struggle with are daily revealed to me as He reminds me to give them up to Him, to represent Him in all circumstances because I love Him, because of what He did for me...

Like Mercy has to daily work on bringing her arms in, as children of God we have to daily work on surrendering our actions, plans, our lives to Him.

So why is this worth working on? Just like her preemie posture will affect Mercy's development, this will affect our spiritual development in the long run. It will affect the depth of our relationship with our Savior, our contentment in all circumstances, it will affect our ability to feel joy in sadness, our effectiveness in sharing His love with others, our trust in His sovereign plans for our future... and what do we have if we don't have Him??

Friends, because of the grace upon grace we have received through Jesus, how can we not work daily to 'bring our arms in' and love Him well? How can we not receive instruction as He teaches us how to do this through His word, through fellowship in His house, and through the Godly people He has placed in our lives? It affects everything, and it is so worth it!

"Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches."
-Galatians 6:6

Oh, yes. It's so worth it!

So... On another note, what do you think about a new caption contest for the newest preemie posture photo above? Post your entries in the comments! Winner will receive a special surprise from Mercy in my next post!