Tag Archives: bath

day 3225: odin has chickenpox! or, hey, why isn’t he vaccinated?

day 3225: odin has chickenpox! or, hey, why isn't he vaccinated? I.

the chickenpox was going around odin’s school and after a few days of wondering why he had a slight heat rash that wouldn’t go away ( in hindsight denial is amazingly powerful ), it turns out he got it. which is actually sort-of good since we were going to vaccinate him if he didn’t come down with it this year since the risk of complications from chickenpox goes up with age.

of course, it’s a natural to ask why we didn’t get him vaccinated to begin with. we’re not anti-vaccines and he’s up-to-date on all his other vaccinations but we passed on chickenpox because it doesn’t present a realistic danger to an otherwise healthy child kid. partly it’s because we tend to balk at unnecessary interventions that merely prevent an inconvenience. and partly we believe that immune systems are complicated and have evolved to get activated in certain ways at certain times and it’s possible that not getting something like the chickenpox can have unintended consequences. for example clinically observed chickenpox is associated with a lower risk of childhood-onset multiple schlerosis. i’m certainly not saying if you choose to get your kid vaccinated that she’s going to get MS, but i do think exposure to a broad range of non-lethal and relatively low-risk things is likely, given how humans evolved, an important part of building a strong and resiliant immune system. this is an offshoot of the thinking that maybe we’ve scrubbed ourselved and our environments a little too clean:

“Increasing evidence suggests that the alarming rise in allergic and autoimmune disorders during the past few decades is at least partly attributable to our lack of exposure to microorganisms that once covered our food and us.”

thankfully, odin appears to have relatively mild symptoms. no substantial fever, no puking, no headaches, no pain.

just a bit of itching and a lot of red spots – nothing an oatmeal bath can’t cure!

day 3225: odin has chickenpox! or, hey, why isn't he vaccinated? II.

oh the modern convenience of an ipad with netflix to go along with a homemade chocolate shake while riding out chickenpox. i don’t think i could have dreamed of such luxuries when i had it 35 years ago!

the eric update – day 90: five pounds! infant massage. another bath.

while flickr has been having issues, i’ve been getting behind on posting updates. so for now, i’ll just post the super abridged version and maybe i’ll get around to posting the longer version when time permits. you can see annotated photos from the day here.

  • 5 pounds (2280 grams)! woohoo! he’s as heavy as a bag of sugar! weight gain despite reflux is a good thing.
  • infant massage. we’ve been giving him more massages lately to help keep the gas moving along. infant massage has also been shown to have all sorts of other benefits, so it’s a good thing to do regardless ( indeed, the nurses at the old nicu gave eric regular massages, but they don’t seem to think it’s as important at the new nicu ).
  • yet another bath. you can’t have too many bath pictures can you? no, you can’t, especially when you’re giving a bath to a baby swaddled in cloth diapers. it’s cute. honest


day 90: five pounds!

5 pounds (2280 grams)! woohoo! he’s as heavy as a bag of sugar! weight gain despite reflux is a good thing.

day 90: another bath?!@ I.

hmmmm. can you tell he’s hungry? putting a web cloth diaper on him worked so well, that we decided to go all out and swaddle him completely, only unwrapping the parts that we needed to wash when we needed to. bath times go a lot smoother now.

day 90: another bath?!@ II.

yeah, he’s hungry, but he’s pacified temporarily by the supersized paci. i imagine that he’s looking at me thinking, “i’m going to remember this when i’m 16.”

day 90: another bath?!@ III.

time to be dried off by pops. my hands still look purty large next to his head.

day 90: infant massage. I.

we’ve been giving him more massages lately to help keep the gas moving along. infant massage has also been shown to have all sorts of other benefits, so it’s a good thing to do regardless ( indeed, the nurses at the old nicu gave eric regular massages, but they don’t seem to think it’s as important at the new nicu ).

we’re following the techniques described in Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents. i’m not an infant massage expert, but it seems like a good book.

day 90: infant massage. II.

little odin loves to have his feet massaged. being in the nicu is tough work and after a long day, he thinks it’s just grand it you spend a little extra time on his feet.

day 90: infant massage. III.

don’t forget to massage the arm and hand! he’s strong and likes to flex his muscles in an effort to impress the nurses.

day 90: infant massage. IV.

this move is called “paddling the waves” or something like that. but really it should be called “letting out the gas”. the rice makes him less gassy than the barley, but since he’s still not supposed to even be born for two more weeks, any solid stuff is rough on his gastrointestinal tract. so we spend extra time getting the gas out.

day 90: infant massage: V.

after the bath and massage, he’s more eager than ever to show us that he doesn’t need any help keeping the supersized paci in his mouth.

day 90: infant massage.  VI.

the final step of a good massage, of course, is getting to sleep in your most comfortable ‘jammies.

the eric update – day 87: waiting. a fistful of paci. barley feeds. mobile.

day 87:  a fistful of paci

after eric’s neonatologist’s consulted with pediatric surgeons this morning about his hiatal hernia and possible nissen surgeries, they’ve decided to hold off making any decisions to see if non-surgical management will help improve the reflux. while that’s great news, they’ve also decided to delay his inguinal hernia surgery so they can do it when and if they decide non-surgical methods are no lnoger working to control the reflux at which point they’ll do everything at once. since his neonatologist last night said that they had already had a hunch that he’d need the surgeries eventually, but that the pediatric surgeons didn’t like to do them before a baby weights 2,500 grams, i’m guessing that from their perspective we’re playing a waiting game – they wait for him to hit 2,500 grams, while letting us try less invasive treatments in hopes that something might work.

day 87:  barley feeding. I.

to that end, they finally gave orders to start supplementing his feedings with barley which helps to thicken them and will hopefully help to keep the food in his stomach where it belongs. remarkably, after we added the barley, he almost completely stopped spitting up his food! even more importantly his blood oxygen levels remained stable after eating, which means there’s less reflux in his esophagus stimulating the nerves that initiate the cascade of events that lead to an apnea. he’s still showing signs of reflux, such as pursing his lips and making chewing motions with his mouth, but he responded quite well to the barley and appears to be much more stable; in fact, he hasn’t had any alarms in over 24 hours! whooohoo!

day 87:  barley feeding. II.

sometimes after adding barley to the milk, micropreemies have a more difficult time drinking their bottle, but eric doesn’t seem to mind at all and drinks it as quickly as ever.

do the remarkable results of adding a little barley to his feedings mean that he won’t need surgery? it might and it might not, depending on the results of additional upper GI series ( we don’t have any sceduled yet ). it’s possible that the barley is helping to make eric more stable, while masking esophageal damage that will gradually result in feeding problems, which we certainly would like to avoid. but the barley might, just possibly might, help to stabilize eric enough to allow us to bring him home while he gains weight and we to see if he really does need surgery or if things will gradually get better as eric matures. eric’s neonatologist said that he would let him come home with an unrepaired inguinal hernia, as long as everything else was under control. i’m guessing that if we see two or three days of no alarms and no significant “desats” after feeding, we might be talking about going home sooner rather than later – not that we’ll ever tell him that, mind you.

day 87: yet another bath. I.

so, while we wait, wondering if little odin will be coming home in one week or six, life in the nicu hums along; today, eric actively grasped and held his paci for the first time ( motor coordination! ); we gave him a bath and got a great tip from a nurse about how draping eric in a wet cloth diaper will give him a “bundled” feeling, making baths a lot less stressful. micropreemies often will get agitated when they lack the boundaries that were familiar when they were in the womb. he loved it. if we removed the diaper he’d start to fuss, but as soon as draped him in the diaper, he calmed down quickly.

day 87: yet another bath. II.

he’s hungry, so he decides to suck on the web diaper that we’ve draped over him

day 87: developmental mobile

and we brought in a mobile that will supposedly encourage his development and vision. i don’t know if the claims are about stimulating development are true, but it seems like a good idea to have something familiar around when we finally get to go home.

the eric update – day 62: a second gregorian birthday bath, bottle and balloon.

day 62: second gregorian birthday bath. I.

odin celebrated his second gregorian birthday today! even though you’ll likely be reading this a day after the fact, you can feel free to hum him a few bars of the birthday song, since tomorrow will be his nine week birthday. we like to find any ol’ reason to celebrate. we weighed in at 3 pounds 9.7 ounces or about 1636 grams. it’s fun to look back at his first gregorian birthday and see that he’s gained almost exactly a pound and a half.

day 62: second gregorian birthday bath. II.

eric got cleaned-up with a a birthday bath. while he’s tolerated his other baths quite well, for whatever reason, he decided that he was not impressed at all with this one and he squirmed and kicked and generally gave kris and nurse jan a run for their money.

day 62: second gregorian birthday bath. III.

but rather than posting a dozen pictures of him kicking and grimacing, i’ll commemorate the event with the one picture of him looking relatively calm.

day 62: second gregorian birthday bottle. I.

you might notice in the bath pictures that he doesn’t even have his nasal cannula in his nose! the plastic tube is gently blowing oxygen in his face to help him breath, but i don’t think he really needed to it, since it was often pointed away from his face at odd angles. nurse jan commented at one point that perhaps he didn’t need to be on supplemental oxygen at all, so maybe sooner rather than later he’ll be rid of the nasal cannula completely.

day 62: second gregorian birthday bottle. II.

eric proved that taking the bottle yesterday wasn’t a fluke; after the bath he finished off his second bottle in short order.

he drank the first 16 cc’s quite quickly ( i.e. in under 10 minutes ). he then drank about 4 more cc’s over 10 minutes before deciding that he didn’t want the last couple of cc’s as he was getting very, very sleepy.

day 62: second gregorian birthday balloon

after the bath and the feeding, eric barely has any energy left to celebrate and he falls fast asleep on kris’ chest while clutching his balloon.

the eric update – day 56: eric’s second lunar birthday!

day 56: a lunar birthday party

thankfully, eric’s alarms stopped alarming and everyone feels quite confident that the whole hullaballoo was just eric’s way of saying that he needed a little more help breathing that we thought. without the constant alarms, we were able to enjoy a relatively quiet 8 week birthday. eric’s friends all gathered around to wish him a very happy birthday. after eric was finished socializing, i had the chance to give him his very first “spit bath”! it took me a little longer than kris takes when she gives him a bath, but we eventually made it through the process relatively unscathed.

kris will claim that she doesn’t know how to take nice photos, but i think this series proves that she’s fibbing.

day 56: a lunar birthday spit bath. I.

there’s a diaper under his head to help prevent water from soaking his bed. the nurses never put a diaper under his head when kris gave him a bath, so i believe they’re really thinking that i don’t know what i’m doing 🙂

day 56: a lunar birthday spit bath. II.

he’s trying to subtly let me know that i should hurry it up so he can get back to sleeping.

day 56: a lunar birthday spit bath. III.

one simply must have a sqeaky clean forehead on one’s second lunar birthday.

day 56: a lunar birthday spit bath. IV.

as i’m trying to give him a bath, he grabs my finger very tightly and won’t let me pull it away as he looks right at me as if to say, “enough, already!”

day 56: a lunar birthday spit bath. V.

he keeps looking right at me as i clean the folds in his neck, as i think about how amazing that he actually has folds of skin on his neck, given how skinny he was just a few weeks ago.

day 56: a lunar birthday spit bath. VII.

you don’t want to leave any soap on a micropreemie’s head, so it’s mighty important to give him a good rinse.

day 56: a lunar birthday spit bath. VIII.

it’s that easy to scrub his back with the intravenous lines and nasal cannula, but we make the best of the situation.

day 56: a lunar birthday spit bath. IX.

his head is drying under the towel as i’m scrubbing his legs and feet.

day 56: a lunar birthday spit bath. X.

i’m picking him up as kris is changing his bedding and simultanously trying to take a picture. he’s a little bigger than the last time i held him like this on day 8 ( she took that picture too ).

day 56: a lunar birthday spit bath. XI.

kris and i have switched roles and now i’ve got the camera. he’s looking up at her as she’s telling him what a super job he did enduring my bath, which was twice as long as the those that she gives him.

she’s getting ready to put a “big boy” top on him to help keep him warm after the bath.

day 56: a lunar birthday spit bath. XII.

all done! baths are quite tiring, he almost immediately falls asleep and enjoys a lunar birthday nap.

day 56: serenity

clinically speaking, eric is doing very, very well, which is amusing to say considering all the alarms just yesterday. he’s tolerating his feeds as well as anyone could expect and the amount of undigested material that they are pulling out of his stomach between feeds is gradually diminishing. i think that it might be possible for him to be back on full feeds by the end of the week. he’s looking a little pallid due to a gradually decreasing number of red blood cells. so, despite the hope that he might have recently had his last transfusion, it looks like he might get one ot two more.

i haven’t been giving any updates on his weight because he hasn’t been adding on any weight. i discovered that being on the vent is a great way to add weight to a micropreemie, since it’s doing all the work and they can convert the extra energy towards gaining weight. since eric’s not on the vent, it’s not unusual for him to stop adding weight as quickly as he had been; however, i think they’ll look at adjusting his diet a bit in the coming days, since it’s not a good thing to not put on any weight for five whole days.

day 56: full moon lunar birthdays

we always know that odin’s lunar birthday is approaching because it coincides with the full moon. well, technically, it’s a day after the full moon, but it looks full enough to me. i realized tonight that i hadn’t bothered to capture a photograph of the moon 4 weeks ago, and i couldn’t let it happen again.

it’s seemed like a big, bright birthday candle in sky as we took the dogs for their nightly walk.

the eric update – day 53: supersized paci. yet another spit bath. first laundry load!

day 53: supersized paci

tonight, eric was upgraded to a really, really big paci, which is yet another sign that he’s getting to be a Big Boy. the pacifier is a special preemie, orthodontically-correct paci which the nurses claimed would be difficult to find outside the nicu. it doesn’t seem too difficult if you know where to look, but maybe there’s a difference that makes a difference that i’m not seeing. i’m sure someone can help me clear up the confusion. in any case, the supersized paci is a big step on the way to getting prepared for breastfeeding. it’s neat to see him start to suck on everything in sight when it gets close to feeding time, even though his feedings are coming through the feeding tube.

day 53: bearer of the ring

maybe someday, i’ll stop documenting every bath that he gets, but today was not that day. kris looked at me with a raised eyebrow when i told her that i was going to photograph yet another spit bath, but i just couldn’t quite bring myself to not take the pictures. hopefully you’ll still enjoy the fruits of my obsessiveness.

day 53: yet another spit bath. I.

no, this isn’t a mere product placement for johnson & johnson shampoo; it’s time for another “spit” bath! eric can’t have a full tub bath because his IV is in his arm, which makes it more difficult to keep water from infiltrating the line.

day 53: yet another spit bath. II.

first, the eyes must be scrubbed.

day 53: yet another spit bath. III.

and then the inside of the ear.

day 53: yet another spit bath. IV.

don’t forget the back of the ears. you don’t want any yeasty growths accumulating behind the ears.

day 53: yet another spit bath. V.

scrub his head!

day 53: yet another spit bath. VI.

rinse his head!

day 53: yet another spit bath. VII.

aahhhh. a brief respite from the rigors of the spit bath.

day 53: yet another spit bath. VIII.

a bath can be pretty tiring and one must yawn at least once during the process.

day 53: yet another spit bath. IX.

scrubbing bubbles.

day 53: yet another spit bath. X.

during the bath, eric decides that maybe the new, supersized paci would be a good way to help make the best of the situation.

day 53: yet another spit bath. XI.

it’s always nice to end a bath with a little fingergrab.

day 53: tucked in for the night.

tucked in for the night. well, not really, because the nurses will still be doing their nursing duties every couple of hours, but we like to imagine that he’s really settled in for a long night of restful sleep.

i think the muscle shirt with cars suits him well.

day 53: decreased nasal cannula flow

in one of the most subtle changes of late, eric’s nasal cannula air flow was decreased from 2 liters to 1.5 liters, which is a huge step forward in the process of getting weaned from the respiratory aid. the nurses thought he’d need to have his supplemental oxygen turned up to help offset the decreased airflow, but he didn’t, which they said was quite impressive.

the floating ball indicates the flow rate. when it gets to zero, he’ll be able to get rid of the nasal cannula altogether and be free of tubes up his nose!

day 53: his first load of laundry!

they also told us that, as soon as he gets the IV taken off of his hand, we can start bringing in his own personal clothes! the clothes he’s wearing now are special tops with velcro that make it really easy to get on and off in the event of an emergency, but soon he’ll be able to wear regular street cloths.

so, late in the night we did his very first load of laundry.

the eric update – day 50: eric’s first tub bath! and even more nasal cannula.

day 50: eric's first tub bath. I.

the big news today was that eric got to have his first tub bath after weeks of “spit baths” with a washcloth. micropreemies are often none to impressed with bathing, as it just makes them cold, so it’s interesting to see his reponse. at first he seems like he might get quite unhappy with with the whole bathing thing, but he eventually settled in an waited patiently for it to be over. all the bathing was quite tiring, so after playing with a new toy that kris bought, he looked around for a bit and quickly fell fast asleep.

day 50: eric's first tub bath. II.

yes, it really does take that many people to bath a micropreemie, what with all the sensors and IV lines

day 50: eric's first tub bath. III.

at first, eric’s not too impressed with the whole bath experience.

day 50: eric's first tub bath. IV.

mama gets ready to apply some soap. he’s settled down at the point, resigned to fact that he’s not getting out of the bath anytime soon.

day 50: eric's first tub bath. V.

“you know, it’s fun and all to have so many women being so attentive, but could you pick up the pace a bit, as i’m getting pretty cold.”

day 50: eric's first tub bath. VI.

he’s getting dried off and decides that he’d like to hold the “graspy” toy that mama bought for him just a few hours earlier.

day 50: eric's first tub bath. VII.

getting a bath can be a very tiring event, so he has to try very, very hard to keep his eyes open.

day 50: eric's first tub bath. VIII.

yaaaawwwwwwwnnnnn. sleepy.

day 50: eric's first tub bath. IX.

or maybe not so sleepy. he puts off sleep for a few more moments and looks right at me.

day 50: eric's first tub bath. X.

o.k. yeah. i guess he really was sleepy afterall.

he’s up to 8 hours of nasal cannula, followed by 2 hours of cpap and handling it wonderfully, with very few alarms. i’d expect them to test out 24 hours of the nasal cannula very soon.

he’s still having trouble digesting the breastmilk as quickly as they’d like and he’ll typically have an alarm or two after feeding. the alarms after feeding are from the weight of the food in his stomach pressing on his vagus nerve, which helps to maintain his heartrate. the fact that his food isn’t moving along as fast as they’d like is aggravating the situation. at this point, there’s not much they can do, except watch him closely and obey the signs that he’s sending to take it slow with the feedings.