Tag Archives: hat

day 3464: odin’s michigan relatives are subtle in their attempts to sway his hockey fandom preferences.

day 3464: odin's michigan relatives are subtle in their attempts to sway his hockey fandom preferences.

living in driftless region with no wisconsin nhl team presents a few tough choices for our default favorite hockey team. it could theoretically be the minnesota wild but we’re in wisconsin the odin plays against a lot of minnesota teams to that’s not really going to happen.

we lived in chicago for a number of years and always enjoyed the blackhawks and they could reasonably be the default choice since they are the closest major market team. but i don’t think odin’s michigan relatives are ever going to let that happen :-)

this year got more red wings gear to cement the deal.

the eric update – day 71: another transfusion. reduced reflux. reglan questions.

day 71: living strong with a new transfusion

pooh decided to put one of the yellow “live strong” wristbands to good use after eric finished getting his latest transfusion. as regular readers are quite aware, we’ve known for awhile that he’s needed a transfusion, so it was nothing surprising and it will go a long ways towards giving eric the energy he needs to bust out of the nicu.

interestingly, they did a special blood test to see specifically how many new red bloods cells he was making and it seemed like he wsa doing a great job creating new ones, but just not making them quite fast enough to keep his hemoglobin levels from slowly dropping.

day 71: burping in a big, blue hat

otherwise, eric had a quiet day. he gained a little weight, but most of that was due to the transfusion and fluid retension. his reflux problems were greatly reduced, presumably due to his new meds, but i’ve been given some reasonable information that reglan can often some with some nasty side effects. i specifically asked about it today and the nurse, who is very normally very responsive, sort-of dismissed the question and said that it’s just part of the normal nicu course of treatment for reflux and they never see any problems. we’ll definately be following up a bit more rigorously tommorrow to see what the thinking is, considering that his reflux is fairly mild ( although, it must be stressed that reflux in a micropreemie is nothing to play around with as it can quickly spiral into a host of other issues ).

the eric update – day 70: a 10 week birthday! and way too much progress for a pithy title.

day 70: into an open, unheated bassinet. I.

eric celebrated his 10 week birthday by quickly ditching his isolette after only 9 days and moving on to an open, unheated bassinet! the open bed is the very last stop before graduating from the nicu – yippee!

day 70: into an open, unheated bassinet. II.

eric’s caregivers don’t want him to spend too money calories keeping warm so they take great care to make sure that he’s really bundled in blankets. he seemed to be holding his temperature quite well during the day, so i think he’ll manage the transition well as long as we keep him swaddled.

day 70: new meds

it’s not uncommon for micropreemies to reflux their food which can cause them to stop breathing, or even worse, the refluxed food can get into their lungs and cause all sorts of problems.

we’ve noticed that most of eric’s “desatting” ( lowering of blood oxygen ) and bradycardias ( dangerous lowering of heart rate ) occur after feeding, which means that he might be starting to show signs of mild reflux; to help relieve the condition, they’ve started to give him zantac to reduce the reflux and reglan to help move things along more quickly. if the meds work as intended, the doctors might not need to give him a round of pulmicort, since much of his need for supplemental oxygen seems to be related to reflux.

day 70: helpful reminder

nurse nancy leaves us a not so subtle note to remind us to not forget to take our infant cpr class on wednesday. really, she’s telling us not to wait until the following wednesday because we’ll likely be getting too close to eric’s release day.

day 70: lance armstronged bassinet

in addition to the yellow “live strong” armbands, we received dozens and dozens of blank “live strong” postcards, which i decided to plaster all over his new bassinet.

this is only a small portion of the bed that’s covered, but i thought it was the best shot.

after two months of enduring this kind of behavior from me, the nurses have learned to stop asking why.

day 70: hungry boy

eric’s nurse is fiddling with his nasal cannula, which is why he has the plastic “blow by” tube in his face that is gently wafting oxygen towards his nose and mouth.

it’s close to feeding time and he decides that he very much wants to suck on kris’ finger while he waits for food.

day 70: sick of the nasal cannula

eric’s nurses turned down his nasal cannula “flow” to 0.5 liters per minute, which is way down from the starting point of 2.0 liters per minute. when the flow gets to 0 liters per minute, he’ll be able to be rid of the nasal cannula entirely.

as if to prove a point, he kept ripping the nasal cannula out of his nose and staring at us. he did this over and over and it was hard to not interpret the action as his way of saying that he was ready to be free of supplemental oxygen.

his blood oxygen levels looked so great that his nurse decided to take his nasal cannula off for two 20 minute periods while watching his stats. he did great so i suspect that he’ll be off oxygen support much sooner than later, if the reflux meds work properly.

day 70: four pounds!

woohoo! in addition to everything else, eric hit the four pound milestone on his ten week birthday! somehow, i managed to not get his entire raised fist in the frame. hi. ho.

it’s hard to imagine that a mere three weeks ago we were celebrating him hitting three pounds. hooray for eric!

day 70: record setting bottle feed

eric decided to celebrate all the big achievements by drinking his 9 p.m. bottle in four minutes. i’m not joking. i guess there’s no doubt that he’s got the bottle feeding thing down.

is it just me or does it seem like his custom knit cap is getting a lot more snug than it was just three weeks ago?

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 48: gifts! last transfusion? no alarms (except pops induced)!

day 48: loose cannula

there’s no doubt about it. we’re back to the ho-hum days that are mostly filled with kangaroo care.

eric is being transitioned from the cpap to the nasal cannula much more quickly than previous attempts. today, they altered his schedule to alternate between 4 hours of cpap and 4 hours of the cannula. amazingly, he only had 2 brady’s (bradycardia, or slowing of his heart rate ), the entire day and both were while he was on my chest, which, of course led to endless jokes from kris and nurse jan. both brady’s were due to his head slowly getting into a position that made it difficult for eric to breath. of course, whenever eric’s on my chest he seems to enjoy putting his head in the position that will lead to a brady. i imagine that he thinks it’s a fun game to have me move his head in the correct position, only to move it slowly and imperceptibly back to the wrong one. over and over we play the game and sometimes he wins and has a brady.

eric also likes to tug on his nasal cannula, pulling the prongs out of his nose. if he weren’t doing so well breathing on his own, we’d know when the prongs were out of his nose, as his blood oxygen levels would start to decrease. but since he is breathing so well, we don’t see the “desat” and only later discover that his prongs have been out for as long as 10 or 15 minutes at a time, which is yet another sign that he’s getting stronger.

day 48: eric meets babo the ugly doll

some longtime friends, matt and erin, who we haven’t seen in awhile came into town this weekend bearing gifts! eric was happy to receive his new ugly doll, even if the nurses were all a little perplexed as to what an ugly doll was and why on earth anyone would want to buy one. but we don’t care what they think, since eric and the ugly doll got along quite famously and found themselves in long, heated discussion about which of them was taller.

day 48: eric and babo discuss who's longer

clearly, the ugly doll has no grounds for his assertion that he is, in fact taller than eric.

day 48: eric's new handcrafted knit cap

in addition to giving him the ugly doll, they also gave him a cap that erin knitted with her very own hands! the nurses were all very impressed that the cap was knit by a nicu rookie, since it can be tough to make the cap snug, but not too snug, and it should also be quite stretchy in all directions to accomodate the various forms that his very malleable head might take on from day to day. there’s a bit bucket of “discards” in the waiting room outside the nicu that have been knitted by volunteers but that haven’t passed the quality control inspection from the nicu staff, but eric’s cap won’t be in it, because it’s about as perfect as you could want it to be. thanks!

day 48: diaper change from pops. I.

there’s nothing special about the fact that i’m changing eric’s diaper, but i couldn’t remember ever providing photographic evidence to dispute any lingering suspicions that i might be trying to shirk diaper changing duties.

day 48: diaper change from pops. II.

it’s a bit more tricky to change his diaper these days, since it is seemingly impossible to not get the velcro on the diaper stuck on the shirt before you get all the cords and lines out of the way.

day 48: diaper change from pops. III.

as i change his diaper, it strikes me that as odd to think that some day we’ll actually change his diaper and not have to worry about pulling out IV or feeding lines or detaching sensors.

day 48: diaper change from pops. IV.

it occured to me that i’ve only casually mentioned his intravenous feeding and having discussed at greater length a very important element of how well eric is doing.

day 48: total parenteral nutrition.

so it’s time for a short course in parenteral nutrition, where parenteral refers to food that enters the body through a blood vessel. in what is known as total parenteral nutrition, all of the essentials ( carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals ) are delivered directly through an IV line in one of eric’s veins.

day 48: lipids

despite all the active research that has gone into parenteral nutrition and fact that it’s probably one of the greatest reasons that eric has been able to keep growing despite suffering from pneumonia, i can’t help but feel that the bag of fluids look suspiciously like gatorade and the the syringe surely must be filled with lard and not some state of the art blend of short chain lipids as they claim.

day 48: another feeding

day 48: eric's 16th transfusion

eric received three more transfusions today which brings him to a grand total of 17 thus far. he needed the transfusions because he still has a hard time making new blood as quickly as he breaks it down and they’re talking a lot of samples out to keep close track his immune blood counts while he has pneumonia. we were told today by nurse jan that, if things went as they expected, today’s transfusions would be the last he’s likely to receive during his stay in the nicu!

day 48: checking his lungs

eric’s lungs are sounding so good that it’s not really clear whether they’d still would say that he has pneumonia. in other words, he might just be fully recovered!

day 48: pooh borrows the cap

it’s interesting to note that while we were free to explore giving “directed donations” ( where we give the blood that eric would receive ), we didn’t because it apparently takes so long to process and screen the donations that they often get the donations back after they are no longer needed. also, the screening criteria for neonatal donations is so rigorous ( i.e. can’t have any antibodies for many common ailments ) that it’s often difficult for the parents to pass the screening test. so while the staff would never prevent us from giving blood, they’ve always strongly hinted that it’s easier, safer and faster to just get transfusion from their trusted pool of special neonatal donors.

day 48: ending the day with a little 'roo

because they have to monitor his blood pressure and other vitals closely during the transfusion, there’s no kangaroo care to be had during the process. of course, kris wasn’t going to let let three transfusions get in the way of lots of kangaroo care, so she simply had to time the sessions differently than normal. speaking of timing, while you might think that we can just waltz into the nicu and do the ‘roo, in addition to having to work around the transfusions, we also have to be aware of the nurses rounds which occur every two hours. and it’s also nice to get the kangaroo care in while he’s on the nasal cannula as the cpap mask can have a hard maintaining a good fit while he’s doing the ‘roo. so there’s quite a few “knowns” that we have to deal with in addition to the usual array of “unknowns”, such as getting kicked out abruptly in the evening, just after kris had settled in with eric, to prepare for two new admits.