Tag Archives: head

the eric update – day 63: nine weeks! still no ROP ( yet ). postcards.

day 63:  nine weeks old!

yes, indeed, today was eric’s nine week birthday and by almost all measures it was a fairly quiet day. he’s slowed down on his weight gains and was only up 5 grams over his weight yesterday. the neonatologist has noticed he’s not adding weight as quickly and has therefore once again supplemented his breastmilk with fortifier, which adds 4 calories per ounce without adding any substantial volume. those 4 calories make a big difference, so we should probably see eric start to put on weight again in the coming days.

day 63:  hand on hairy head.

regular readers might remember that eric was due for another exam to determine if he is developing an eye condition known as retinopathy of prematurity. i’m happy to report that there is still no evidence of ROP, which is fastastic news! eric’s eye doctor said after his last test that not only was eric not out of the woods – he wasn’t even in the woods yet. i think now he can be said to be standing on the edge of the forest and he’ll still be at high risk for developing ROP over the next three to four weeks. it’s a great sign that he hasn’t shown any signs yet, but we still have a few more tests to go before we can confidently state that he won’t develop some manifestation of ROP.

we missed the eye doctor during the exam and had to decipher his handwritten notes after he left. somewhat disturbingly, he indicated that there was cloudiness in eric’s ocular fluid in both eyes, but none of the staff could say if this was something to be concerned about or if it was a normal developmental stage that would diminish over time. nobody seemed overly concerned with the note, so we’ll remain calm until we’ve had a chance to clarify the issue with the specialist.

and yes – we’re still getting postcards!

the eric update – day 58: weight gain. positive negatives and milestones. postcards!

day 58: snug as a bug.

after staying not gaining weight for almost a week after coming off the vent, eric seems to have started adding on a modest amount of weight each day, which is great. tonight’s weight-in put him at 1535 grams or 3 pounds 6.1 ounces and he’s on 14 cc’s of breastmilk every hours. last night they started to double his daily increases in breastmilk from 1 cc to two cc’s, by adding a cc in the morning and, if he tolerates the increase, they’ll add a second cc in the evening. so, late this evening, he’ll get another increase to 15 cc’s. since he only needs to be on about 20 cc’s every two hours to be considered to be on “full feeds”, i think it shouldn’t be too long before he’s off the intravenous drip entirely, which is great news since the IV line is a great entry point for all manner of infectious agents that we’d like to keep far, far away from eric.

and there’s good news regarding eric’s direct hyperbillirubemia; the sonogram of eric’s liver came back negative for any serious structural defects or major blockages and the first round of liver function tests also came back negative. this means that most of the really bad things that could be causing the condition can be safely ruled out ( well, really only about as ruled out as you can rule out something with a negative result on a micropreemie. remember, the small sample sizes can sometimes give you false negatives. ). given the lack of positive results ( in this case, positive is actually a negative ), the prevailing educated guess is that the condition is “merely” due to changes that occur when you switch back and forth between intravenous feeds and breastmilk, and it should resolve itself after eric goes back on full feeds, which will hopefully be very soon.

day 58: eric's preemie calendar

today, our neighbor who has 2-year-old triplets who were born preterm, gave us a “preemie calendar” which has a sheet of stickers that you’re supposed to put on the days on which certain milestones are reached.

kris and i laughed at some of the ones that we’re still anxously awaiting, such as “Moves to Isolette!”, “Saw Your Face Without Tape on It!” and “Off Oxygen!” ( you’ll probably have to view the large sized image to actually be able to read the stickers ). i’m not sure how i would have reacted two and half months ago had anyone told me that i’d be patiently awaiting for the day i’d see my son’s face without a single bit of tape. but, i guess you’ve got to celebrate the milestone’s you have, not the ones you thought you were going to have. or something like that.

in case you were wondering, the postcards are still coming in! i know i’m probably redundantly repeating myself, but i really, truly am appreciate of every single postcard and i can’t wait until eric is old enough to understand what it all means.

the eric update – day 49: eric’s 7 week birthday!

day 49: 7 week birthday kangaroo care

let’s all give odin a little birthday cheer, as it’s his 7 week birthday today! he gained a few grams and is now solidly in the 3 pound category at 3 pounds and 3.5 ounces. he also added a half a centimeter and is 38.7 centimeters or 15.25 inches, which means he’s added 3.25 inches to his length in the past seven weeks! woohoo! he’s rapidly being weened from the cpap and is on 6 hours of nasal cannula and 4 hours of cpap. since he’s doing so well breathing on his own, i suspect that within the next few days they’ll see if eric can go 25 hours on the nasal cannula. despite having to do more breathing on his own than ever, he’s throwing very few alarms; he only seems to alarm when the nurses are doing their “meanies” or when he’s put his head in a position that’s not conducive to breathing. his breastmilk feeds stayed the same as yesterday, as they’re pulling up more undigested food than they’d like to see, so they’re going to back off a bit on increasing the amount of milk that he’s receiving. you might remember that anytime digestion slows and milk starts hanging around, there’s an increased risk for a gut infection, so they’re just going to take things slow.

day 49: ouch!

the nasal cannula needs to be taped on his face to reduce the chance that he’ll pull it out and the process of repeatedly removing the tape when he goes back on cpap has made his skin a little raw. tonight, he even has a tiny bit of flesh pull away, which he obviously didn’t care for at all; nurse peggy put little pieces of what’s known as comfeel on his face to prevent it from happening again because open, irritated sores are not a good thing when you’re enduring a prolonged stay in the nicu.

day 49: pacified. I.

eric’s getting much better at coordinating his sucking and breathing; a mere week ago, he’d alarm when a pacifier was in his mouth for more than 15 or 20 seconds, but now he can keep the pacifier in as long as he’d like. since he’s doing so well, nurse peggy said that it’s a good time to introduce a pacifier during his breastmilk feedings so he can begin to associate sucking with feeling of food in his stomach. this is but the first step in a long process of getting his used to having to coordinate the sucking, swallowing and breathing that must occur for real breastfeeding, so it’s a big step.

day 49: pacified. II.

sometimes he has trouble keeping the pacifier in his mouth with the tubes in the way, so peggy has “illegally modified” the paci by notching it so that the tubes can stay where they need to stay and he can more easily keep it in his mouth. nurse peggy is thoughtful like that.

day 49: longhair

eric’s hair is getting so long that it’s growing over his ears!

the eric update – day 45: off the vent! kangaroo care! first shirt! doubled weight!

day 45: the transfer

wowza. so many good things happened today that it’s going to be hard to summarize them into an easy to digest nugget. after eleven long days on the ventilator we were quite surprised ( as were many of the nurses ) that the neonatologists decided that eric was ready to be free of the vent. apparently his right lung looked much better than anticipated after this morning’s x-ray and the doctor’s decided that he was recovered enough from pneumonia to give the cpap a try. woohoo! and you know what that means – we can hold him again! here, nurse peggy is handing him off to kris for a little kangaroo care.

day 45: at long last!  a little 'roo time with mama.

despite getting the great news that he was back on cpap and therefore able to be held, everyone thought that he would only be able to stand small amounts of kangaroo care. nurse peggy watched his stats carefully after the transfer for 5 minutes. then 10. then 15. and 20. until she finally decided that eric was doing better off the vent than on. he did spectacularly for an hour, with not a single alarm, and he was only put back in the radiant warming bed when kris decided that she had to go pump breastmilk. it was quite and accomplishment as he’s still has pneumonia. his breathing was as stable as you could ever want it, which is impressive because babies can sometimes get lazy after being on vent, as the machine does much of the work for them.

day 45: being held by pops.

after an hour of kangaroo care from mama i was able to hold him “regular style” ( i had no idea that he’d go off the vent today so i didn’t wear clothing appropriate for kangaroo care ) for a half an hour. fun! (

day 45: his first shirt. I.

as if all the great news about him getting off the vent and getting kangaroo care wasn’t enough to absorb for one day, nurse peggy announced that he’d be getting his first shirt!

day 45: his first shirt. II.

it’s a sign that his caregivers think that he’s getting more stable than ever, since it means that they aren’t so preoccupied with having to see how mottled or flushed his skin is at any particular moment. i picked a very stylish blue pinstriped top.

day 45:  doubled his birthweight!

and last, but certainly not least, eric hit a big milestone today by officially doubling his birthweight. he weighed in at 1335 grams or 2 pounds 15.1 ounces!

it’s hard to believe that he only needs to gain about an ounce to hit 3 pounds. it seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the 2 pound milestone. gaining so much weight while fighting pneumonia is an impressive feat.

they grow up so fast!

wow! wow! wow! after eleven days of hardship, it’s really exciting to have to much good news to report.

day 45: measuring his head.

random aside – i realized tonight that i hadn’t got a shot of a ritual that occurs every 3 days – the measuring of eric’s head. since the last measurement, his head grew a half a centimeter and is now 27 centimeters in circumference.