Tag Archives: retinopathy of prematurity

the eric update – day 1464: the long arm of prematurity reaches out and sucker punches us.

day 1464: the long arm of prematurity reaches out and sucker punches us.

it was a sunny, beautiful morning and odin came into the bedroom.

"poppi, i see spots. i think i’m getting sick."

and so, that’s how an otherwise normal day started. at first i thought he might be playing a game, but he was pretty specific and consistent with the details about the spots in terms of size and color and number.

i suddenly found myself attempting to not freak out as i recalled that the sudden appearance of floaters could be sign of retina detaching and, of course, most of you know he’s at a higher risk for retinal detachment thanks to his history of retinopathy of prematurity.

so, after debating whether or not we were being alarmist, we scheduled an emergency eye exam and i found myself having a surreal lunch with co-workers about the odds of odin having a detached retina.

a few short hours later and we’re in the doctor’s office and odin is going through the pupil dilation routine and time is slowing down to a halt. dilation drops go in both eyes. and left eye checks out fine. right eye didn’t dilate properly. doc thinks the nurse didn’t put drops in, but i’m sure she did.

something feels wrong.

the doc looks into odin’s right eye after putting more drops in and waiting 10 more minutes, pauses, covers his odin’s left eye and asks him to identify the shape on the wall.

"i can’t see it," odin responded.

time is slowing down more. odin is smiling, happy to be sitting in the cool eye doctor chair as i hear the doc say, "we have a problem," followed by phrases strung together loosely.

"detached retina"

"essentially no vision in the right eye"

"emergency surgery at the mayo clinic".

we won’t know much about prognosis or probable outcomes until he gets evaluated by the experts. we expect that we’ll hear bright and early tomorrow from the mayo about when he’ll go in for evaluation and surgery.

needless to say, coming less than 2 weeks away from his fourth birthday, we’re feeling a little sucker-punched.

it’s been almost 1,400 days since rop surgery and i was really starting to hold out hope that we had finally escaped its grasp.

the eric update – day 86: photo op! unexpected rop exam. upper GI. more surgery? longer stay?

day 86: photo op. I.

one of eric’s neonatologists from his old nicu stopped by today. she does research at the new nicu and after talking for a bit about how he was doing, she asked us if we’d allow her to have some pictures taken for a publication that they are putting together about the ROP research that she’s doing with eric’s opthamologist, dr. droste. of course, we were happy to have them take some pictures of little odin, on the condition that i could take a picture of them taking a picture of him.

day 86: photo op. II.

the man in the photos is dr. droste, who performed eric’s rop surgery and the woman in the lab coat is dr. poortenga. we like her a lot, since her quick actions helped to unstrangulate his strangulated hernia on day 35. had she not been successful eric would have been transferred to the new nicu much sooner for emergency surgery. she’s very nice and is one one of the many people that we were not able to get a picture with before leaving the old nicu, due to the quickness of the transfer – so it’s nice turn of events to finally get the picture afterall.

day 86: photo op. III.

during the photo-op, dr. droste took a moment to perform a follow up exam for his recent rop surgery. the good doctor still thinks eric looks “good”, but believes he has a 50% chance of needing further surgeries ( which is a higher estimate that he provided immediately after the surgery). he also clarified that kids with disease similar to eric have a 20% chance of developing more severe ROP, an 80% chance of ending up with 20/100 vision or better and a 60% chance of having 20/50 eyesight or better. so, there’s a good chance that he’ll need some sort of eyeglasses in the future, but that was probably going to happen anyway, since nearsightedness runs in the family.

day 86: upper GI exam. I.

after the photo-op, we went on what eric’s nurse called a “field trip” for his upper GI exam. and what a field trip is was! i think i might have left the mistaken impression that we were overly concerned about the radioactivity of the barium during the exam. i guess it was poor wording on my part, since kris and i have both had upper GIs and know that while it’s not a risky exam, we know that it’s not exactly a walk in the park either and all things being equal we’d have preferred to not have to have him wheeled to a far corner of a hospital, strapped to a board and rotated around while drinking a barium milkshake. but that’s just us being worry wart parents, because eric simply couldn’t have cared less. he took it all in stride and, amazingly, didn’t cry once. he just looked around and calmly took it all in. i guess in the world of a micropreemie, it’s just another day in the nicu.

day 86: upper GI exam. II.

the exam room is small, but it’s filled with lots of equipment, including a large x-ray machine.

day 86: upper GI exam. III.

little odin is quickly place on a board that will allow the technical staff to rotate him 180 degrees to get a variety of views of the radioactive barium flowing through his digestive tract during the upper GI test.

day 86: upper GI exam. IV.

eric is strapped to the board to prevent him from falling off during the procedure.

day 86: upper GI exam. V.

kris conforts eric right before the upper GI exam begins.

day 86: upper GI exam. VI.

during the exam, they carefully rotate him while feeding him radioactive barium to get front and side views of his gastrointestinal tract while he’s feeding.

day 86: upper GI exam. VII.

two techs, jeff and jeff, look at the x-ray movie as the food moves down his esophagus, into his stomach and enters his small intestine.

day 86: upper GI exam. VIII.

kris comforts eric after we believe the procedure is finished.

day 86: upper GI exam. IX.

eric’s hungry, since they skipped his 12 a.m. feeding before the procedure, so kris gives him a bottle which he gulps down.

day 86: upper GI exam. X.

d’oh! right after kris gave eric his bottle we discover that they want to get a few more images to help them clarify an abnormality that they found in the initial test.

day 86: upper GI exam. XI.

jeff looks on as he completes a second set of scans. he’s looking at the narrowing in eric’s esophagus, which – if you look carefully – you can see on the monitor. eventually he determines that the narrowing is simply a “tertiary contraction” which happens when his esophagus contracts in an uncoordinated manner that’s not uncommon in micropreemies and not – thankfully – a physical obstruction caused by abnormal vasculature.

day 86: upper GI exam. XII.

eric’s nurse gave him a “rubber ducky” for doing so well doing the procedure. after we return to the nicu, the duck looks on while eric sleeps since he’s very, very tired from such an exciting adventure.

unfortunately, they discovered that eric is refluxing almost as soon the milk hits his stomach, which is not good. the preliminary assessment is that he has an undiagnosed hiatal hernia, which happens when the stomach prolapses through the diaphragm. although it’s a relatively small hernia, it could still be the cause of why eric is refluxing so quickly. we don’t know much at this point and will have to wait until tommorrow when the pediatric surgeons get a chance to review the results of the upper GI. why would the pediatric surgeons be reviewing the upper GI? because the neonatologist’s hunch is that eric should have the hiatal hernia repaired and is also a candidate for a surgical procedure known as “nissen fundoplication” which strengthens the stomach valve. it’s hard to imagine that a little over a week ago, we were close to going home with eric and now it appears that we’ll need to make some quick decisions about an ever expanding list of surgical options.

day 86: upper GI exam. XIII.

while it seems reasonable to contemplate repairing the hiatal hernia, we were a bit surprised to hear that they also thought he might benefit from the nissen procedure, since my understanding is that it’s done as a last resort. perhaps they’d just like to do it if they already have to have him in the operating room. in any case, we’ll know more tomorrow after talking with the surgeons.

unfortunately, if he does need surgery, unlike the inguinal hernia surgery, they don’t often perform it on babies that weigh less than 2,500 grams, which means – under optimal conditions, we could be faced with another 10-20 days in the nicu, just waiting for him to gain enough weight for the surgery. and if he starts having problems gaining weight due to the reflux, then it could even longer.

temporarily abandoning the rollercoaster cliche’ in favor of the marathon metaphor – while things might look quite a bit different tomorrow after we talk with the pediatric surgeons, it’s hard not to feel like the finish line keeps moving farther and farther away.

the eric update – day 84: more recovery. impending hernia surgery? 12 week birthday!

day 84: ever so slowly recovering.

eric seems to be slowly getting better, due in part to his new meds to control his reflux. he’s almost completely stopped having milk coming out of his nose and mouth, although we can still see him pursing his lips and making a motion with his mouth that looks like he’s chewing; both actions are signs that he still has fluid coming up, but it’s a lot less forceful. thankfully, the number of alarms have also gone down and he’s gone from having 10 to 20 apnea alarms a day to just one!

he’s still showing signs of being overstimulated in his new environment. we expect him to return to “normal” in a day or two or three, but at the moment he’s still showing signs of being stressed. if you look close, you can see that his cheek looks “mottled” which is a subtle sign that he’s getting too much sensory stimulation.

so, even though everyone is watching eric closely for signs of an infection, it looks like things are returning to normal and with a little luck, he’ll be back to his old self, just in time for his hernia surgery. we’ve been told that he’ll definitely be having the surgery this week, but we won’t know on which day he’ll being having the surgery until the schedule is prepared on the prior day. in a way, i’m glad that we’ve had the chance to get a quick peek into how he recovers from surgery; while the hernia surgery is generally considered to be routine and relatively painless on the wee ones, it’s usually more disruptive than rop surgery, as he’ll be getting intubated and during the surgery, doctors will need to make two small incisions, which probably won’t feel too good after he wakes up.

day 84: supersized paci and goopy eyes

eric enjoys the supersized paci while he attempts to open his eyes which are “goopy” from an antibiotic ointment which is applied every 12 hours to prevent infection after his ROP surgery.

day 84: the nine o'clock "meanies"

it’s nine o’ clock which means that it’s time for the nurse to give him his meds, take some measurements and listen to his stomach and lungs with a stethascope. it’s a moment that captures just how closely they still monitor him and there’s a lot to be noticed in the pictre. the tape measure was used to measure his head circumference, length and belly width ( a bigger belly can be a sign that he’s getting a gut infection ). the red syringes in the upper left corner contain his meds to help control his reflux. the nurse is listening to his stomach to make sure it sounds like he’s digesting his food well. the sensors on his body are monitoring his heartrate, respiration and blood oxygen levels. and kris is keeping the pacifier in his mouth, which not only helps to keep him calm, but also prevents him from refluxing his food.

if you look closely you can see him eyeing his nurse warily.

day 84: eric's 12 week or third lunar birthday

with all the excitement, it’s almost easy to forget that it’s eric’s 12 week or third lunar birthday! it’s hard to believe how much has happened in the past 28 days and with any luck, we won’t have to celebrate too many more of these weekly birthdays in the nicu.

the eric update – day 81: puzzling puzzle pieces

day 81: resting somewhat comfortably. I.

it’s over 24 hours after ROP surgery and he’s looking better as his eye swelling has gone down. but whether or not he’s actually feeling better is something else entirely. he’s not eating well and he’s not keeping down what he does eat. he could just be feeling crappy after his surgery or something worse could be going on. we’ll hopefully know more over the next 48 hours.

he, himself once told us that practicing neonatology is like putting together a puzzle that has pieces that can be put together in several different ways – all of which might look right, but only one of which feels right. right now, we’re having a tough time finding the way to put the pieces together in a way that looks and feels right, while simultaneously dealing with his new staff who don’t have the benefit of having seen him every single day for the past 11 weeks.

he’s continued his weight gains, after putting on 2 ounces a few days ago. he’s gained over 100 grams since his surgery alone and is now tipping the scales at a whopping 2180 grams or 4 pounds 13 ounces. as i’ve said before rapid weight gain is something you don’t often want to see in micropreemies. his white blood count differentials are different than we’re used to seeing at saint mary’s ( slightly higher white blood count, and a slight increase in his bands ), but not enough to raise any immediate red flags. after a few days of having his plummeting platelets start to rise back to safe levels, they’re dropping again for no apparent reason. he’s starting to throw a few apneas after weeks of nary an alarm.

day 81: resting somewhat comfortably. II.

and perhaps most disturbingly, after weeks of being a great feeder, he’s having problems taking a bottle. everyone expected eric to be back on full bottle feeds at this point, but he’s still being fed via an intravenous line and having a difficult time drinking even 20 cc’s of milk. and even if he does drink from the bottle, he’ll eventually puke it back up. mind you, it’s not the “normal” micropreemie refluxing that we’ve seen from time to time, but actual somewhat forceful puking.

every single one of the puzzle pieces can be used to put together a picture that looks benign and his new caregivers aren’t particularly concerned about his overall health. his weight gain can simply be seen as a few days of gains on the high end of what they’d like to see. all of the changes in his lab results could simply be due to the fact that they’re being done in a different lab. he could still be tired from the surgery, and forgetting to breath a few times is not too unusual. and maybe, just maybe, he really does just have an upset stomach for no reason other than the fact that he feels like crap after surgery.

but we’ve learned to not take one single thing for granted and we’ll be watching him quite closely over the next few days.

the eric update – day 80: ROP surgery

day 80: rop surgery. I.

little odin is relaxing before his ROP surgery. he’s had an intravenous line inserted into his arm which will allow his caregivers to give him fluids and the drugs which will put him into a state known as “conscious sedation”.

day 80: rop surgery. II.

nurse maureen is applying the drops that will dilate his pupils. while he tolerates the first application of the drops quite well, he lets everyone know after the third round of drops that he’s had enough.

day 80: rop surgery. III.

it’s 4 p.m. eastern time u.s.a. which means that it’s time for him to get rolled down the hall to the surgical room.

day 80: rop surgery. IV.

they’re prepping him for surgery by simultaneously removing his clothes, attaching a blood pressure cuff and injecting him with ketamine and versed which are the drugs that will hopefully keep him calm during the procedure.

day 80: rop surgery. V.

while it’s nice that the ketamine and versed allow him to have the procedure without being “intubated” and put on a ventilator, he’ll be so relaxed that he’ll forget to breath, so they’re watching his vitals closely. they warn me that he’ll have a few “deep” apneas ( forgetting to breath ) and they’ll have to revive him via a “bag” ventilator.

day 80: rop surgery. VI.

in case you were wondering, they do in fact keep all the laser equipment in a craftsman toolbox.

day 80: rop surgery. VII.

the drugs are doing their thing and he’s falling fast, fast asleep. i can’t help but wonder how many micropreemies fall fast asleep and never wake up.

day 80: rop surgery. IX.

yes. when you’re waiting around for the opthamologist to finish a phone call, you might find yourself passing the time with the nurses by placing “laser goggles” on your son while he’s sedated.

hey – you find levity where you can, trust me.

soon after this picture was shot, they started the procedure and kicked me out. much to my surprise, the doctor called me back in before he was finished so i could watch the final “burns”.

he told me several times that he had never, ever invited anyone in to watch him work so i think it was quite a privilege. i didn’t get any pictures because i had to wear “laser goggles”, but it was fascinating to watch him work. years ago i used to do delicate surgical work on fruit fry larvae ( maggots!) under a microscope, so i have an appreciation for how tight the “tolerances” can be and i was grateful that dr. droste broke his personal rule and allowed me to watch him work.

day 80: rop surgery. X.

as well as anyone can tell, eric made it through the ROP surgery relatively well. he had a few deep, apneas which is a known side effect of the drugs given to him to induce conscious sedation. they warned us ahead of time, but you never get used to seeing your son turn a deep color blue as you dig your fingers into wall while they seconds tick by. i’d like to say that he’ll never have to have ROP surgery again and that he’ll forever escape any permanent damage, but we won’t have any good answers those questions for about a week.

i waited until two hours post-op to snap the picture because i think it might have been a bit too much to bear for people to see just how puffy his eyes were immediately after the procedure. he also had a severe bout of apnea at about an hour post-op so i wanted to give him plenty of time to recover after turning a deep blue color. in this picture, he’s bright red and quite flushed, which is a side effect of the ketamine.

the doctor had to make about 1,500 “burns” in each eye, but he admonished me to not focus ( no pun intended ) on the absolute number of burns, but rather to note the overall “take rate” which indicates how many of the burns were effective. he likes to have a take rate above 90% and unfortunately, he said that eric was more “challenging” than he had anticipated and thought that he had a take rate closer to 80%. the lower take rate was due to the fact that eric’s lenses are cloudy because of a normal developmental process that should resolve itself in a few weeks; the cloudiness makes it difficult for the laser to make effective burns. he was able to get the take rate that he got only after turning up the power of the laser, but he can only turn the power up so far before risking collateral retinal damage.

day 80: rop surgery. XI.

he noted that the disease had progressed since even yesterday and the plus disease ( the really dangerous part ) was a little more moderate that he liked to see and that there was still a 30% chance that he’d need additional surgery. but he didn’t think eric would have any problems recovering quickly and said the he could have the hernia surgery tommorrow for all he cared ( each time he talks with us, he changes his story about how long it’ll take to recover, so i’m guessing he’s doing his version of managing our expectations ). so it looks like we’ll be moving quickly on to learning all about hernia surgery and back on schedule for a release.

many, many thanks to everyone who showed their support in whatever way made sense to them. rop surgery is relatively routine as far as nicu surgeries go, but new intravenous lines, dilation drops, “conscious sedation” drugs and high-powered lasers all provide many opportunities for things to go wrong. certainly versed is nothing to fool around with and having used ketamine in the past to put rats under before i removed their hearts ( don’t ask ) i know how, er, challenging it can be to dose correctly. small changes in body fat and metabolism can radically alter how long it lasts and we’d often have rats waking up in the middle of the operation. in fact, the doctor implied how difficult it is to dose accurately by stating that he gets done when the kids starts to move. in any case, it means a lot for us to see so many people in his cheering section.

in the photo, it’s about 4 hours post-op and he’s just started to stir as the drugs wear off. of course, mama is close by, ready to console him.

the eric update – day 79: ROP, apparently very, very real.

day 79: nestled in his blanket

due to the facts that the new nicu is a little cooler than the old one and eric doesn’t have that much baby fat, little odin needs a lot of help keeping warm, so we decided to bring in a blanket that he received as a baby shower gift. it’s quite big, but it does a great job of keeping his temperature at acceptable levels. but of course, how well he maintained his temperature was the least of our concerns today.

day 79: ROP assessment.  I.

right before his ROP assessment, kris talked to him and explained what was about to happen.

it’s hard to tell in the photo, but the opthamologist had called ahead and they’ve put drops in his eyes which dilate his pupils and make him very sensitive to light. defying expectations, he didn’t seem too bothered by the drops.

day79: ROP assessment. II.

soon after his quality time with mama – his opthamologist, dr. droste, examined his eyes by placing a magnifying glass over each eye and looking into them. although we held out a small amount of hope that his condition was apparent, but not real, the good doctor concluded after a few minutes that the disease was progressing quite quickly and he’d need surgery soon to prevent complications such as blindness. eric now has stage 3 ROP with plus disease in all “twelve hours” of zone 2 in both eyes. my understanding is that the severity of the “plus disease” is necessitating the fast action. plain vanilla stage 3 ROP doesn’t always require immediate surgery, but when the blood vessels become engorged or abnormally dilated it’s best to act quickly to prevent permanent damage.

tomorrow, the doctor will put a laser on his head and tap a button on the floor which will ablate ( or in opthamologist lingo, “burn” ) over 1,200 overgrown and abnormally tortuous blood vessels in each of his retinas. amazingly, the whole process is expected to take about an hour. despite the advanced stage of the disease, the doctor thought that eric had a good chance of escaping any permanent damage.

day 79: ROP assessment. III.

perhaps due to the lingering effects of the drops that dilate his pupils, eric is convering his eyes and looking like he’s pondering his new predicament, as he musters the energy to cleanly clear his latest hurdle.

in an oddly calming tone, the opthamologist said that they needed to do the surgery soon because even in just a few days they’d be “playing catch up”, which is certainly not something you want to be doing when the stakes are eyesight. it’s interesting to note that stevie wonder was born premature and went blind from the same disease, but much progress has been made in how to treat the disease since stevie lost his sight.

the good news is that they caught the condition so quickly. although his opthamologist said he had seen similar cases where the disease progressed so quickly, he professed that, “it didn’t happen very often.” and the really good news is that there must have been a miscommunication the other day because he expects eric to recover quickly and the ROP surgery shouldn’t significantly delay his release date! there’s a good chance that he’ll need additional surgeries, but he doesn’t need to stay in the hospital for monitoring.

if everything goes as planned, after a few days of recovery from the eye surgery, they are going to take advantage of the fact that he’s already where he needs to be and schedule surgery for his hernia. hernia surgery is relatively routine ( although i know one reader in particular who could speak at length at how things can get un-routine pretty quickly ) and it also is not expected to significantly delay his release. so, if we can make it though a surgery or two unscathed, we’ll be back on track for an early release, if not quite as early as we originally planned.

if you’re so inclined, think good thoughts or say a prayer for us around wednesday at 4 p.m. (eastern time, u.s.a.), as we hope that dr. droste hasn’t decided to have one too many cups of coffee.

the eric update – day 78: saying goodbye. and hello. postcards?

since i have absolutely no free time, i’m going to try something new and only put a placeholder entry here. perhaps i’ll get a chance to put a more detailed account here later. or perhaps not. but for now, i’m just going to give the bullet points there are more important things to attend to.

i apologize to everyone who called yesterday who didn’t get a call back. obviously, cell phone time is short and i’m basically in “triage” mode and only returning emergency calls. after a whole bunch of voicemails it became apparent that there was some confusion about eric’s eye surgery. he was being transferred today ( monday ) and will have an assessment on tuesday. if he moves from being “prethreshold” to “threshold” then he’ll need surgery within 72 hours. the quick move was made because the expectation is that he’ll move quickly into threshold land and everyone wants to be prepared for that event. we don’t know exactly when he’ll have the surgery in the event that it’s required and i won’t have that answer until later tommorrow.

day 78: little feat

as eric gets close to transfer, the nurses get the proper paperwork in order. amidst the release forms i discovered an identification form that has his footprints that were inked on his first night in the nicu.

they sure were small. about as small as nickel.

day 78: leaving bed four

eric made great leaps and bounds while staying in “bed 4” in the nicu, which seemed like a perfect number since he’s eric “the fourth” born on the fourth of july.

we would later discover that he would be sitting in bed 4 at the new nicu, which makes us think that “4” just might be his lucky number.

day 78: reading the numbers

according to the rules that one must follow when tranferring a baby from one nicu to another, the nurses must corroborate that he is, in fact, who they think he is and read match the identification number on his nicu ID bracelet with the number on the transfer papers.

i’m foiling their best efforts to match the ID numbers by telling jokes and they’re laughing heartily.

day 78: saying goodbye to nurse nancy.

nurse nancy is superfantastic and she spent much of the day trying, unsuccessfully i might add, not to cry. eventually i was able to capture her with her “happy face” on.

nurse nancy was eric’s nurse for many of his “big steps” including being transferred to the isolette and the open, unheated bed and his first bottle feeding, so she’s very, very attached to eric.

day 78: saying goodbye to he, himself.

this is charles, “charlie” winslow – eric’s neonatologist. he’s the reason why eric is alive and words can’t really describe how highly we think of him.

he’s a nice guy, a great communicator and rides a bike to work.

day 78: nicu transport. I.

after the transport team arrives from the new nicu they quickly put eric in the transport “crash cart”. the whole process only takes a few minutes.

his “saint mary’s” nurses are standing around looking sad and i wish there was more time to say goodbye.

day 78: nicu transport. II.

little odin is resting comfortably in the crash cart, oblivious to the fact that he’s, ever so briefly, about to see the outside world for the first time.

day 78: nicu transport. III.

part of the transport team from the new nicu is talking with kris and nurse cathy b. the man on the left is the ambulance driver. the woman standing next to him is a neonatal nurse practitioner who is chatting with kris and nurse cathy b.

day 78: nicu transport. IV.

more people from the transport team. the man on the left is a respiratory specialist and the woman on the right is a registered nurse.

they’re amiable and do a great job making us feel relaxed. somehow, during the quick process of getting odin prepped for tranfer i find myself talking with the respiratory specialist about digital cameras. go figure.

day 78: nicu transport. V.

and they’re off!

little odin gets wheeled out of the nicu on his way to the elevator and the waiting ambulance.

day 78: at the new nicu. I.

we weren’t able to ride in the ambulance with odin, so we arrived shortly after he was put in his new bed.

he seems to be welcoming us with a hand wave as if to introduce us to his new surrounds.

day 78: at the new nicu. II.

of course it’s not long before he’s resting comfortably on mama’s chest.

day 78: at the new nicu. III.

in one of the many differences between the two nicus, eric gets weighed before and after nursing in an effort to more accurately determine how much milk he’s ingested. in theory, the practice should help us to make sure that he’s received enough nutrition, but the scale claims that eric has lost two grams after breastfeeding. so much for accuracy.

oh. i guess i should note that eric is gaining weight so fast that it’s almost starting to freak me out. he tipped the scales at at 4 pounds 9 ounces or about 2075 grams. that’s right – he gained 2 ounces over the last 24 hours and over 5 ounces in the past 48. while everyone is suitably impressed, it’s not good to put that much weight on that quickly, so my guess is that they might reduce the amount of fortifier in his breastmilk soon.

day 78: at the new nicu. IV.

eric’ new bed is stainless steel and the temperature of nicu is a lot cooler than we’re used to which help to add to a sterile, antiseptic feeling.
the new nicu is quite different from the old in many, many ways. while “saints” was small, at 15 beds, little odin’s new home is enormous, with over 100 beds. it also gets a lot of sick babies that are transferred from many different places so it has a much different feel. it’s odd to be thrust into the new environment, trying to adjust quickly to the new rules, while walking around and seeing so many babies with shaved heads and drainage bags, presumably alleviating pressure after brain surgery. the nicu is cooler, literally and figuratively and is much more antiseptically clinical. in a weird way, it also feels like we’ve transferred from the ‘jewel in the rough’, small, personal liberal arts school to the large, top tier, big 10 school. the veneer looks more impressive, but it also seems like it could be quite easy to get lost in the shuffle. time will tell.

uh. so, it looks like i’m incapable of writing a ‘placeholder’ entry.

day 78: at the new nicu. V.

despite all the changes, eric continues to chug his botttle feedings while continuing to look very relaxed.

because the new nicu is kept at a cooler temperature, it’s more important to keep a knit cap on his head and cover him in blankets.

many people have asked me about where they can send postcards. it seems that little odin’s quick transfer has revealed all the procrastinators in the crowd 🙂 for now, if you’ve sent a card that’s already in the mail, i’m sure the staff at saint mary’s will keep it until i can find time to come and pick it up ( in fact, i think they were happy to hear that i’d be back to pick up postcards which would give them an opportunity to hear about eric’s progress ). i don’t know the new nicu’s policy , so i can’t say whether or not people will be able to send stuff there ( i’ll find out more today or tommorrow ). i’m not ready to post my home address on the internet ( i’m not really sure why, since it’s quite easy to sleuth it on the the internet. ), but i’ll probably come up with a solution sooner rather than later. as always, thanks so much to everyone who has sent us or plans to send us a card ( or more! ).

the endless kindness of strangers ( and friends and family, of course ) never ceases to amaze me.