Tag Archives: weighin

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 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 47: 3 pounds! no ROP ( yet )! the return of the nasal cannula!

day 47: 3 pounds! I.

wow! a mere 16 days after hitting 2 pounds, eric weighed in at 1370 grams tonight! or 3 pounds 0.3 ounces! it’s absolutely stupendously amazing that he’s gained a whole pound in such a short time, especially when he’s been so sick.

day 47: 3 pounds! II.

i guess he really does have the snowdeal genes, since putting on weight has never really been a problem for generations of snowdeal men. it’s amazing to see how quickly his appearance is changing on a day-to-day basis with the weight gains.

day 47: plumpy.  I.

eric is also getting 4 cc’s of breastmilk every 2 hours. he has a long way to go to be considered on “full feeds”, as he’d need to be getting about 19 cc’s of milk every two hours before they’ll discontinue his IV completely. still, he’s making great progress and seems to be tolerating the milk quite well.

day 47: plumpy.  II.

and he has a mere 2 days left on his antibiotic regime to treat the pneumonia and suspected sepsis. interestingly, after all the hullaballoo surrounding the sepsis it appears that the gram negative stuff they found in the yeast culture was likely a contaminant. i guess that’s the way it works sometimes.

day 47: back on the nasal cannula. I.

also, the eye doctor came by for his regular ROP checkup and didn’t detect any sign of abnormal blood vessel growth in his retinas. while this is great news, the doctor felt the need to warn us that not only was eric not out of the woods – he wasn’t even in the woods yet! now that’s some smooth bedside manner. he then stated matter of factly that eric’s most vulnerable stage will be between 33 and 39 weeks and that most 24 and 25 weekers will develop stage I or stage II of the condition. so, once again, while we’re extremely happy that his eyes are fairing well, his next few checkups will be the ones that will really give a better idea of if he’ll develop ROP.

day 47: back on the nasal cannula. II.

and just as we suspected, they’ve started testing eric out on the nasal cannula again, with 2 hours of nasal cannula, followed by 6 hours of cpap. and despite my many attempts to miminize the appearance of one of the side effects of the cpap mask, sometimes it’s impossible to hide the conehead that he can get from the tight cpap straps pushing against his very soft head.

he seems to be tolerating the nasal cannula very well and is continuing his streak of remaining alarm free! that’s right – he hasn’t had a single incidence of apnea or bradycardia. it really is hard to believe that he’s showing such great improvements in such a short period of time. i guess it’s hard to remember that things can get better just as quickly as they can turn for the nurse. such is the way of the nicu.

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.

the eric update – day 41: closed pda? a bigger diaper and growth curves.

day 41: the fuzz keeps growing

eric received his round of indomethacin to treat the recurrence of patent ductus arteriosis, but we won’t have any decisive answers as to whether or not the hole in his heart has closed until monday; there’s only a small number of people who are skilled in doing the diagnostic echocardiogram on micropreemies and, apparently, they don’t work on weekends. it’s actually a good sign that the nicu staff don’t feel the need to call the technicians in for an emergency procedure, since it means that they think that the hole has closed. eric’s blood gasses have improved and his need for supplemental oxygen has decreased to 22-24%, which is almost the same as room air. also, none of the nurses can hear the characteristic “murmur” that they’d expect to hear with pda, so everyone is fairly confident that the hole has closed quickly in response to the medicine. good news!

as for the sepsis, we won’t know anything definitive for quite some time. we’ll probably know tomorrow exactly which bug is causing the problems, but that knowledge won’t change his treatment protocol. as i stated yesterday, eric will be on antibiotics for a full 15 days in an attempt to beat the bug into submission. however, we learned today that it’s likely that they won’t get rid of it completely and they will probably change tactics after 15 days and move towards a protocol that involves giving him short, sharp bursts of antibiotics. it’s a delicate balance, as giving eric a continuous feed of antibiotics obliterates the good bugs along with the bad; and dampening his natural immune capability increases the chance of eric getting a systemic yeast infection, which is really, really difficult to get rid of and can cause all matter of ugly and unspeakable problems. so for now, all we can go is hope that he continues to respond as well as he has to the current protocol. the good news is that his overall immune system profile is excellent, so we can only hope that it stays that way.

day 41: mama takes over the weigh-in. I.

we haven’t been able to hold eric as he’s been back on the vent while he’s fighting pneumonia, but the nurses cleverly found a way to let kris sneak in a little touch time by letting her put him on the scales for his weigh-in. eric’s nicu nurses are so incredibly thoughtful and considerate that it really is impossible to imagine how to properly convey the gratitude we felt at the kind gesture.

also, we talked with his caregivers for quite some time about how long he’d be on the vent and the possibility that he’d suffer from the negative side effects that are known to accompany the vent, including respiratory distress syndrome. luckily, eric’s vent settings are at the lowest that they can be and, while nobody can predict the future, they don’t think he’ll suffer any adverse consequences from being on the vent.

day 41: mama takes over the weigh-in. II.

eric tipped the scales at 1170 grams which is just over 2 pounds 9 ounces. that’s right he gained just over 3 ounces, despite battling pneumonia and sepsis.

day 41: mama takes over the weigh-in. III.

they say that every baby excels in one area of development and eric seems to be doing great with gaining weight. some of the gain can be attributed to water retension, but i think much of it is real. speaking of weight gain, eric also graduated into a new, bigger diaper! his previous diaper was only appropriate for babies at or under 1200 grams, so he’s crossed quite a milestone.

day 41: a new, bigger diaper!

the new diaper looks amusingly large on him, but with any luck he’ll quickly grow into it.

day 41: growth curves

while we’re on the subject of gaining weight, it’s interesting to note that eric is following the “normal” gestational growth curve as if he were in the 10th percentile. in other words, if he were born today, his weight would be in the 10th percentile of all babies born. not bad for a guy who’s been out of womb for nearly 6 weeks.

the eric update – day 28: eric’s four week birthday!

day 28: new bedding!

maybe i’ll have to stop making “the eric update” if things keep continuing like today. he had the quietest, most serene day he’s had yet today. he’s on 6 hours of the nasal cannula and 2 hours of the CPAP, which means that he’ll probably be off the CPAP soon; his bloody goo is improving and they are suctioning his less often. while he’s alarming at a slightly higher rate than previously ( 10-15 “a’s” and “b’s” a day ), their quality is changing, as they are becoming more “shallow” and he’s beginning to recover from some of them all by himself, so even though the number of alarms are higher, the staff are less concerned about them. and he’s getting more food – 7 cc’s of breastmilk an hour, which leads to the really, really big news; he’s up to 1 pound 13 ounces! i think, barring any downturns, that he’ll hit the 2 pound mark sometime this week, which will be very exciting. it’s staggering to think that he’s gained nearly a half a pound in the last month.

day 28: ho hum.

late in the night, they put him in his new bedding that we received the other day from a stranger and he loves it! his new bedding helps give his that “bundled” feeling which simulates a womb-like environment. the nurses kept commenting on how neat it was that somebody sent us the bedding because micropreems really enjoy it, which makes you wonder why somebody doesn’t mass market the bedding.

day 28: 4 week weigh in.

1 pound, 13 ounces! w00t! in 4 weeks he’s gained 6 ounces.

day 28: contour and mottle

contoured back hair and mottled skin. mottling can be indicative that he’s “sensitized”, which means one should be careful about how much sensory input he recieves ( i.e. talk but don’t touch him or touch but don’t talk ).

day 28: on his stomach.

he’s 4 weeks old. and he likes being on his stomach.

the band-aid on how foot is new. i wonder where that came from.

day 28: alien?

don’t even think that he looks like an alien.

the eric update – day 14: the weigh in

day 14: the weigh in

i haven’t been posting many updates on eric’s weight, because – well – not much interesting happens in the first couple of weeks ( unless he gets sick and loses a bunch of weight ). all his energy in the beginning is spent fixing vital systems and isn’t directed towards weight gain per se. micropreems will typically lose a little ( it’s normal to lose about 10 percent of their birthweight in the first few days ), slowly gain it back over the following two weeks, and then ( hopefully ) go on a weight gain tear.

tonight, he weighed in at 685 grams, which is about 1 pound 8.2 ounces. he was down to 1 pound 6 ounces a few days after his birth, at which point he weighed 1 pound 7 ounces.

so he’s perfectly normal. for a micropreem.

we also learned tonight that, after being taken off breast milk when he went back on the vent, he’s back on regular “feedings” ( technically they aren’t feedings at all, but rather “gut priming” to get the blood flow going in his stomach, but gut priming has a much less appetizing ring to it, so i just call everything a feeding ). he’s on an IV drip of breastmilk at a rate of 1 cc per hour, which is different than the previous feeding protocol known as “gavage” feeding which involves putting a few drops in his endotracheal tube. i think they are being a little more cavalier about the amount that they are giving him because it’s being given through his new “o.j.” tube goes straight to his intestines ( see today’s prior post for more information on his feedings, the “o.j. tube” and how this all might be related to his most recent downturn ).

i’m a little suprised that they would start putting him on 1 cc per hour of milk when they were expressing concern that some of his issues over the past few days might possibly ( or might not, depending on the latest theory ) be related to his feedings, but what do i know. i’m not a doctor. and i don’t even play one on tv.

in any case, if we tolerates his feedings, i’d expect him to start gaining weight quickly over the next few weeks.

oh. and as you can obviously tell from the picture – he clearly doesn’t like to be weighed.