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the eric update - day 24: by the light of the radiant warmer.

eric's making it all look so easy. he's on 6 cc's an hour of breastmilk and they aren't pulling out any undigested fluid from his stomach so his digestive track appears to be working well. i forgot to mention that he's begun pooping on his own. for the first few weeks they had to help out him out by giving what must have been a very small suppository, but i think he's pooping all by himself now. sniff. they grow up so fast. not much change in his "orders" other than they've officially moved him to 4 hours of CPAP and 4 hours of the nasal cannula. and he's in room air with no supplemental 'oooohs' ( oxygen ). at this rate i suspect he'll be on the cannula full-time quite soon, which is yet another great step forward.

i don't get to spend as much time in the nicu these days, but kris is on constant vigil and he had over 4 hours of kangaroo care with her, in addition to my paltry 1.5 hours. prayers and good thoughts, genetics and fantastic nicu care notwithstanding, i think that all the 'roo time is having a trememdous impact on his overall health.

one of the sensory pleasures of the nicu is provided by the heating element that's placed above him in his radiant warming bed. the heating element helps eric keep his body temperature in a normal range and it glows more or less brightly depending on how well eric is bundled and whether or not eric's bed is enclosed in plastic wrap. if you're taking pictures or reading or talking to eric, the heating element really kicks in and it can get uncomfortably hot. you might discover that if you've had no sleep on 20 cups of coffee and nothing but a slice of toast to get you through breakfast lunch and dinner that leaning under the radiant heating element might make you feel a little funny. so you might decide to bide time by taking a "mirror" shot while wondering how many mirror project submissions are from people looking at themselves looking at a radiant warmer. prolly not many.

as you're grasping the bed trying to maintain your stability, what with being baked under the radiant heating element and sweating caffeine, you realize that you've seen this caution message a thousand times while continually pondering what "insensible water loss" means. later, google will provide the answer as it usually does.

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7/28/2004 11:41:00 PM 6 comments


Dang, bro. You've got to start taking better care of yourself. Don't make me come up there and whoop some sense into you. It's not gonna help anyone if you end up passed out on the floor in the NICU from exhaustion. Sleep. Eat. Drink enough water. OR ELSE!
Your big sis

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:26 AM  

Don't you just love big sisters?!?! :-) Well your other big sister says the same. Take care of yourself. The analogy I like to use is the safety demo that they give on airplanes. They explain that when the oxygen masks come down, to help yourself before helping others. Message being that before you can really help anyone else, you have to take care of yourself first.

Although I cannot even begin to fathom what you and Kris are going through, I understand why you may not be taking such good care of yourself. I am sure the last thing that you are thinking of right now is your own needs (a trait that is relatively common in this family). So that's why us big sisters are "lovingly" nag you...or we will be forced to resort to other means of getting you to listen to us.

It is great news to see that Eric IV is doing so well. I agree that the Kangaroo care is playing a large part in Eric IV doing so well. I am thinking of you all every day. All my love, Monica

P.S. Please give my appreciation and admiration to the NICU staff there. It is clear that he is getting excellent care and support. They are special human beings for what they do on a daily basis. I am sure it is not an easy "job" (so hard for me to even think of it as a me it is more an unselfish act of love, kindness and generosity), but we are fortunate that there are gifted people like them to do what they do.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:06 PM  

The sisters said it very well - but your Mom needs to remind you too. As a new Daddy, you will find that you have to take care of yourself in times of crisis so that you can give your loving time to Eric IV (A.K.A. Odin, Wuotan). In my experience, all children - no matter what age - can sense when you are worn out. (Later, that's when he will demand to watch Dukes of Hazzard too late and move into the "battle frenzy"). Eat well, get enough rest and moderate the caffeine we all love (it keeps most of us going when we should quit). You don't want to get sick right now. I'm sure you already know this. But, perhaps the warm lights are reminding you. We are all excited to see Eric's progress! Much love to the 3 of you. Mom

P.S. The picture of Kris - when she was looking exhausted in the NICU - tells a critical part of your saga.Just as your description today did. One can feel her exhaustion from the picture. When you can, include some pictures of the 2 of you, as you make your way through the day as well as the NICU. How do you cope with life outside the NICU? It must be hectic. I would have a hard time focusing on everyday tasks. Perhaps a pic standing beside the coffee maker, first thing in the A.M.? (ho, ho) Or perhaps, on a special evening that the 2 of you decide to take off, to regain energy. When Eric IV grows up and reads about his time as a micro-premie, I'll bet he'll want to see how Mom and Dad were doing too.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:57 PM  

wow. i guess i'll have to be a little more careful when i exaggerate for narrative effect :-) no, i'm not really drinking 20 cups of coffee and i might be eating a little more than a piece of toast before i get to the nicu.

all your points are well taken; and yes, kris and i are quite tired lately, but i think we're managing as well as can be expected. i plan to write a lot more about it in the future, but we're tremendously lucky to have bought the new house that we're sharing with our sister-in-law, her partner and their daughter ( for new visitors who are scratching their heads, we bought a multi-tenant unit house and we occupy two of units and rent out the other two).

so, we're free to not have to worry about many of the little details that most other families going through this ordeal would have to worry about ( laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, meal making etc ). it's a little unfair to them, but they don't complain too much :-)

By Blogger e3, at 11:08 PM  

Jeepers Eric... thought you should get the male perspective after all the family she-types assailed you. Suck it up, be a man, go for the gusto, break a leg... now that you know where your cynicism comes from ;-)follow the advice of the women... as usual, they are right. Love ya and will see you soon. Pops

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:10 AM  

re:"Jeepers eric". it's about time. i was beginning to think i was going to get nagged to death without a single person rising to my defense. (it's a joke!

By Blogger e3, at 10:21 AM  

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