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the eric update - day 25: a tantrum and a little perspective.

with eric IV looking quite content much of the time ( except, of course, when his care routine requires that not-so-fun things are done to him ), i found myself wondering when he was having those tantrums that preemies are famous for. sure, he can get worked up sometimes, clenching his fists and thrusting his feet and making little squeaks. but i we've never seen a full-blown, let-out-all-the-stops tantrum. not that you want to see a tantrum, but still. and so, with perfect timing, soon after i arrived this evening, eric decided that something was not right ( of course, it couldn't have been my voice. no, certainly it wasn't that ) and started trying to launch himself right out of the bed. and the screaming. if there was any doubt, him pipes are developing well. this went on for about a minute and no amount of consolation from me or kris was helping one iota.

that's when nurse jan decided it was time to bring in the passifier, because if he has a tantrum for too long then he'll stop breathing and that's no good. the only problem is that he doesn't really know how to suck on the passifier and breath at the same time, so it's a delicate balance. eventually, he figures it out and i rest my hand on him, which helps a little too, i guess.

the postcards have started coming in! i'm not sure the nurses believed me when i told them that he was going to start getting cards from all over the world. we've just received a few so far, but is supect they'll be trickling in for awhile. we were very touched by the kind story from a nice person we don't know who hails from santa clarita, california. it's going to be hard to maintain my cynical side if people keep up with such random acts of kindness.

kris is continuing with her record setting 'roo sessions. she might do two sessions a day at about 2 or 3 hours apiece ( i bet she'd go longer, but that's the longest she can go before she has to "pump" ). as i said yesterday, there are many factors involved in how well eric is doing, but i really think all the kangaroo care is big factor. we're fantastically fortunate that kris can spend so much time in the nicu. she teaches at the local college and has the summer off, so she can spend as much time as she likes with eric. and of course, she likes to spend a lot of time with him ( not that i don't, silly. you know what i mean. ).

ahhhhhh. it's the ol', "put your wedding ring on his diaper to give a sense of perspective" trick. with all the close-ups, it's easy to forget just how small he still remains ( although he has grown 3.5 inches centimeters ( arrgggh. there's a big difference between inches in centimeters. i think 3.5 cm is a little over an inch. ) since birth. yeah!).

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7/29/2004 11:04:00 AM 8 comments


3.5 inches?? Woohoo! You grow, baby!

As for the tantrums, I think it is a good sign of his "awareness" - just to be bothered by something is a good sign I would think. I know it's heartbreaking that something is bugging him and you can't figure it out, though. My first guess would be perhaps it's probably related to pooping. Moms of preemies would know better than me, but when my newborns got all wriggly and screamed and I couldn't find anything else wrong, they were usually trying to fill their diapers. Even the soft stools of breastfed babies can be sometimes difficult to pass and cause a little discomfort. Best you can do is distract them (sounds like the paci worked, I would imagine it to seem huge to him... you could try a clean pinky too if he seems to have trouble with the paci - just a thought, or you could try making a strange repetative noise to peak his curiosity - like a whoo-whoo-whoo or something, it's always a good distraction - or you could try tenderly stroking his cheeks or hairline. If he seems to like it, you can help him bicycle his legs as it helps with the pooping, but stop if it seems to make him more upset of course. Just some ideas to try.) All in all, it sounds like the little guy is doing great and is right on target! And, yes, I believe that the postcards will soon flood the NICU.

You've talked about a preemie's vision, how is their hearing at this size? Is it usually fully developed?

Glad to hear you were exaggerating about the amount of coffee and lack of eating!! But, I have had days that have come close to that, so I didn't second guess it. Thank heaven for your two wonderful sisters-in-law, Diane and Gina. They sound like they are really chipping in and helping. And, I'm sure little Ruby does her own part to boost your spirits :)
Keep getting rest and eating. I read every day first thing, and think about all of you often.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:53 AM  

ooops. that'd be 3.5 centimeters and not inches. 1.3 inches! yeah!

we suspected a poop might be in the works too, but didn't find anything in his diaper. i guess you never know sometimes, especially with micropreemies. "no cry" advocates will be horrified to know that the nurses tell you that after you take your child home, when they get themselves worked into a full-blown tantrum, it's best to lay them down, go outside, and walk around the house for awhile.

someone will probably correct me, but i think hearing is one of his most developed senses and he was already able to hear a few weeks prior to delivery. so, he can hear and recognize sounds, although he probably isn't going to remember the plot to "call of the wild"

By Blogger e3, at 10:15 AM  

Yah, I was thinking 3.5 inches sounded like a lot. I don't think Adam has grown that much in 6 months. LOL. Still, 1.3 inches is quite a bit! Yay!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:57 AM  

Most nurses are grand! They know their stuff and aren't shy about sharing it with you. But just be aware, they are people just like you and I and sometimes, their parenting advice isn't always something to be taken directly to heart! The best thing is to go with your gut.

When my son was born, I had three different nurses tell me three completely different (and conflicting) things! I was beside myself! What do I do? Which one do I listen to? (esp when one of them told me that my breast mil was far to thin and and I'd prob have to supplement or ds would lose too much weight...he gained 4 lbs in 4 weeks on just my milk, thankyouverymuch) I calmed down when I finally realized I had to educate myself and trust my Mama's intuition.

If you're in danger of losing it and your darling kiddo has been screaming his head off for 45 minutes and every attempt you have made to soothe/change/feed/play with him has failed, by all means, put them in a safe place and step away until you regain your composure. When nothing else worked with ds when he was a tiny (albeit, not nearly as tiny as E4!) babe, I'd strip him down and we'd both get into the tub, or have skin to skin in bed and nurse. Worked like a charm!

As I'm sure you know, tiny babies don't throw 'true' tantrums out of frustration until they're much older (7 or 8 mos I think?) Until then, they're just reacting to pain, discomfort or hunger.

It sounds like you and your wife have a great handle on everything! E4 is both blessed and lucky to have you both as his parents! He's come so far in such a short time! As Clifford the Big Red Dog says 'Love makes little things grow!' Do you know the clifford story of how he starts out as the tiniest puppy in his litter and how 'Emily Elizabeth's' love makes him grow so big? :D It's a cute one!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:10 PM  

Awesome post. I get chills seeing and hearing how Eric is doing. I need to get a post card in the mail. :-)


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:06 PM  

i agree that nurses are only human too. it's funny. there's so much context behind some of the things that i write, i sometimes forget to fill in some of the detail. as you know 'anonymous' preemies in general and micropreemies in particular often leave the nicu in a highly "sensitized" state and if they get over stimulated with too much lights and sounds or touch they can work themselves into a highly, highly agitated state - one that you can aggravate by doing the things that you might normally do to "sooth" a baby. and it probably does the parent some good too. sometimes the best thing you can do it put them in a dark room with no stimulation and lock the door and walk around the house.

we already have to guard against overstimulating and getting him angry. for instance, depending on a number of different mannerisms, you can tell whether it's a bad idea to, say, talk to him while he's looking at you ( sometimes he can't handle visual and auditory stimulation at the same time ). or if it's o.k. to have two people looking and talking at the same time.

i'm sure i've read clifford the big red dog, but had forgotten the plot - it's definately going on the reading list - thanks!

By Blogger e3, at 7:23 PM  

You are a beautiful writer. God has given you this gift. When I feel bad about some things going on in my life, I go to your site to read up on baby Eric, and it puts a whole new perspective on things. May God Bless you and your family.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:58 AM  

thank you rebecca.

By Blogger e3, at 1:04 AM  

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