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

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.

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. 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! (

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! 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.

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.

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8/18/2004 11:50:00 PM 8 comments

8 Comments:

Okay - WOW is right!!! What a major achievement - oh, and clothes too :)

Way to go! I am just so excited right now.

By Blogger Katra, at 4:08 AM  

All such good news WOOHOO!! I think it was Katra who said that after the 3 pound mark, the weight gain happens REALLY fast. I can't imagine it happening any faster than it is, but you never know!
C

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:47 AM  

They won't let you kangaroo on a vent? Geez if that were true for us, we would have not held Andy for the first two months! (Go e4!)

By Blogger Robb, at 10:17 AM  

Yeeehhhhh! So happy to see all the wonderful accomplishments today. And, you both must be enjoying the "roo" time tremendously. Hard to believe that he is nearly 3 pounds - AND wearing such a handsome shirt. The pictures show how much he is growing. We are all excited here. Let us know the criteria for his NICU clothes. I found some websites that specialize in NICU clothing for preemies. We'd love to send something but not sure what he will be able to wear yet. Love, Mom

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:29 AM  

yes, indeed, yesterday was quite filled with excitement. i'm not sure about the criteria for nicu cloths - i'll look into it.

despite the fact that it was a mute point ( at least for now ), we talked with the staff yesterday about the "no 'roo on the vent" rule. all the nurses shyly smiled when asked about the rule and admitted that the other nicu in town didn't have any such rule. one of them said that she'd break the rule in very special cases, such as when the parents haven't been able to hold them for over 4 weeks after being born, but that she only did that on rare occasions.

when asked why the neonatologist would have the rule when it was somewhat common for others to not, the nurses would get a reverential glint in their eye as they talked about learning over the years ( it seems that most of the nurses have worked with the neonatologist for 15+ years ) to not question his rules as the outcomes in his unit are demonstrably better than any other unit they've worked in.

of course, the vent rule isn't the sole reason why his outcomes are so much better than at other nicus, so the nurses have an almost superstitious belief in the overall gestalt of his clinical style.

in any case, too bad he couldn't do some sort of controlled study and see if babies on the "no vent" rule did just as well as babies who were not.

i know they won't think it ( robb and katra, i'm talkin' to you! ), but i feel i must point out to the readers that might have a tendency to try to read between the lines and think that i'm making some sort of comment about parents who decide that they'd like to do the 'roo while on the vent. i'm not. i think if eric had been on the vent for longer than 2 weeks we would have been put in the very difficult position having to decide how hard to push against the rule.

By Blogger e3, at 12:10 PM  

Congratulations on all the great news, you guys. :)

About kangaroo care... Ricky was born in late 1995 and nobody even mentioned kangaroo care. We may have been in NICU pre-kangaroo care. Anyway, I did get to hold him once during the brief time he was on the ventilator, up on my chest (not skin to skin though). The main problem with holding him at that point was getting Ricky into my arms... Three or four nurses had to maneuver him over because of all of his wires, tubes, the vent, etc.

Anyway, enough of that. Congrats all around!

By Blogger Becky Sprecher, at 12:28 PM  

YAY LITTLE ERIC! That's soooooooooo amazing! I've been holding my breath every time your blog loads, hoping that he'd be off the vent 'today'.

Sending you all happy, healing, weight-gaining, pneumonia fighting, warm and fuzzy vibes and thoughts (and prayers too, of course :D)

Emily in Nova Scotia

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:35 PM  

someone might surely correct me, but i think that kangaroo care might not have been as widely adopted in the u.s. waaaaay back in 1995.

thanks for all the supportive comments from everyone. i don't have time to respond to each of them individually, so hopefully nobody takes it personally :-)

By Blogger e3, at 3:17 PM  

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"it is hard to be brave," said piglet, sniffing slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal." rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said: "it is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us."

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this site chronicles the continuing adventures of my son, odin, who was unexpectedly born on the fourth of july at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound 7 ounces.

he's quite a fighter and you can always send him a postcard to the most current address listed here if you're inspired by his adventures. see the postcard project/google maps mashup to see a map of the postcards.

if you're new, you can browse the archives to catch up. and don't forget to watch a few movies that i made while we were in the neonatal intensive care unit. or if you want the abridged version and you can find a copy, you can read about his adventures in the november 2005 issue of parents magazine.



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