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the eric update - day 61: isolette! first bottle! rumours of an exit date!

woohoo! we received a phone call from the nicu to not be freaked out when we arrived and found an empty radiant warming bed, since eric had been moved to an isolette! it's a big step up, as the isolette is the step before an open, unheated bed, which is the step before going home.

after the move to the isolette, they removed eric's temperature sensor that constantly monitored his body temp. this means that they are increasingly confident in his ability to regulate his own body temperature, which is one of the "exit criteria" for leaving the nicu. the isolette is still heated to keep a thermoneutral environment, which is the temperature that is needed to prevent him from burning any calories on keeping warm, as they'd like every bit of evergy to go towards growing and staying healthy. that said, they will slowly ween his off the thermoneutral settings, at which point he'll get transferred to an open bed.

eric also took his first bottle today! i think it might be impossible to convey to non-nicu parents what a big step it was for him to guzzle down a bottle on the first try. it can sometimes take weeks for a micropreemie to get the suck-swallow-breath sequence down for an entire 20 cc bottle.

nurse nancy got the process started because she wanted to make sure he didn't drown, but he did so well that she quickly transferred him over to kris so she could savor the moment.

after nurse nancy saw how well eric was doing with the bottle, she casually asked us how the nursery looked. we looked at her blankly.

. "uh. the nursery is still an office."

she looked shocked and then said something that neither one of us could possibly have expected. "well, what are you going to do if everything "clicks" and he's released in two weeks! get your butts in gear! have you taken the infant cpr class? have you watched the "shaken baby syndrome" video? there's lots to do and he'll be leaving quite literally before you know it."

kris responded with exactly what i was thinking as my mouth went dry, "nancy. your lips are moving but there's no sound coming out."

before today i had been trying to manage my expectations and thought that if we were lucky, eric might be home by the last week of october or the first week of november. this hadn't seemed an unreasonably assumption since the the neonatologist told us when we arrived that eric would most likely be in the nicu until his original due date ( around actober 17th ) plus " a few weeks". so it's no small shock to find out that it's not outside the realm of possibility that he could be home soon. she did say that it probably wouldn't be exactly two weeks, but my guess is that they are likely looking at 2 weeks to a month. it's odd to think that if he were released even in a month, he'd be coming home a full three weeks before his original due date.

i guess it's time to get cracking at turning the home office into a nursery.

even though the isolette is considered a big move, is still takes a bit of adjustment to get used to the new environment. after two months of having unobstructed access to eric, it's hard to get used to having to reach into a "box" to say "goodnight".

there's also a lot less space around the isolette, since it's less likely that a large number of personnel will need to gather around eric for an emergency intervention. and we've moved from a a quiet, corner on the far end of the room ( the room is a rectangle with the sickest babies at the far end of the rectangle and the healthiest babies at the near end close to the entrance ) to right next to the nurses station and the entry door, so it's a lot more noisy.

i guess any change, no matter how positive, takes some adjustment.

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9/03/2004 11:48:00 PM 16 comments


What great news! It was so wonderful to see the pictures of him having his first bottle and moving "up" to the isolette. I was smiling, laughing and crying all at the same time. Good thing no one is here or they would think I was going crazy. Well...if they know me, they know I am just a big "mushmallow" anyway. Eric IV does seem intent to prove everyone wrong and be ready for the next big steps well ahead of schedule. I think this is a credit to the care and attention he is receiving from all the staff in the NICU, to you and Kris' strength and undeniable love for your son, to all of the prayers and support from around the world, as well as probably a little bit of genetics. I think the family has been able to hold on to the belief that you did so well as a preemie that your son would as well. Such wonderful news on a beautiful sunny day here in Massachusetts. Love to you all. Monica

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:50 PM  

With great glee I'd like to say this: I told you so.


By Blogger Robb, at 2:11 PM  

I echo what Monica said- I couldnt have said it better. Reading your post , I had a lump in my throat , and a smile, at the same time.

By Blogger Tbog, at 2:24 PM  


I had a great big smile on my face when I read your news from the last two days! Fantastic!

NordicMamma from Stockholm

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:34 PM  

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! What wonderful and exciting news! My heart is jumping within me at Eric's recent accomplishments. It truly won't be long now until he will be in your arms at home.
Tina, Alabama

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:28 PM  

Okay, now I'm crying... As I sit here and watch Kyle's food go down a feeding tube, I can't help but feel relief that you and Kris won't be enduring this step.

Your little boy is just doing so exceedingly well, it's almost hard to believe! I have to give a big hand to your medical staff - they've done all the right things with this little guy... And you have so much to be thankful for....

Now, get to spoiling that little guy and post some pictures of the cutest nursery EVER! :)

Oooh - speaking of... Themes! Do you have one? Little traveler comes to mind given the postcards and all.

By Blogger Katra, at 6:11 PM  

you don't know me from your basic hole in the ground, but may i say that upon reading this entry i experienced pure joy. no strings attached. just the soar.
this kid enriches the world.
thanks for sharing.
keep on with your good selves.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:23 PM  

wow. i don't really have time to properly respond to everyone's comments, as we're quickly eating dinner before heading back to the nicu and then we're off to relax for the evening, if you can believe that. but please know that you all made our evening as we eat and read the comments. thanks!

and katra, i think the 'little traveler' idea is interesting. i'm thinking of putting together a post and let people have their say on themes and color schemes.

By Blogger e3, at 7:32 PM  

I've read your entire thread this afternoon after finding a link to it on Table Talk (an online community at, and I have cried and laughed and cried some more. You and your amazing baby will be in my thoughts and prayers as you continue this nearly-unbelievable journey. Blessings to you for sharing, and best wishes for every good thing.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:55 PM  

hmmm. anyone have a direct link to where the site is mentioned in table talk. i can't seem to find it and i'm always interested in seeing where people are coming from. in any case, thanks for you kind comments "anonymous" from "table talk".

By Blogger e3, at 12:38 PM  

thanks again to everyone who took time to celebrate eric's super fantastic accomplishments.

i want to single out katra and thank her for having the courage to allude to the complicated emotions that many visitors with their own micropreemies are likely feeling as they watch eric's progress. katra is but one of the many parents who visit the site with children who have been on much longer and scarier rollercoasters that make our own ride look like a walk in the park ( to mix a metaphor badly ).

in case there was any doubt, kris and i draw much of our strength from the "katras" of the world. it has been tremendously valuable to know that no matter what the challenge, there's living proof that you can pick up the pieces, grab your bootstraps and keep moving on.

to belabor the point, there's a "katra" in our nicu at the moment who has been on a wild four month ride after giving birth to a 1 pound 1 ounce 26 weeker. when you talk with her, rather than feel pity or sadness, you find yourself being amazed at her dignity, strength and quiet humor.

you can learn a lot about strength from someone who has been in the nicu for that long and i can only hope that a small bit of what we have learned comes through the website.

By Blogger e3, at 1:00 PM  

aarrrgggh. blogger just "ate" my comment. so i'll try this one more time.

thanks again to everyone who took the time to celebrate eric's accomplishments!

i want to single out katra for having the courage to allude to the complicated sets of emotions that many of the parents of micropreemies might be feeling as eric continues to do so well. relief is a very positive way to put the emotion.

there are many people who are visiting that are on rollercoaster rides that are longer and much more scary that eric's own. if there was any doubt, kris and i draw much of our strength from the "katras" of the world as they are living proof that it is possible to face any challenge, grab your bootstraps and keep on moving on.

to belabor the point, there's a "katra" in our nicu who has been on a wild four month ride after giving birth to a very sick 1 pound 1 ounce 26 weeker. but when you talk with her, rather than feel pity or sadness you find yourself surprised by her dignity, strength and quiet humor.

you can learn a lot about strength from a nicu veteran and i can only hope that a small amount of what we've learned comes through the website.

By Blogger e3, at 1:12 PM  

The mention is here. Hope you don't mind.

Congratulations on all the big strides forward. We're rooting for you, e4!

Chris in Ann Arbor

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:31 PM  

nope. i don't mind at all - thanks for posting the link.

sorry for the doublepost of the comment previous long-winded comment. obviously i thought that blogger ate the comment without publishing it, so i quickly tried to reconstruct it from memory and now i can't see how to delete the second attempt. hi. ho. at the very least, i suppose it's amusing to see how good or bad my memory is, depending on your perspective.

By Blogger e3, at 10:54 PM  

Thank you for your kind words.

I will have to say that there were many days that we didn't know how we were going to get through... But the moment we walked into the NICU, we felt at peace. Peace knowing that someday our son was coming home with us. I can't say that there was a moment that I ever really believed that we would loose Kyle, or that anything he faced - we wouldn't be able to handle. However, the trauma was still there - the fear of the unknown and his overall health as we battled the many complications as came.

However, I would look around the NICU room, at it's many occupants and wonder - would I be as strong as that parent, if that was my child? There was always someone who's struggle seemed so unimaginable to us, that we became more thankful for every moment we had with Kyle.

Whether a family is a week in the NICU, or over six months, such as we were - the struggle is still the same. It's an unnatural process and seperation of family - it's a fight to get to that dream of being the happy family at home. Each of us handle our struggles in a different way, but we all feel that same pain seeing our children hooked up to tubes and wires - being poked and proded by the strangers you would come to know by first name... You wonder what got you there, could you have changed anything, is my child suffering, do they know who I am from the nurses... Why did this happen to me?

I remember this remarkable family that had the bed next to Kyle. There son was born with a large (1lb) tumor in the Liver. The condition was so rare, that there are only 3 documents cases in existance - all terminal. This child lived a full month, to everyone's amazement. They shared thier love of this child with more family and friends than we could count - he was probably the most visited baby ever! This child gave them such joy and happiness - even knowing the eventual outcome.

I remember Brady's last day of life... His mother was in the lobby, and asked me to come in - where she told me that tonight would be their last night with Brady. I sat in the lobby, remembering the loss of my own son, Konner... I told his mother how strong I thought she was, and that she gave us the strength to carry on. She hugged me, and with a soft voice whispered that our sons would soon be playing together - and that she had peace knowing that Brady wouldn't be alone. I completely broke down in her arms... This mother who had to make the most horrid decision in the world, to end her son's suffering... She comforted me. When things get really hard for me, I always remember her strength... Yes she wept, but she was a strong woman. I hear they're expecting a healthy child this fall.

Sorry to ramble a moment, but for all the times people have mentioned our strength - I always remember the ones that I drew strength from in our hardest moments.

Just think of the many lives little Odin has touched, think of all the people who are now drawing strength through his story... What a wonderful gift we've been given... We've been asked to care for and love these very special children :)

By Blogger Katra, at 9:50 PM  

To GOD be the glory for this great thing He has done.He is the author of life.His name be praised for ever.Congrats for the favour you received from God.LONG LIVE AND HEALTH.

By Anonymous Henry, at 10:32 AM  

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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."

the complete tales & poems of winnie the pooh

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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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