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the eric update - day 70: a 10 week birthday! and way too much progress for a pithy title.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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?

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9/12/2004 11:00:00 PM 13 comments



By Blogger Robb, at 11:24 AM  

Wow--E4's progress is accelerating like a runaway train! How's that nursery coming along at home, cause it looks like he's headed there way sooner than anyone expected. I can't get over how different he looks now than he did just a few weeks ago. He looks like a happy, contented baby instead of a wizened old man fighting for his life. (I mean no insult here, it's just an amazing change to see via your wonderful pics). If you get time, I bet E4's many fans would love a few "then and now" pics put side by side.

I keep noticing the appropriateness of your blog section title "ex machina." At the rate he's moving, looks like E4 will be fully free "from the machine(s)" very soon!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:27 AM  

i followed a link over from one of the preemie twins were born at 26 weeks, so i feel some of the things that you have mentioned in your brings me to tears that we were there just 19 months ago! :) my twins boy/girl (and my boy did much better than my girl, and was therefore not a "whimpy white boy" either!) are doing very well now, and have minimal complications as a result from their prematurity. i wish the same for you guys! :) i co-own a board at if you ever want to stop on by! there are so many people there with premature babies of all different ages and issues, and i've found it to be a wonderful source of support!

take care,

By Blogger a very tired mommy, at 11:57 AM  

WOW - I can't believe that baby Eric is in a open crib now - WOW - CONGRATULATIONS!!!! What a wonderful day of achievements for your family!!!! It truly won't be long now until he is home.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:14 PM  

Now there's two drugs I am familiar with. Ethan was on both Zantac and Reglan, but I would not recommend either - I quickly took Ethan back off Reglan once I read the side effects and the fact that at the time, both drugs were not FDA approved for use in infants (I don't know the status on that now) If the reflux is causing weight loss or esophagal damage, then of course medication might be the only option. (stay away from propulsid for sure) Did they try elevation therapy or a johnny sling first before resorting to the meds? I see that his bassinett looks completely level, if you angle the bassinet a bit, you might see a decline in refluxing. Also, try not to lay him right back down after a feeding - he needs to be upright for a good 15 minutes if that's possible. Many times it is just a gravity issue as well as the fact that he is really drinking so fast -- If you downed a gallon of milk in under 5 minutes and then layed flat or was jiggled, do you think you could keep it down? LOL. Well, just playing devils advocate. They may have re-formulated these drugs since Ethan was on them in 2000 - perhaps the side effects are not as severe.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:24 PM  

Darn this blog -- oops that was me. Oh and, yay on the 4 pounds!!!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:27 PM  

i'm heading off the nicu now, so i don't have a lot of time to comment, but thanks for the info that reglan wasn't approved for use on infants. i'll check on the current status. we've actually been trying all the things you mentioned ( and actually all the beds are tilted at an angle ). we'll tried holding him upright for as long as an hour after feeding to no avail. sometimes if gravity shows signs of working the staff will encourage parents to bring in car sears to sit the babies upright for linger periods of time after feeding, but in eric's case positioning didn't seem to make one whit of difference.

By Blogger e3, at 2:45 PM  

I will get some info to you. I think there are one or two other things you could try.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:02 PM  

I realized this morning that I passed my own Eric milestone this weekend. Every morning for weeks and weeks (10 actually), I click in to get the latest. I have to say that there were more than a couple of days when I was almost afraid to click in for fear the news would be really bad.

This morning, however, I realized those days are over ... These days I click in to see what he's wearing!

By Blogger susan, at 3:10 PM  

Wow! That is the only word I can think of right now! I feel like I have said this so many times, but it does seem like Eric IV is intent on making sure he is one step ahead of where he should be (or even a few steps ahead). It makes me so happy to hear how well he is doing. I want to run out and shout it to everyone...but then they will finally have confirmation that I have gone crazy. LOL

Truly amazing. I feel so indebted to all that have made Eric's progress possible. Like somehow I "owe" someone, something. I think I need to find a way to repay this karmic debt. Perhaps as Mom mentioned before, events like this send us down paths we never expected.

Along that theme, I am sorry to hear about your job Eric. No matter how much you may anticipate it happening, I don't think it ever really prepares you for receiving that pink slip. Thankfully this will allow you time to be with your son and "find your path". And if any recruiter is reading this, even though Eric is my brother and I am definately biased, he can do anything and do it well.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:22 PM  

Happy 10 week birthday, grandson! You are growing so big and doing so many new things. I am very proud of you. I know that you are anxious to go home with Mom and Pops. Lots of family and friends have been praying for you all around the world. Kirk's Mom has been saying prayers in St. Lucia ever since she heard of your birth. Several weeks ago she said that you would be going home once you reached 4 pounds. And, she is always right. So, we are expecting you to be home very soon. It looks your Pops will be starting a new career soon. But first, he will get to spend lots of time with you when you get home. Even though he's not sure what he will be doing, I know that the future will hold many wonderful things for all of you. I'm waiting patiently to call you at home and talk to you. Love, Gwanmanman Sherry

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:56 PM  

d'oh! i'm behind on responding to comments.

How's that nursery coming along at home |

i'll have a lot more to report on the nursery soon. for now not much has been done, but we have a lot of help coming on friday and will make a big push to get it done.

"I keep noticing the appropriateness of your blog section title "ex machina."" |

it's funny, because i chose the name for the blog four years ago, and i can't remember why i chose the title. i think it might have had something to do with the fact that reading blogs about people over time can sometimes leave you with the feeling that they are coming "out of or from the machine", where the machine in this case is the computer.

"This morning, however, I realized those days are over ... These days I click in to see what he's wearing!" |

ha! maybe i should just trim down the posts and simply upload a "eric's clothing of the day" picture :-)

"I want to run out and shout it to everyone...but then they will finally have confirmation that I have gone crazy." |

monica, i think people got confirmation of that years and years ago :-) ( for those that don't know, monica is my sister, so it's my brotherly obligation to make comments like that )

By Blogger e3, at 12:13 PM  

Hi to Eric's Mommy and Daddy:

Ricky was on Propulsid and Zantac during his NICU and infant days. He's never been on Reglan. Propulsid served the same function as Reglan, but it was later pulled off the market due to it causing heart problems. Fortunately several subsequent ECGs showed that he had none of these effects!

Zantac always worked well for Ricky and he only stopped taking it a couple of years ago when he was put on a pill, Prevacid, which was finally recently approved for pediatric use.

Reflux is very common in preemies as I'm sure you know, and it's also very common in kids with CF like Ricky, and can be especially dangerous for them, as all the coughing due to their CF problems can cause them to reflux which can end up with them having junk refluxed into their lungs, ending up in aspiration pneumonia!

Someone mentioned a sling. Ricky slept in a "Danny sling" until he got so big that he climbed right out of it. He still had pretty constant outward reflux until shortly before his first birthday (after that it was found to still be happening, but mostly not resulting in outward vomiting -- to this day), and I don't know if the sling really helped with that, but it sure is a neat invention. :) I went through some insurance wrangling and finally got them to pay for the sling.


By Blogger Becky Sprecher, at 2:53 PM  

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