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the eric update - day 87: waiting. a fistful of paci. barley feeds. mobile.

after eric's neonatologist's consulted with pediatric surgeons this morning about his hiatal hernia and possible nissen surgeries, they've decided to hold off making any decisions to see if non-surgical management will help improve the reflux. while that's great news, they've also decided to delay his inguinal hernia surgery so they can do it when and if they decide non-surgical methods are no lnoger working to control the reflux at which point they'll do everything at once. since his neonatologist last night said that they had already had a hunch that he'd need the surgeries eventually, but that the pediatric surgeons didn't like to do them before a baby weights 2,500 grams, i'm guessing that from their perspective we're playing a waiting game - they wait for him to hit 2,500 grams, while letting us try less invasive treatments in hopes that something might work.

to that end, they finally gave orders to start supplementing his feedings with barley which helps to thicken them and will hopefully help to keep the food in his stomach where it belongs. remarkably, after we added the barley, he almost completely stopped spitting up his food! even more importantly his blood oxygen levels remained stable after eating, which means there's less reflux in his esophagus stimulating the nerves that initiate the cascade of events that lead to an apnea. he's still showing signs of reflux, such as pursing his lips and making chewing motions with his mouth, but he responded quite well to the barley and appears to be much more stable; in fact, he hasn't had any alarms in over 24 hours! whooohoo!

do the remarkable results of adding a little barley to his feedings mean that he won't need surgery? it might and it might not, depending on the results of additional upper GI series ( we don't have any sceduled yet ). it's possible that the barley is helping to make eric more stable, while masking esophageal damage that will gradually result in feeding problems, which we certainly would like to avoid. but the barley might, just possibly might, help to stabilize eric enough to allow us to bring him home while he gains weight and we to see if he really does need surgery or if things will gradually get better as eric matures. eric's neonatologist said that he would let him come home with an unrepaired inguinal hernia, as long as everything else was under control. i'm guessing that if we see two or three days of no alarms and no significant "desats" after feeding, we might be talking about going home sooner rather than later - not that we'll ever tell him that, mind you.

so, while we wait, wondering if little odin will be coming home in one week or six, life in the nicu hums along; today, eric actively grasped and held his paci for the first time ( motor coordination! ); we gave him a bath and got a great tip from a nurse about how draping eric in a wet cloth diaper will give him a "bundled" feeling, making baths a lot less stressful ( it worked really well ). and we brought in a mobile that will supposedly encourage his development and vision. i don't know if the claims are about stimulating development are true, but it seems like a good idea to have something familiar around when we finally get to go home.

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9/29/2004 11:18:00 PM 5 comments


Ok, I'm just an anonymous watcher who ended up here because of Susan Dennis, but I had to tell you , I think Eric IV is a beautiful baby. Every day or two when I check in, I'm just hoping the two of you get to take him home. Soon. I'm rooting for you all.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:01 PM  

Yea barley! Yea E4!

Those mobiles are great. Andy still likes his, although he can't have it up anymore.

By Blogger Robb, at 3:48 PM  

I'm another one of those faithful readers originally directed here by Susan Dennis. And am of course rooting for Óðinn as we Icelanders put it (or Odin, to you foreigners) and his early release. ;-)

I'm not a baby person, but it's been more interesting than I could ever have imagined to be allowed to participate in all this (remotely) through your blog.

By Blogger Sigurrós, at 5:58 AM  

hmmm. maybe everyone is separated by six degrees from susan dennis?

sigurrós, while we kept the "funny" characters out of his nickname to keep things easy on his relative here across the pond, i'm interested to know if it's more common in iceland to spell it with two letters 'n' instead of one? in a googlefight, odin clearly pummels odinn, but i'm sure it's possible that we're all spelling it wrong.

and soon enough, i'll have a new address for you to send us a postcard, so that we can be sure to have yet another excuse to visit iceland ( we're going to try to visit all the postcard places )!

By Blogger e3, at 1:14 PM  

Yep, that Susan Dennis gets around, doesn't she. :-)

I totally understand why you would say (and write) Odin, seeing as the way we Icelanders write the name is archaic (like Icelandic mostly is) and uses letters not part of your alphabet.

Icelandic is of course so archaic due to our isolation (and is further kept that way by discouraging any language development), whereas the other Nordic countries mingled sufficiently among themselves and with other nations to develop their languages away from the Old Norse we used to have in common. So their way of writing the name Óðinn as Odin can't be called wrong, even if it isn't the Icelandic way.

And in Icelandic the name would never be written with only one n, since that would make the name feminine, and we can't have that for the main god of the Asatru. ;-)

As I get older, my memory increasingly acts like a sieve, but I'll definitely try to remember actually sending Eric a postcard (instead of just planning to). I do have some old Viking-themed ones from my teenage days of collecting postcards.

By Blogger Sigurrós, at 2:13 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."

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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