Tuesday, December 26, 2006

SF Chron article about Christmas NICU babies

UCSF Christmas at the NICU from S.F. Chronicle.

God bless all babies!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Time

Just so you all know, you will get a Christmas card from the DelloIacono-Thies family (assuming I have your address). I didn't order the cards until this past week. Is it Christmas already?

Grandma Linda and Grandpa Terry came over and cooked us Christmas crab and shrimp. It was wonderful. We opened gifts. Grandma and Grandpa are already spoiling Little E. He loves it. Susie joined us for day 2 of early Christmas celebrations. She is looking like a hot momma herself with little miss someone growing, growing.

My Christmas present from Aaron this year was our beautiful tree. It was a wonderful holiday surprise. Eric needed some place to hang all his First Christmas ornaments.

Tonight we are dining on the traditional Christmas hamburgers accompanied by salad and egg nog. Of course the hamburger is top notch, organic and grass fed.

Most importantly, we are enjoying the most joyous gift of all, our son Eric.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Eric had is second outing, which was to the eye doctor, Dr. Good at the Pacific campus. Pretty amazing that a 10 minute appointment took two hours preparation to get there on time. Eric's eyes look good and are developing well. I bundled Eric up really well for the trip. Actually I bundled him up too well and had to remove a layer so he would fit in the car seat.

Eric also had a visit from Cindy, the visitin nurse, who weighed him and gave us some useful tips. Eric now weighs 7 lbs 9 oz.

Eric and I had fun today with him in my Moby Wrap while I put some decorations on our tree. He protested a little bit when I put him in the wrap but once he got comfortable he snoozed for a few hours, which means he is likely going to be wide awake at 3:00am. Funny how 3:00am and 3:00pm are a lot the same these days, wearing the same clothes and doing the same activities.

We have been giving Eric some tummy time. He surprised us with some pushups and a roll over.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Grandma visits

Linda spent the weekend with us and got to bond with Eric. Oh and she wiped out a massive pile of laundry and filled the freezer with a week's worth of delicious heat n' eat homecookin. When she first arrived, Eric burst into a smile session and in only 10 minutes, earned himself a lifetime of grandma love and spoiling.

Here I am sometime in the midst of week 1:

Sleeping in full fuzzy gear.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Getting To Know Each Other

We have been home with Eric for 5 days now and are having a lot of fun with a side of sleep. Eric is getting used to his new quiter surroundings and seems to like all his gear. His most wakeful time is 2:00am to 5:00am. I am cool until about 3:30am and then I need to call in Dad for reinforcement.

Eric has had 2 visits from the home nurse and one visit to his pediatrician. He is doing well and continues to gain weight, now at 3280grams or 7 lbs and 4 oz. He is 19 1/2 inches long. Right now he breasts feed twice a day and the rest fed bottled breast milk fortifed with some extra calories and nutrients, which I am of course calculating out in great detail, something only a nutrition nerd would do.

Eric is excited to spend time with Grandma Linda who arrives today for a weekend visit. Grandma may want to sleep at the other end of the flat if she wants to sleep in the early morning hours.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Mommy is famous

Introducing.... Tara

Monday, December 11, 2006

Eric and Tara at home

It took all of us a day to get used to the new situation. Eric was very fussy and hardly slept at all for the first day and night at home. The NICU is a noisy, bright place and he probably couldn't figure out why everything was suddenly so quiet. But today he seems to have adjusted and has been sleeping like he's supposed to. Now if only Mom and Dad could make such a quick adjustment.

Here's a shot of Tara and Eric loving life together at home:

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Homecoming: pics and videos

Finally after nearly 14 weeks in the NICU, Eric has come home!

To get ready for his graduation we first gave him a bath. Oh the indignity:

Then he got his carseat test, which he passed with flying colors. He was just too dang cute chillin in the seat.

After that we stayed with him overnight in one of the hospital rooms for a "dry run" with the nurses nearby. It went fairly well but it's kind of like camping in your backyard.

Eric had to say goodbye to his buddy Ryan Karbowski, who has been with him in the NICU nearly from day one. We all are just in love with these two guys!

After a final check-out with the doctors, we loaded Eric into the Corolla and drove him the 20 blocks down Lake St to our home on 17th Ave. Little E is home!

In his crib he looks like a little pea in a big pod. Just as in the NICU crib his faithful doggie stands guard:

Thank you to all the wonderful doctors and nurses at CPMC who helped bring Eric into this world and care for him, and special love for all the parents and babies we met during Eric's first 3 months. We love you so much! You are a beacon of light in a scary world.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Getting Ready - added pics

We are busy getting ready to bring Eric home. Yesterday our power was shut off for several hours so the electrician could do some work. Remember the picture of the milk in the freezer? Well, we loaded a cooler and the hospital generously is storing it for us until the electrical work is complete. There are a lot of hours logged in that milk.

Eric passed his hearing test the other day and passed. He also had is regular visit from the eye doctor, Dr. Good, and everything looks good. We were pretty sure his hearing was good because he responds to our voices and other noises throughout the room. Yesterday they took his pulse oximeter off, which reads his oxygen saturation. So he no longer has the wire hooked to his foot. Free feet for the first time. Well, there was one other time they took it off and we got to walk around the nursery with no wires attached at all.

Today he will get his car seat test. They let him sit in the car seat for one hour to make sure it is in a good position for him. Aaron got him new car seat so he can ride in style. Eric will also get the circ before he comes home.

He as been given his first round of shots and will also be given something called synergist to help protect him from RSV, one of the causes of the common cold. Eric will not be allowed to have visitors for a while because if he catches anything it could put him back in the hospital so the doctors have told us to take precautions. We will all be home bound for a while with no visitors.

Until we are ready for Eric to meet everyone the best way for you all to see him, say hi to us, and keep intouch is by reading the blog and leaving us comments. We really enjoy reading everyone's comments and are so touched by how closely you all follow along. I cry when I think of how blessed we are to have so many wonderful friends and family members out there.

Here are so more cute pics. Eric loves to give hi-fives.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Busy, busy

We are very busy getting ready for Eric's home coming. We have been doing a lot of preparations at home to make sure we are as organzied as possible. We are still not exactly sure of the date, but he could come home as soon as this weekend. I have been spending a lot of time at the hospital trying to learn how to feed him while he is still learning how to coordinate his sucking swallowing and breathing. He is getting better at this, and I think I am. Over the weekend he was sometimes eating as much as 90 cc's in one feeding, which is about 3 ounces.

Eric doesn't wake up hungry very often and most if the time we have to wake him up to eat. Once we wake him up he is reminded his stomach is empty and starts to squirm for it. My mom told me that she too had to wake me up to eat.

Here are some more photos:

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Good Friends

Eric has made some wonderful friends in the NICU and so have Mom & Dad. The families we have shared time with through the NICU experience are all very special, and very special friends.

Eric was born right around the same time as Ryan Karbowski and Spencer Brown. These three boys have been side by side over the the past 3 months. Their girl friend was also born that week, little Pacita Williams.

Tuesday was a big day for the Browns because Spencer was ready to go home to Novato. Here is the happy family below, Sharon, Chris, and Spencer. Very exciting.

Pacita also went home to this week. So a big week for Momma Pacita.

Eric also met Allan and James. Allan's parents, Anita and Fuat, are from Viennna and live in Washington D.C. and have been renting an apartment here for the last few months. On Friday, Dr. Kaleem is going to accompany them on a flight back home.
James lives in San Francisco and went home a few weeks ago and we hope to have play dates.

Here are some recent favorite pics

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Action packed weekend

Mom and Dad gave Eric a bath for the first time on Saturday (I don't have any pictures of the occasion because my camera was out of batteries). Eric really seemed to like it despite being with amateurs. Joe, his nurse, gave us a good step by step instruction. Eric was pretty pleased and only let out one cry when I didn't bundle him up fast enough.

Eric also took a big step forward in his feeding this weekend. Starting at 11:00pm Saturday he has decided he really likes drinking from the bottle and doing better coordinating his sucking, swallowing and breathing. He needs to be fully awake to have enough energy but he is really starting to figure this out. He is also eating whenever he wants instead of on a strict schedule every 3 hours with the gavage feeding. We will see how he likes it.

We had a nice Thanksgiving with lots of yummy food and Aaron and I even got out for a little exercise. We also took our first trip to Babys R Us. It sure is hard to sift through all the stuff you really don't need to find the things you do. We are just doing the math on how many diapers he goes through in a day and it is a lot. We figured out that we need to buy them by the case. I heard about these flushable diapers that I am going to check out see what that is all about. Aaron doesn't believe they are for real.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

We have a lot to be thankful for this year. Thank you to everyone for all the love and support you continually send our way. It makes us feel so good to hear from so many of you that are keeping updated on the blog. Reading everyone's comments, cards, and emails is something we look forward to each day.

Eric is 6 pounds. He sleeps a lot which really helps him grow. He is still working on developing his nippling skills, but that will come. Like his mom he is easily distracted and has a hard time keeping his focus sometimes. When he is eating from the bottle we have to put a screen in front of him so he doesn't get too distracted.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Eric on the move

Eric was in a portion of the NICU called the Skybox for a few days. It is on the 4th floor and is a temporary unit while the construction in the other unit was completed. It was a little small but he didn't seem to mind. He is now back to the second floor unit with all his buddies.

Today he had a visit from the occupational therapist who says that his suck, swallow, and breath coordination isn't all organized yet, but that will come with some more maturity. Until this maturity comes he can only handle eating from a bottle a couple times a day and still needs a feeding tube the other times. He is starting to gag on the tube a little bit, but once it is in he doesn't mind it. Mom doesn't like to watch the tube go in very much.

We worked with the lactation consultant this week and she gave us a nipple shield that helps Eric pull out the nipple more and get some milk from the breast. He gets some good suckling with this.

Eric is a really good sucker and likes his pacifier. He also likes his friend the duck.

Monday, November 20, 2006

burping video

Thursday, November 16, 2006

family portrait

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

5 pounder

Eric has just blown through his 5 pound milestone and as of 11/14, he is 5 lbs. 7 oz. He is "learning" how to feed from the bottle and the breast but some of the doctors will tell you that you can't really teach a baby how to do this; they will just know how to do it when they are ready and more developed. He does OK with the feedings but he tires out very fast and only sometimes can finish without the gavage (tube) feeding.

His favorite trick to pull on Daddy is to stealth pee when he is getting a diaper change. Look away for one second and he is whizzing all over the place and messing up his preemie outfit. Here is the cute little sailboat shirt and pants that Amy Braun sent him. Thank you Amy!!

Today I took the car down to the CHP for an infant seat install and inspection. The concept of bringing him home just doesn't quite sink in until you strap that seat into the car.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dad went clothes shopping & sticker free

Eric is eating like a champ. He is still being mostly fed through the feeding tube. Once a shift he gets a bottle and once our twice a day he gets to recreationally breast feed (meaning he only gets a few drops). He weighs 4 lbs 12 ounces and has some well deserved rolls.

Dad went shopping and bought Eric this cozy outfit.

I think Dad did a great job.

Notice anything different about him in this photo versus the other?

That is right, he doesn't have the nasal canula on anymore. He peeled off one of the stickers that held it on and was without in his nose long enough that his nurse, Ilene, and Dr. Retazyck thought they would see how he did without it. Eric is very happy with this.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Feeding Times

Eric sleeps most of the time and sometimes even sleeps through his feedings (what time saver that would be). Other times he is so antsy for food he is wide awake and doing the hungry wiggle.

He gets 35 cc's every 3 hours now, which is over a cup of milk each day. He is now 4 pounds 6 ounces and fitting nicely into his preemie clothes.

This week he also got to drink from a bottle. Aaron got to feed him from the bottle for the first time the other day. He only gets the bottle when he looks awake enough to handle. He is slowly learning the coordination involved with sucking, swallowing, and, breathing. Yesterday and today when nurse Shannon fed him, he drank the whole 35 cc's.

Here are some cute pictures of Dad and Eric hanging out.

What a smile.

Looks like Eric is winning the thumb wrestle with full-palm advantage.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Eric's first video

Starring Eric Thies

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New Bed

Eric is a big boy now and has successfully maintained his tempature. That means he gets to move to an open crib.

Check out his new bed.

He was busy checking out the world around him, looking all over and responding to the new sounds of the NICU.

His primary evening nurse is Donna. Eric really likes her. Eric was really alert while she was feeding him and was totally fixated on his little ducky. It is the perfect size for him to focus on (thanks Michelle & Sheryl).

Gramps Visits from Montana

Grandpa Ralph and Eric meet.

Eric slept through most of the visit, but Grandpa Ralph got to see him growing ( he grows a lot while he sleeps) and watch me fumble through a diaper change.

Here he is snoozing. I like this picture because it captures the view I see as I sit next to his bed watching his every move. You might notice there is no feeding tube (also called the OG tube) in his mouth. They take it out between feedings now that he is a little bit older and getting fed every 3 hours.

Monday, October 30, 2006

cute pics that I love

Eric's hair is getting so much thicker. I can't tell yet if it's going to be brown or blonde....

Look at that CHUNKY leg!!! He is filling out rapidly.

Grandpa Ralph and grandma Jeannie are visiting this week from Montana and we cruised Union St with frozen yogurt in hand. Believe it or not, this was Tara's first excursion outside of the home or hospital!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Big Day

Yesterday was a big day for us. Eric got to meet Grandpa Ralph and Grandma Jeanne. They were excited to finally meet each other.

Eric and I also experimented with breast feeding for the first time. I was a little nervous but Eric was very eager. Around 33 or 34 weeks (Eric is 33) is when babies are ready to begin developing the coordination to breast feed. Our nurse, Barbara, helped us get organized.

Our time was more of an exploration of the area to see what Eric would do. He found the boob no problem, but latching on was little more difficult for us. He needs to be a little stronger before he can suck hard enough, but he did get a few drops. When I tryed to move him back to my chest for kangarooing he wanted nothing to do with it and moved himself right back down to the boob. He has the right idea but it will definitely be a big learning process for both of us.

Eric also graduated to the next unit. They move babies to NICU West who don't need us much attention in the way of things like IV's or breathing machines. Nurses Saddam and Barbara, and respiratory therapist, Martha moved Eric over to his new room. He will have the same nurses and doctors, which he is very happy about because he has come to really like them. In fact these nurses are a lot like family. They are amazing and so supportive. The work they do is so special and huge. I hope they all know how important of people they area. I tell them all the time.

His new room is filled with a lot of his friends that were born around the same time as he was. He is still on monitors and receives oxygen through nasal canula. He is down to one liter of pressure on the oxygen. He started at five and as he grows bigger and stronger has needed less pressure.

Here is a picture of his new room. There are many more windows in this room and they begin cycling day and night by turning down the lights in the unit at night. They are able to do this more often in this unit than in NICU East because they aren't as busy. The nurse in the picture is Mary and you can see her shaking her hands dry after washing them, which they are doing constantly (and so are we).