June 04, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

Ron and Laura Califf of La Grande are on pins and needles but they have reason to be cautiously optimistic following the birth of their son, Connor William, on Saturday.

Connor suffers from omphalocele, an unusual condition that doctors diagnosed several months before his birth. Connor was born at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland at 10:04 a.m. Saturday.

An operation to help correct Connors condition was performed Sunday morning at Doernbecher Childrens Hospital.

He is in critical but stable condition, Ron Califf said this morning. ...The doctors are pretty pleased so far.

Because of his condition, Connors liver and part of his intestines had grown in a membrane on the outside of his body because the skin around his abdomen did not completely close.

On Sunday doctors were able to put Connors liver and portion of the small intestine back in place and close the skin.

Another operation to close Connors abdominal wall muscles will be conducted in six months to a year.

Connor is on a ventilator but is breathing partially on his own, his dad said. A patch had to be put on his liver during the operation because it started bleeding. The patch will dissolve.

Connor also has received a blood transfusion.

This is a lot for the little guy to go through, Califf said.

Connor weighs 6 pounds and is 18.5 inches long.

He has a lot of dark hair, Califf said.

Connor has been heavily sedated since the surgery.

We have not been able to hold him yet, Califf said.

The many people who are helping the Califfs in La Grande include Jerry and Jennifer Brookshire of Figaros Italian Kitchen, 1903 Fourth St. They will donate $2 from each giant pizza sold on Tuesdays in June to the Califfs to help them with their expenses.

We really appreciated everything people are doing. The community has been wonderful, Califf said.