Today Kathryn is 4 weeks old!!! We have lots of news to tell!!
Kathryn continues to do well. Her weigh in last night was 620 grams, which is 1#, 6 oz!!! As I said yesterday, her head ultrasound and her chest xray were normal!!! That felt wonderful to type!! Her chest xray showed that she should technically be on higher ventilator settings than what she is on. She is on 40 - 50% oxygen, but her xray showed that she should be on about 80%. Basically, what I take from that (and Dr. Strange confirmed this) is that she is doing better than she should be doing according to xrays!! (That's your prayers and ours at work!!) She has pretty much been on 35-50% oxygen since birth. Room air we breathe is 21% oxygen I think, so she isn't that much above room air. Dr. Strange says that she is on moderate ventilator settings. She really wishes that Kathryn could be lower, but she seems to require 40-50% lately. According to Dr. Strange, some babies start out on lower settings and then go up, so it is good that Kathryn has stayed steady, but we want to get her down!! No one can hold her (not the nurses and doctors or Greg and I) until she gets off that ventilator!! So, I asked how she gets off the ventilator. Dr. Strange said it's a combination of her growing and getting nutrition. That said, here is the next piece of BIG news.
They started "feeding" her formula through her tube. Actually, the amount that she is getting is so minor, that they don't call it feeding, instead it is called "gut priming." She basically gets 1/2 cc every 6 hours. In a 24 hour period, she gets 2 cc. To put it in perspective, a teaspoon is 5 cc, so Kathryn has 2/5 of a teaspoon per day. Huge nutrition for such a tiny girl; I think the rest of us would starve though!!! They check her residual to see how she is doing in "digesting" it. So far, she is doing well with it. They don't want to go too fast with feeding because with babies this small, the risk with feeding is called NEC. It is short for necrotizing enterocolitis, which is an intestinal infection unique to preemies. Basically, part of the intestine can be destroyed or perforated and it can cause serious issues in feeding. Because of the dangers of this, the doctors and nurses go very slow on feeding babies this little in hopes to avoid it. All this said, she does NOT have NEC at this point and hopefully she will not get it.
We also found out that her labs have moved up to every 12 hours, which is another great thing for her. If she can stay stable enough for them to continue with every 12 hour labs, she may eventually be able to get her UAC line out. That's the line that caused the purple toes, so getting it out would be another great step!!
Anyway, we've had a few great days with Kathryn and I certainly can't believe that she is already 4 weeks old!! 28 days in the NICU and counting. Please keep praying for Kathryn!! She is getting bigger and stronger by our prayers and Greg, Madelyn and I are able to face each new day smiling because of the peace we get from these prayers and the love and support we receive!!
Love to all!! Kelly