The other day it occurred to me that we hadn't done a website update in a few weeks, and I thought "Of course we haven't done an update. Nothing has happened in the last two weeks. And that's a good sign."
Their feedings were steadily increasing, and they were getting steadily bigger.
But I guess all of the little things that have happened in the last few weeks have added up to a lot of major things, so it's time to let the world know about them. Also, Chloe has had a few setbacks (which I'll tell you about in a few minutes).
Both kids have been learning to breastfeed. Owen does consistently better than Chloe. Out of a 30 minute feeding session, Owen usually actually feeds for 4 - 6 minutes (all added up, a minute or two at a time), while Chloe usually doesn't feed for a total of more than 2 or 3 minutes, and sometimes not at all. Owen gets to practice breastfeeding twice a day, but Chloe only did one try per day. (Right now she's not breastfeeding at all, but I''ll get to that later). When they're not being breast-fed, they get their meals through tubes in their noses that go down into their stomachs. Chloe gets 40 CC's of milk every 3 hours and Owen gets 55 CC's (for comparison, a can of soda has 355 CC's).
Chloe was doing very well breathing. She graduated from her nasal cannula (the little tube under her nose) and was breathing entirely on her own. Owen has never graduated from the cannula. He still gets a half of a liter per minute of air through it, but there are no tubes into his lungs (the cannula just sits on his upper lip and the tubes go about a quarter of an inch into each of his nostrils).
And the kids are big. Owen weighs 5 lbs 14 oz (almost 6 pounds!!!) and Chloe actually weighs 5 lbs 6 oz (but that is a bit of a trick. Read on for details).
Okay, so now that I've mentioned all of the events of the last 2 weeks, I'll get up to date: Chloe had laser eye surgery on Thursday of this week. On Wednesday, an opthalmologist did an exam on the eyes of both Chloe and Owen, looking particularly at their retinas. Owen was doing fine, but the doctor said that Chloe had stage 3 Retinopathy of Prematurity. I'll try to explain it myself, ,but I don't think I understand it very well, so you can read more about it by clicking here. The essential idea is that the blood vessels in the retina start to grow abnormally. If the blood vessels don't heal themselves, they may eventually cause the retina to pull away from the back of the eye, causing permanent blindness. So, instead of blindness, we opted to have the doctor perform surgery. Since 60% of her retinas had already developed normally, he used to laser to arrest the abnormal development of the remaining 40%, which threatened to encroach on the normal portion of the eye. He fired the laser about 2000 times in each eye. Julie and I were able to be in the room during the procedure, observing the whole thing. Chloe is doing well now, but we won't know whether the procedure was a success for another two or three weeks. The reason that her weight is up is that she is swollen following the procedure, so she's likely to drop at least a few ounces over the next week.
To do the procedure, they had to put her on morphene and some other drug that immobilized her movement, so they had to put her back onto the ventilator for the surgery. It will take her a little while to get back to normal. She pulled out her tubes this afternoon, so they let her try breathing on her own for a little while, but she did't do so well, so they put her back on the ventilator. Hopefully she won't be on the ventilator for much longer than a week or so.
She was moved to her own room so that they could perform the surgery (she needed to be in her own bed), but now they've brought Owen into the room (in his own bed), and it's nice to have everybody together again.
So that's about all there is to say now. I'll update the website as soon as we know anything else about anything.