The biggest obstacle to the girls coming home is that they need to learn to feed so that they can have their feeding tubes removed. They still haven’t made a lot of progress on this front since last update, but that is not a huge surprise; takes a while to build endurance. There are two methods the hospital uses (Lara has one more method, ummm, up her sleeve?), Katarina feeding through a tube:
Natasha feeding through a bottle:
Generally Katarina is trying harder but still hampered by her lungs – gets tired easily. Natasha has been, well, lazy – big enough, but gets halfway through, falls asleep and is happy to get fed through the tube. Today though, she took 2 feeds in record time so she might be getting better at it!
So current score….I mean, weight: Katarina has increased to 2.38 kg (5lb 4oz) which means she has put on a ½ pound in 4 days, probably needs a laxative, and also now needs “newborn” diapers/nappies. So she is really starting to fill out – she started off as a sort of flesh colored version of Megamind (without the goatee), then morphed into Homer Simpson with the occasional dash of Stewie Griffin but now is starting to look like a proper young lady. A lady that is obviously in desperate need of female cartoon character role models…here are some photos. If you flick your eyes between the two quickly it looks like she is dancing.
Natasha is up to 2.85 kg (6lb 4oz) and I think it is all going into her head, because that just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Here is a photo, burrito mode on the left.
and video (http://youtu.be/DthmnzaMTz8).We don’t have many videos of Katarina but that is mostly because we are taking them on our phone and Katarina is in the dark part of the room so you can’t see anything (damn phone! Why can’t it take better video!!! wait, what!? Why is my phone taking video?). But, I just got a early birthday present of a handycam so hopefully we will be able to get better moving pictures of Katarina.
Oh, and want a new definition of bittersweet? Katarina got her first Amgen drug today: EPO (erythropoietin). Her hematocrit levels have been a little low so the nurse practitioner came by and said that they could give her a blood transfusion or there was another option. She was surprised when I said “you want to give her EPO, yeah?”. For those people who don’t spend their working days growing vats of hamster cells: EPO is the hormone that stimulates red blood cell production and so should improve her hematocrit levels by helping to promote red blood cell production from the bone marrow (whereas transfusions tend to provide the red blood cells but suppress the bone marrow production). The main side effect is that it puts her out of contention for this year’s Tour de France (but only if she is caught using it!)