Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reflux Chronicle: Passing the First Hurdle

Look at me! I can walk in Mommy's boots! (Picture by Karley B.)

We are nearing the one-month mark of our g-tube free trial. For the first 20+ days, Charlotte met all of her benchmarks, consistently averaging enough calories (combined fluid and solids) not need the tube.

Additionally, she has begun to run to the table at mealtime, ask if she can carry things to the table, and feed herself the first several bites if she's really hungry. Part of this behavior is evolutionary (it was beginning at the end of last year).

Partly, I attribute it to another milestone in Charlotte's life: she started daycare on January 7. Two days a week, while I teach, she is the warm, loving environment of a home daycare provider in my neighborhood. Janet and Ramie, her assistant, take care of 7 to 10 children (depends on the day), all under 3 years old. Most of the children seem to be within 6 months of Charlotte. So, she has some peer behavior modeling, different adults working with her, and a real sense of achievement. We LOVE daycare! (More on that in a few days.)

The first hurdle: As we got to week three of our tube-free trial, Charlotte came down with a cold which then turned into a cough. Her pediatrician diagnosed her with a-typical pneumonia and put her on z-pac antibiotics. Not surprisingly, Charlotte was pretty disinterested in food for about a week. Even the usual lure of chicken soup "with letters in it" didn't perk her up. We didn't force it, let her eat what she would, and tried to pack high calories into her low volume.

This is the test--can she bounce back after an illness, eating enough food and ending the two months with the appropriate weight gain. (In other words, if she loses weight during an illness, does she gain it back as effectively as "regular" kids?)

Within 3 days of antibiotics she was eating eagerly again, though her liquid volume is still down a bit.

And, according to our bathroom scale, she didn't lose an ounce! We have an "official" weight check with the pediatricianon 2/12.

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