|Before: tube fed only (notice the white tube going in his t-shirt)|
|After: eating by mouth!|
It was going to take a few days to see if this medicine was really going to work. Meanwhile, an occupational therapist who specialized in infants with difficult feeding issues came to observe Christopher. Believe me, he was going to have his work cut out for him. He had worked with a lot of babies before, but Christopher would prove to be quite a difficult challenge.
The first thing he did was to watch to see if Christopher sucked on his bottle properly, if he could swallow correctly, and if he had good positioning of his body during feeding. He also looked to see how Christopher and I interacted as he was attempting to eat. Christopher still wasn't too interested in eating, but he did enough so that the feeding specialist could get an idea of how he was doing. He noticed right away how "limber" Christopher was as he performed his back bends for the doctor. The feeding specialist recommended a different feeding position or two, but none of it worked. He said that Christopher's sucking and swallowing looked normal, but clearly his refusal to eat showed that eating was not a pleasant experience for him. He could see the look of frustration on both our faces. I think he was frustrated too and probably a little perplexed. This was not going to be easy.
When Christopher began vomiting, the feeding specialist got a good idea of what we had been going through. He said that this was definitely NOT normal, and that he was NOT surprised at all that Christopher had become dehydrated and had been losing weight. His lack of interest in feeding combined with his constant throwing up was dangerous. I couldn't help but think...how did all those other doctors miss this?
Over the next 6 weeks we would spend a lot of time working with the feeding specialist. We would try out some pretty bizarre strategies. Everything from different types of formula to adding flavorings to his formula. In time we would even find ourselves trying to feed him through a tube in his nose.
The whole thing seemed so surreal to me. I had never conceived of the idea that feeding your baby could be so difficult. I had never experienced anything like this with my other children, and I didn't know anyone else who did either. I had always thought that feeding time was such a natural bonding time. How had it become such a battle? I no longer looked forward to sitting with my child and feeding him. It had become such an uncomfortable, painful experience for both of us but especially for him. Who could blame him?
It would all just take time, and time here in the hospital was so mixed up. Usually I didn't even know what time it was. It just didn't seem to matter. Day or night, it was all the same...different day, same problems.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can pray like this: