Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Counting Blessings

Well, now that the kids are in bed, I'll finish out my last post. This is probably going to be more of a post for me than anyone else.

I think this is the worst day Lana has had in over a year as far as her formula/Nutren goes. She ended the day having taken only 10.75 oz. She drank almost 8 oz. of juice on her own, but she is almost 300 calories shy of goal. I really hope that once she's feeling better, she picks up close to where we left off. On days like these, it really helps me to look back and think about how far we have come. This could be a long post!

In July of 2005 when she was about 4 months old, Lana finally completely refused to eat. She had gradually been showing more and more aversion. I never would have imagined that an infant would completely refuse to eat to the point of dehydration until I experienced it myself. We pushed through it and had her eating for a while, and then it happened again. I didn't want to go through the heartache again, and began feeding her in her sleep. I would wait until she was sleeping, gently pick her up, and she would suck in her sleep. We did this for six months. Needless to say, it was difficult. I had two other babies and a sweet little boy to care for. I had to be creative and stick to a tight scedule. But that's a long story in itself.

Near the end of those six months, she was ready to nap a lot less, and started to either not fall asleep or wake up when I tried to feed her. We had put off the inevitable struggle, but it was time to face it once again. I finally decided to try feeding her by syringe. At first I could only get her to take very small amounts, and it took a lot of distraction! I put on a Baby Einstein video and kept handing her toys and playing with her as I gave her about 3 mls at a time from the syringe. Gradually this became easier. We were also trying to get her eating baby food with her sisters, but she would only allow tiny amounts into her mouth. We kept trying, knowing that taste and texture experiences, no matter how small, would help her. If she allowed any food into her mouth, and especially if she swallowed it, we showered her with praise.

After a while, we got her to the point where she would drink some of her Nutren on her own from a straw. She would eat something one day (like half of a graham cracker) and we would get so excited! We would give her one the next day and she wouldn't want anything to do with it. Finally we tried cheese puffs--something she would eat consistently because they completely melt in her mouth and have a bolder flavor.

We have had a lot of ups and downs, in eating and weight. When she would get sick, she would almost invariably lose a whole pound--a pound that usually took a month or more to gain. At times she would actually drink her whole bottle by straw while at others she wouldn't drink any. Before this most recent crisis, I was particularly pleased with her efforts to overcome her gag reflex on her own. She is now chewing and swallowing small quantities of many foods. We went to McDonalds one day, and she was determined to eat some french fries. She would chew for a while, gag, and even throw up a little, but she kept working on it.

Through all of her difficulties, she has been a sweet and loving little girl. I remember one instance, when I was still getting up at 4AM to feed her in her sleep. Unfortunately, she woke up and I was attempting to feed her by syringe. It was not going well and I was starting to get really frustrated. Without warning, she gently put her little hand on my arm and gave me a sweet caress. It felt like a direct message from Heavenly Father. I immediately picked her up, crying, and just held her close. The feeding was over. I put her to bed and thanked Him for our sweet little girl.

There are times when I have wondered what it would have been like to have just Everett and Lana, or Everett and Maddie and Gwyn so that I could care for them better, but I wouldn't trade any of my children for anything. Through these trials that are "but a moment", they fill my heart with joy.

September '06

August '06

Lana September '06

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