Thursday, October 9, 2014

Barbarians at the Gate

Here you are, being adorable in a 
picture I should have cropped better...

Here you are, critically examining your grandmother

You are starting to rock the whole sitting up thing, 
though still refusing to admit that arms should have 
anything to do with it.

Dear Ellie,

Don't let those smiley pictures up there fool you.  There is trouble afoot.  As it turns out, all of your preemie problems aren't quite over with.  All of the things that wracked you most in the NICU and threatened your life have disappeared, but all of the things you utterly conquered in the NICU have returned to the gates, and now they are bellowing like barbarians.  Before your due date, you had an iron clad gut and an appetite that roared like a lion.  Unfortunately, over the past 3 months that appetite has become more like kitten's whimper.  Every two weeks or so, you get impatient with the way that we feed you and demand that we try some other, more complicated method to feed you... otherwise you refuse to eat.  First, you wanted to be carried in our arms.  Then you wanted to be carried in the Ergo.  Then you wanted to be fed in the Ergo while being walked up and down the stairs.  Last week, even that failed, and now, to get you to eat, your mother and I have to team up.  One of us walks you around in the Ergo and the other dances and sings 1990's cartoon theme songs.  You seem partial to Animaniacs.  I'm getting the impression that this is all some kind of ruse.  Like, you're a little infantile Queen, making outlandish decrees to your subjects for your own entertainment: "Today shalt be standith on thine head, day!  Now standith on thine heads or I shalt take thine heads!"  Given the current rate of escalation, I'm afraid that two weeks from now, the only way to feed you will be while riding a unicycle or surfing.  I'm not very good at either.  As your mother aptly put it, you don't need a parent right now.  You need a clown.  

Sadly, your mother and I can't always be here at the same time to entertain you while you eat so that means... you're going hungry.  Your mother keeps a spreadsheet on the subject and it appears you've even gone hungry enough to lose weight this previous month.  Scary.  On the upside, you stashed enough acorns in your cheeks, legs, and tummy to last a good chunk of the Winter.  But if these finicky habits continue for too much longer, we could be in a bad situation...    

So we're throwing every dart we've got and hope to hit a bulls-eye.  Swallow studies, feeding specialists, feeding clinics, you name it.  We don't want to wait any longer to get to the bottom of this.  We took a trip to the pediatrician recently and it was somewhat of a wake up call for me.  While there, you cried when the doctor picked you up with her cold hands.  When your shrieking started getting worse, the doctor reached for the bottle I'd prepared, thinking it would comfort you like it would most babies.  Once the nipple hit your lips, you had an utterly nauseated expression on your face and promptly threw up on everything.  This is really when I realized the extent of your feeding issues.  Eating isn't supposed to be a dreadful, anxious activity for a baby, yet it so often is for you.  Whenever I feed you, I feel like I'm walking on eggshells.  It's supposed to be the opposite.  Sadly, we still don't know what the underlying cause is.  We thought at first that it was reflux, but the gastrointestinal specialist officially ruled that out.

If worse comes to worst, we could always snake another tube down into your stomach like back in the NICU.  I've been criticized by parents of full-term babies for not finding that prospect absolutely horrifying.  I guess you get used to these things.

So anyway, your mother and I are see-sawing between intense worry and optimism.  Optimism, because despite the fact that you SHOULD be hungry (and irritable as a result), you are still a smiling, laughing, active baby that is hitting all of her important milestones.

You discovered that you had feet not too long ago.  That was a big one.  You've been rolling over on a whim when you want a better look at stuff.  And of course, you've gotten much, much better at sitting!  Other milestones include the throat-punching-daddy milestone and the grabbing-daddy's-glasses milestone and the stabbing-daddy's-newly-exposed-eye milestone.  I'm still waiting for the recoil-in-pain-at-having-grabbed-daddy's-stubble milestone, but patience in all things I suppose...


  1. Could this little darlin' get any cuter?!?! She is such a little doll. Love that she's hitting milestones, pray that the eating issues will clear up. Hugs!

    1. Yeah, she's a little smiling maniac. She's actually developing her stranger danger skills right now, but she's still a little sweetie for everyone.

  2. So sorry to hear Ellie is struggling with eating. Hopefully The studies will identify the issue soon and this still be a small bump in the road.

  3. Thanks Linda! Yeah, we're just hoping that her appetite isn't very big. She's started gaining a little bit of weight again.