Thursday, December 2, 2010

Food fight ...

Though it may be very, very hard to believe (from the size of those cheeks), learning to eat, digesting and happily accepting meals has always been a challenge for Beatrice Kate.

Shortly after she was born, she began receiving small amount of breastmilk through a feeding tube in the NICU. Starting with just .5 mL (less than a 1/8 of a teaspoon), a tiny pump would feed her over the course of 30 minutes every three hours. Before the next feeding could happen, her nurse would come by, feel her tummy to ensure it was nice and soft and check for residuals. "Residuals" is the term that's used to describe the amount of "leftover" (undigested) milk still remaining in Bea's belly. Beatrice Kate almost always had some leftover; but as long as it was less than half of what she initially received and wasn't green or weird looking; she was given more milk.

Frequently, her feeds were started and stopped, reduced and increased depending on her digestion's mood that day. When she didn't do as great of a job after a meal; her next feeding was "held" and she was supplemented with TPN through her PICC line. One day, I came in to find my little girl lethargic and "sleepy" seeming. Her primary nurse, Anne, told me that she had been having very large and, more troubling, green residuals throughout the night and into the morning. Also, Anne said, her belly wasn't so soft anymore; but had become tight and slightly distended and she had had 5 apnea and bradycardia episodes in an hour!

There are not words to describe the fear that I felt in that moment; so I won't even begin to try.

During rounds, her team of doctors came by and talked about several reasons that Bea could be acting this way. After going through the "probable" things like infections or difficulty adjusting to the transition into an isolette (she has been transfered two days prior), they  threw out the term "Necrotizing Entercolitis (NEC)" as a possible culprit. My heart stopped. I knew what NEC was and I knew it was B.A.D. news. I prayed so hard that it wasn't NEC right there on the spot.

It took every ounce of pride and strength I had not to break into hysterical sobs in front of her team of doctors. Instead, I just stood there, shell-shocked, with tears streaming down my face, nodding away as they put together a game plan to get her better, fast. A round of blood and urine cultures were ordered and I begged them to please wait and see how she reacted to some generic/broad spectrum antibiotics before they attempted a lumbar puncture on her. They agreed. A course of gentamicin and ampicillin were ordered to start immediately, and her feedings would be held overnight.

Then, I got online and updated her CarePage, called Casey and all our family to send out a prayer request across the state. I often joke that Beatrice Kate is the most prayed over child in North Carolina- but it's not a joke. She really is and that day was proof positive of it.Within hours of receiving the antibiotics, Beatrice Kate returned to her normal, feisty self; fighting with the nurses for blood draws and screaming at everyone who bothered her (Such, a diva!).

Her blood and urine cultures never showed any sign of trouble. We still don't know what caused her to have such a bad day; except that maybe she was breathing too fast (called tachypnea) and receiving a small amount of room air through a nasal cannula seemed to help.

Anyway... the point of telling you all this is to set up the background for the fact that we only recently began giving Beatrice Kate solid foods. We were advised by both her pediatrician and the neonatologists at UNC and REX to wait until she was around 5-6 months corrected age before we began because of her history of unsuccessful digestion!

So when 5/8 months came and Bea was reaching for our forks out of our mouths... we thought it may be time. After a bit of rice cereal:
Not so bad...
We thought we were in business. She LOVED it; screaming for more after she ate the last bite of every bowl. So, we moved on to carrots. They were super sweet, right? And carrots are so nutritious and yummy....
Looks like a winner ...
Next up, we tried butternut squash.Who doesn't like the creamy, velvety, slightly-sweet butternut squash? Yep, you guessed it...
Please Mommy, no. more. squash. PLEASE!
After a few days and a lot of spit-out butternut squash, we moved on to apple. Her first fruit! Every baby loves apple, right?
Why is there butternut squash in my apple, lady?
We have a really great video of her enjoying apple and jumping in her jumper at same time (she's quite multi-talented), but I can't get our Flip Cam software to work today, so I'll repost the video later this evening hopefully!

Next up, roasted sweet potatoes. I first attempted to give her a sampling of these during Thanksgiving dinner. She wouldn't even open her mouth. So, I made a fresh batch of just sweet potato and this is the result:
First bite...
Processing ...
Miss Independent already.
 Finally, we've since moved on to pears. At first, she didn't know what to do with the texture. With every bite, she shivered and gagged:

What is this crap?

Then, she finished the entire bowl and even had a sizeable portion of apple/pear combo this morning after her milk breakfast:
Stuffed to the brim ...
Next on the table to try in the coming weeks: rutabaga, parsnip, peas, avocado, banana and broccoli. We're going to ask Dr. Calm (our pediatrician) next week when we should start meats! Stay tuned ...

1 comment:

  1. LOVE the pics!!! and the gagging one, I must say, is very funny!!! Glad you included it :)