Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stinky's tummy

Sometimes when you think you can't take another minute, God shows you the "way out."

See this little sweetie?

That's Stinky, just short of 2 months old.  And he's SLEEPING!  When this picture was taken, sleep was a relatively new phenomenon for this little guy.  You see, Stinky was born 3 full weeks early...a "borderline preemie."  He was a little guy (7 pounds, 19 inches) who had dropped down to 6 pounds by the time he was 4 days old.  Still, by 2 weeks he was nearly back to his birthweight, so we weren't at all concerned.

At about a month old, this little guy began screaming ALL night.  He'd cough until he was literally choking.  He coughed up phlegm.  He vomitted constantly!  He was breastfed and by the time he'd get to the next feeding, he'd be spitting up curdled milk.  When baby doesn't sleep, mommy doesn't sleep, so we were both super tired and super cranky every minute of the day!  I knew he didn't feel well, but I didn't know how to help him.

I took Stinky to the pediatrician to see if he could figure out what was wrong.  He told me "some babies cry a lot," and "some babies spit up a lot," and "some babies take a while to figure out sleeping at night."  I understood that but wasn't happy about it.  I know SOME babies do one of those things, but I also know it isn't common for one baby to do all of them.  He told me to come back in 2 weeks if Stinky wasn't better.  I waited a week and then told him I wanted to come in again.

To "appease the mother" Stinky's pediatrician ordered an upper GI (yes, those were the words he said to his nurse).  He ordered it on Tuesday and we had the test done on Friday.  On Monday morning first thing I got a call from the scheduler for Riley Hospital's GI department.  Apparently our pediatrician had found something he didn't like in th eupper GI and referred him to a specialist.  After speaking briefely with the scheduler, the specialist himself called and said he'd like to see Stinky as soon as possible, but he'd like him to have a "gastric emptying study" first.  He'd cleared some time that Friday to see Stinky because it was an "emergency" and had already scheduled the test for Tuesday, the very next day!

It turns out, mommy was right.  Stinky has a condition called Gastroparesis, aka delayed stomach emptying, aka a "sleepy stomach."  Luckily, most patients grow out of it.  Luckily, most cases are treatable with low doses of maintenance antibiotics to encourage stomach contractions.  Luckily Stinky reacted well to the antibiotics!

Within a week, he was a happy baby!  He was smiling, he was sleeping, he was eating and he was growing.  Stinky was happier and we were happier!  At 3 months Stinky slept through the night...every night...for about a week!

AND he caught some ZZZZs on the beach in North Carolina. 

Within 6 weeks of starting meds, he graduated from them, with the understanding that typically gastroparesis is cyclical and it may come and go unti he grows out of it.  We were hopeful and prayerful that he would be one of the lucky few that never had a repeat episode!

Fast forward 7 months to yesterday morning.

For the third night in a row, Stinky had been up more than every other hour all night long.  For the seventh month in a row, we hadn't slept through the night an entire night.  Mommy was wearing out quickly.  So, when Stinky started stirring at 3am, I put my hand on him to try to calm him before he woke up completely and cried out to God, "What do we need to do?"

And INSTANTLY it hit me that his belly aches were more than belly aches.  His vomitting lately is more than a tummy bug.  The long sleepless nights and napless days are more than the little guy needing a cuddle. 

A quick call to the GI, several hours wait, and two trips to the pharmacy later, Stinky slept 3 hours straight last night!  I know that doesn't sound miraculous for a 10 1/2 month old baby.  But OH how blessed I felt to get not one but TWO 3 hour stretches of sleep last night!  Not only that, but he's been down for an entire hour for nap this morning!  YAY!

So, I'm telling you all this for two reasons. 

Number 1, if I've seemed a bit cranky or vacant for the last 3/4 of a year, it's because I haven't had more than 4 or 5 hours of interrupted sleep any given night since June.  I apologize.  I've tried to hold it together.  I'm doing my best.  Perhaps some friendships have suffered greatly, maybe even died entirely, because of it.  I'm very sorry.  I miss some of you greatly.  But my little Stinker, my family, comes first.

Number 2, God is good.  ALL the time.  We...I...forget sometimes that He has the answers.  Sometimes all we have to do is ask Him!  I'm praying for myself...that I would remember more readily the promises God's given me.  He's here.  He knows.  He'll help.  I just have to ask!


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