It seems like the most natural thing to do next to breathing. But we’ve learnt that we shouldn’t take anything for granted, not even eating. It’s a gift from God, this life we have and all the things we can do, every morning that we wake, every breath that we take. It’s a gift from God, this precious little girl that we have, and today we celebrate 2 months of her life!
As we celebrate 2 months of Anna’s life, many people, concerned friends, have been asking about her, so I’m posting an update about Anna here.
This last month, the challenging part about taking care of Anna is her eating. Because of her cleft palate and the Pierre Robin Sequence that sometimes restricts her airways, she struggles with eating. Firstly, she can’t nurse or use a normal bottle. We use a special nipple for cleft palate babies to feed her. While feeding, she sometimes struggles to breathe because of the difficulty in coordinating the swallowing and breathing, and her sucking is weak because of the cleft palate.
She was eating quite well for a while but recently had not been taking in more than 50 or 60ml, and that is after 30-45 minutes. We saw the geneticist on Tuesday and she was concerned about her eating and growth, just as we were. She was in the 3rd percentile in weight, although her height was 50th percentile and her head circumference was 25th percentile. So she scheduled a visit to the speech therapist and dietician for us, and we saw them on Friday (yes, we make quite a number of trips to the children’s hospital for all her doctor appointments). The speech therapist helps to monitor her feeding – the way she swallows and breathes while feeding. I really think the title doesn’t match their job completely, although they also do speech therapy for older children. They should have a ‘cum swallowing specialist’ added to their title or something.
The outcome of the visit to the speech therapist (cum swallowing specialist) and dietician is a feeding plan we have to follow closely and a squeezy bottle to help squeeze out the milk when her sucking isn’t strong enough. We are also adding a little formula to her milk (she’s on full breast milk) to help increase her calorie intake. All with the aim of helping her put on weight and as she grows bigger, she should be able to eat better too.
It can get tiring to take care of a baby full time, especially a baby who needs special care, but we have so much to be thankful for. For one, Anna is such a sweet little baby. She doesn’t scream and demand things, she sits (or lays) quietly for long periods of time. (Even as I’m writing this, she’s been laying in her crib quietly for almost 45 minutes! I hope it continues this way and that she’ll learn to put herself to sleep in her crib every night!) And she has begun to smile and talk a lot this month. She is such a joy to be with. It really makes taking care of her so much easier and fun. Just need somebody to take care of that giant pile of laundry because I’d much rather spend time with my baby and boys. 🙂
Another thing we can be thankful for is the quality of medical care we can get these days. I was born with a cleft palate too and back in those days, there wasn’t much to help, although surgery was already available (and cost $50!!). My mom and grandma had to spoon feed me till I had surgery at 18 months. Now we have a special bottle and nipple to help Anna eat, and I am thankful for that.
As the title of this post says, we should never take eating for granted. From having to syringe feed her after birth, seeing her hospitalized and having to be tubefed, to her being able to drink from a bottle, her eating has really improved. I can never forget the first time we gave her a bottle, which is on the 8th day of her life. When she immediately started sucking, such an immense sense of relief washed over me. We would have had to continue tube feeding her at home if she couldn’t drink from a bottle. And we know babies with PRS had had to be fed that way quite often. And just this morning (3am in the morning), when she finished 60ml (which is our goal per feed for now) in just 15 minutes, again I was filled with such joy and relief. We were still struggling to make her eat 50ml in 30 minutes yesterday. So I say, there can be such joy in something as seemingly simple as eating. Maybe we’ll learn to be more thankful each time we eat, just to be able to eat. 🙂
Anna is about 3.9kg now, measures 56cm and her head circumference is 36.5cm. She smiles and talks and loves to interact with people. She sleeps well at night and plays in the day. She loves her gym mat and teddy bear. And her eyes are turning darker to be like mommy and her brothers’ eyes.
You can read more updates about Anna in the category AnnaLog, click on the AnnaLog page or click here. Thank you for standing with us in prayer as you read about her, and for loving Anna and our family. God bless you richly. And happy 2-month birthday my Anna Joy! ❤