April 4, 2013

Olivia's eating

Several of you have asked about Olivia's eating the past few weeks and I realized I never blogged about her swallow study that we did in March at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.  After consulting with the nutritionist, speech therapist and developmental pediatrician at the UAMS Center for Children in early March, it was decided that it would be very beneficial for Olivia to have a swallow study done so we could know for sure if she was aspirating or not during feedings.  Aspiration can lead to lots of other eating and digestive problems so the sooner we could get that figured out the better.  Olivia had one swallow study during her time in the NICU but there was little to no signs of aspiration so deep down in our hearts we knew that wouldn't be an issue but we needed to rule it out to figure out how to help Olivia gain weight.  So off to Little Rock we went.

Fortunately, Jason has a flexible job and was able to go with us.  And we got to stop in Conway and see my sister.

This girl wasn't sure what to think about this big hospital!

And she gave us quite the challenge to get her to eat during the actual swallow study.  Swallow studies are quite difficult because of the positioning and surroundings in the x-ray room.  Olivia was basically sitting up and I was standing in front of her attempting a bottle.  The first try was a complete fail.  Olivia was screaming and not even wanting to try the bottle.  Unfortunately, Children's books swallow studies pretty close together so we only had a window of about 15 minutes to try.  After 10 minutes the nurses suggested we just give her some time and maybe they could squeeze us in again after the next baby.  I was SO discouraged.  We had just driven 3 hours and it wasn't looking like we would even get to do the study.  Jason sent out a prayer plea to several friends and family members while I met with the speech/feeding specialists.  And thankfully my sister spoke up and asked for another chance at the swallow study.  We were determined to not come back to NWA without it! :)  Thankfully we had about 10 minutes between two other tests for the doctor to see us so we were able to try one more time.  And the second time, Olivia did phenomenal!  She drank like a champ and didn't even fuss in the chair.  And PRAISE THE LORD there were no signs of aspiration!  In fact, we only had to do one round of thickness (which was actually just her milk with no additional thickening agent) to get the answer we needed.

We finished a little interview with the feeding specialists, got our discharge papers and were on our way back to NWA.

Sweet baby girl was completely worn out!  She did great on our day trip to and from Children's Hospital and we were all so very thankful to be home and with great news!
 
To those of you who have been praying, THANK YOU!  This has been and will continue to be a long road for Olivia but thankfully we are on our way to finding answers to Olivia's eating issues.