Forward Progress Only, Please

Maybe we jinxed ourselves by being part of a news report on how good he was doing?

Maybe it’s teething?  It’s true, teething can cause regression in other development areas.

Maybe, as was suggested by his doctor today, it’s because of all the gross motor development he’s been doing?

Maybe he was getting bored with the limited varieties of food his allergies allow him to eat.

Maybe he’s not as hungry after we went up on his formula calories?

I don’t know, what’s caused it, but I’m guessing you have already figured out Owen’s not doing so well with eating lately.  Actually, it’s pretty much been since Thanksgiving.  He was orally eating 300-400 calories a day, but now, he’s getting 50-70 on a good day.

We still sit three times a day, but most days he only eats one of the three.  I keep repeating to him (and myself) “I will not give up.  I will not give up.  I will not give up.”

We keep trying new foods.  Pickles, watermelon, apples dipped in caramel, carrots dipped in ranch dressing (allergy note, most ranch dressing brands have eggs), beef jerky, fruit leather.  He even gets Noosa Yoghurt where the frivolous use of the ‘h’ stands for “heck of a lot of money”.  That ‘h’ may also stand for “holy smokes, this is delicious”.  Of the luxury yogHurt, Owen will take a few bites of it, but it’s still not large amounts.

I try to keep focusing on the fact that he is still leaps and bounds ahead of where he was this summer when he wouldn’t swallow.  If I can get the spoon in his mouth before he slaps my hand away, he does swallow it.  He’s continuing to sample new textures and flavors, even if he’s not eating, he does explore foods most of the times that we sit to eat.  Also, each session at the table is great for his fine and gross motor skills.  He’s starting to throw food (not one of my favorite milestones), he’s really got that gravity concept and pincer grasp down.  He pinches food with his thumb and index finger and releases it to the floor with a smile (some milestones are much more exciting to this mom than others) and he’s communicating wonderfully when I say, “Owen do you want to eat?” and he shakes his head emphatically “no” (excuse the mellow drama, but… “just stab me in the heart, Owen”).

Just behind, “I will not give up.  I will not give up.  I will not give up” is “Thank God for g-tubes, Thank God for g-tubes, Thank God for g-tubes”.

I’d been warned by many that this would likely happen several times in his learning to eat.  I do realize that learning is not linear.  I can rationalize it to death.

Truth is, going backwards stinks.  But Owen won’t hear it from me.  “I will not give up.  I will not give up.  I will not give up…..”

© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster

16 thoughts on “Forward Progress Only, Please

  1. Ugh. I so vividly recall the NICU mantra of 2 steps forward, 1 step back. And how much I wanted to scream, “Enough with your stupid dance! I don’t want to go up, down, back and forth. Upwards and onward people!”

  2. Tatum you are a superhero of epic proportions and owen is as well. It is not in your makeup to give up and obviously not in Owens. Kyle and the boys are soooo lucky to have such a determined and loving wife and mom. Keep your cup half full!

  3. We too have been regressing with eating since Thanksgiving. I think it’s a combo of the head cold that won’t go away, unexplained all of a sudden poor sleeping habits, teething, and an ear infection (diagnosed as of today). Although I don’t wish for a g tube, there are certainly days I’ve wished I had another way to get my girl some calories! We too are at least making progress in other areas (now rolling)! I keep telling myself she’ll do better tomorrow… It will be true eventually!

  4. Oh yes, Tricia. My favorite would be the NICU doctors saying, “this isn’t really a backward step…just, kind of, a sideways step. And, I would think, “sideways doesn’t get him home!”

  5. Oh Tatum- that part is the worst! So hard to see them go backwards and I think it is okay to be frustrated- especially when it is so hard to know why. You are amazing- and keep hanging in there! If Owen has half of the determination and tenacity that you have, watch out!

    When Sonoma would go backwards, the physical therapists would say: “sonoma isn’t doing this and sonoma isn’t doing that, etc, etc, etc” and Kyle would remind me, “But sonoma IS!! And for a while there, we didn’t even know if she would survive”. Great perspective…

      • Oh- I don’t know about that! But we try! I wish I had your blog when I was in the thick of my post-NICU experiences. You have an amazing way of saying what we all think & feel!

  6. This sounds so very familiar. Our journey to get Jack to eating all his calories orally was the most stressful, long, drawn out thing. Back and forth he went. Jack only really responded when true hunger was introduced around the age of 2 (not that he hadn’t been starving at times before then… it’s just like a light bulb went off at 2). Anyway, I hear ya. This is the preemie journey, that is for sure. Jack used to have over 25 words when he was around a yearish old. Now he barely has 5. I feel like this whole back and forth thing is just our life! But yeah, it totally stinks!

  7. For me, the feeding backslides are always a special kind of heartbreak. You are clearly being heroic and brave and oh-so patient in your efforts. I often gave up on new textures in favor of calories, so kudos for you for introducing and persisting with all of the new stuff. I know it will pay off. Having looked at your list of suspects, (and not that you’ve asked for my opinion!) I totally blame the teething and the formula. Every time we went up on my son’s calories, he either stopped eating or started puking–sometimes both! And I find that any time a kid who isn’t a natural oral feeder feels off, his eating regresses.
    As for the jinx, I have blog jinxed myself so many times!
    Apologies for the ramble. Really just wanted to say I hear you, I’m sorry, and you’re doing great!

    • I’m still mostly convinced it’s from being on the news on Thanksgiving – but you make good points on the more logical suspects. I was doing the calories over textures since he wasn’t getting any calories, I’ve switched to textures and less focus on calories. Lots of trial and error. Thanks for the pingback! I love reading your blog.

  8. Maybe it’s an Owen thing. Mine hasn’t been eating very well of late either. Well, he really never has…almost every bottle is a battle and it is a toss up who will win each battle. However, at least he had been taking good volumes during these bottles. Until late, when the volumes have dropped significantly. I pray that bringing my milk to 26 calories makes up for the lack of volume. My mantra is often, “Just keep eating, just keep eating, just keep eating.” I would like to see Finding Nemo 3D to be reminded by Ellen’s great voice just where my mantra started! Hoping the Owens can get back to eating better. Just keep eating, don’t give up, I think they can, I think they can….pretty soon we will hopefully say, “I thought they could!”

    • I love your attitude, Stacy. Sending good feeding vibes for your Owen. Seems like our little Owen’s like having things in common!

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