- Fed by NG tube from birth through 2 months (Feb 28 - May 1)
- Fairly severe reflux from 4-6 weeks; vomiting stopped when we quit using formula fortifier to give extra calories to her breast milk feedings
- G-tube placement on May 1; began oral feeding attempts
- From 2-4 months of age (May - early July)--very little vomiting or spit-up episodes; making gains with oral feeds
- Starting in month 5 (mid-July, following a move to higher altitude), more and more reflux and vomiting episodes, culminating in a trip to the ER shortly after her 6-month birthday (Aug 31)
- During the hospital stay, discovered and treated a UTI with a round of antibiotics; started Zantac
- Zantac gave little visible relief; however, we discovered the "open syringe" method of feeding (like a gravity feed, allowing venting to happen during feeding times), and Verity had significant improvement. Hooray!
- Good feeding times lasted about 4 weeks (mid-September through mid-October)
- Discomfort during feeding, vomiting, and erratic bowel movements surfaced and lasted several weeks, getting progressively worse.
- Several doctors' visits plus pH probe in late October; increased Zantac dosage.
- Discovered another UTI after taking a culture October 27; treated with another round of antibiotics
Last weekend, almost immediately after returning home from the 24-hour pH probe in the hospital, Verity began having severe intestinal difficulties. The vomiting was insane; there was no sleep for any of us; and every feeding was incredibly stressful, to the point we skipped a feeding on Sunday and bought Pedialyte in a last-ditch effort to get something into her body so we could avoid an ER visit. We were having to scale back the volume of her feedings, at one point going as low as 70ml (we had been up as high as 95ml in early October).
I called Verity's GI doctor and her PCM; I discussed things in depth with our home nurse; I posted in Verity's Facebook group asking for prayers; and I posted in one of my Trisomy parent groups asking for insight. From Sunday night to Tuesday morning a huge transformation took place, and it became clear that we were on the right track!! So many people offered ideas and suggestions, and I promised to give an update, so here it is as best as we can put things together. As is probably often the case, multiple factors are undoubtedly in play, and we are hoping and praying that we have hit the right combination of things so that the relief she has had in the last 5-6 days will be long lasting indeed.
Here is what we did:
- Many people stated their children had reacted to antibiotics a week or so into the regimen. Verity had been on hers for a week, and we had seen a definite correlation to her major vomiting episodes and the feeding times that contained her antibiotic doses as well. So, starting Sunday, we separated the medicine from the feedings and instead gave it between times with plenty of water. Voila! The vomiting stopped!
- Unfortunately, the discomfort during feeding times did not stop. We wondered if the antibiotics were not adequately handling the UTI--both this episode and her other infection showed the E-coli strain of bacteria, and, having learned that their barbed shape makes them difficult to actually get rid of, we turned to a more natural solution that we felt good about giving Verity (unlike the antibiotics--which we dutifully finished despite our dislike of them). A friend recommended U.T. Vibrance, which Ted picked up on his way home from work on Monday. We gave Verity 2 doses Monday afternoon and evening, and by Tuesday morning, our nurse was amazed, saying, "This is not the same child I left yesterday!" Verity was completely relaxed all day Tuesday, and Tuesday through Thursday nights we actually got some decent sleep! She slept several hours straight, and then when she did wake up, it was only once an hour for a few hours. I think Ted was actually able to sleep one of those nights all the way through!
This tells me that Verity's UTI was indeed probably the biggest underlying cause for the vomiting and discomfort. Poor baby was MISERABLE, and it was absolutely heart-wrenching to hear her crying and to see her writhing her little body in pain. I would have done anything to take the pain and agony from her.
At the same time, we know we are still dealing with significant acid reflux--this morning Verity vomited for the first time in a week, and there are still times when she is fussy and we can tell she is feeling the acid in her esophagus. When I spoke with her GI doctor this past Tuesday, he told me that the pH probe showed that the acidity in her reflux is concerning...she was already on the highest dose of Zantac they could give her, and that was in her system during the test, so the levels of acid that she was STILL dealing with meant that we needed to take another step in relieving this for her.
Thus, a new medication, Prevacid, is on order. We were unable to get it for several days due to it being a "special order," and so we hope to have it in hand tomorrow so we can begin giving that to her (in place of the Zantac) and see if that makes a difference. If not...well, then I'm afraid we will have to consider surgery.
Meanwhile...it is Sunday evening, a week after our nightmare weekend, and I am incredibly thankful to be on the other side of THAT awfulness. Verity is resting peacefully during her feeding right now, almost but not quite asleep. We have had better rest than we've had for a long while, even though she has still awakened us multiple times the last couple of nights. Overall, we feel the trend is positive!
Many folks know we love our Young Living essential oils! And my report wouldn't be complete without sharing a couple more ways we have supported Verity's health with natural means:
- When constipation became a problem, we began putting a drop of peppermint oil in a clean diaper and letting it soak in before putting the diaper on her. I am pleased to say that not only has Verity pooped daily...but she has also produced multiple times a day for most of those days!
- Usually we rub a "Wellness Blend" on the bottoms of our feet nightly; when we wondered if the UTI was just being stubborn, we began applying that to her feet throughout the day as well. The blend is a homemade blend using the following Young Living essential oils: Lemon, Oregano, Frankincense, Thieves, and Melrose. (Side note: lemon in particular supports good urinary tract health! And those other oils have constituents that really support our immune systems!)
We are grateful for the many prayers offered on our behalf for sweet little Verity. I look forward to visiting with our dietitian, who comes to the house on November 16. By then Verity will have (hopefully) a few days with the new medication in her system, and hopefully we will be able to further increase her intake. (She is at 85ml per feeding now; we tried 90ml for couple of feedings on Friday but it seemed a bit much.)
Thanks for reading if you made it this far! We will keep you posted!