Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Great is Thy Faithfulness!

The past couple weeks have been a time with many questions and wondering and plenty of opportunities for worrying and anxiety. God has been so faithful though, and we are rejoicing that we have hopefully closed in on the answers.

Asa had his 6 month check up (a month late due to the holidays) about 2 weeks ago. He's always been on his own little growth curve, but there are plenty of boys he is related to who are tall and skinny. Since he has reached all his milestones on time (and most of them early!) and he was growing consistently, our pediatrician decided to just watch and see what happened. At his latest appointment he showed a decrease in the rate of his weight gain for the 2nd visit in a row (and pretty significantly) and his height increase was tapering also. Without her coming right out yet and labeling it as such, I knew we were entering "failure to thrive" territory (which sounds ridiculous--the boy is the picture of happy, engaging, thriving except for this growth factor) and we began the process of bloodwork to see if it was a fluke or his growth stemmed from an underlying problem.

We went to our our insurance-covered lab several times, and that was frustrating several times. He's a sweet little baby with tiny baby veins. They had a lot of difficulty getting a line in. They had employees who were not always particularly professional. But even in the midst of that, God showed me He was near. The least professional of them all actually said out of the BLUE [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS], "My baby boy was always so little. Complete strangers would act like I must starve him for him to be that size. Now he could eat me out of house and home!" It blessed me so much because I have been there--I have received dirty looks from complete strangers when they've asked how old Asa is. Yes, I know he's skinny. He nurses whenever he's hungry. He has tall, skinny uncles. All the while I'm thinking, "Why am I defending myself to you??" They eventually got blood for some tests, but they collected it in such a way (pricked his finger and squeezed out a few drops) that it nullified the results. But those results had come back with abnormalities and now we didn't know if the abnormalities were real or because of the collection method. So we went back to try again for an actual line into his vein. We went twice. They suggested "hydrating" him. We tried water--the instant he realized it was not mommy's milk he pitched a fit. :) We worked with a wonderful employee [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS] who was determined NOT to stick Asa again unless she was sure she had found a good line. She did not feel confident about any of his veins and sent us back home. She was wonderful--shout out to Erma! :) I also KNEW we were being prayed for. When Erma tried earlier that morning, Asa became completely still and calm right as they got the needle in (but the blood stopped flowing into the vial). It was GOD'S FAITHFULNESS.

At that point it felt like we were stuck and would not get any answers. How were we going to draw his blood? We were sending out emails to friends, Bible study, etc. to pray--that we could get a good blood draw and for good results. Our pediatrician stepped in and gave us a couple options. We went to a lab at one of the hospitals in town where they have a bit more experience with babies and children. They loved on Asa so sweetly. They got a line the first try [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS]. The most troubling abnormality came back normal [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS], but there were still a few results that were off. On to the next round of testing and follow up appointments. All the while, we have been praying praying praying for Asa's health--it is his liver? Kidneys? Intake? Thyroid?

Yesterday I took Asa for a follow up with our ped (I am thankful all over again we changed pediatricians when Asa was first born. She has been WONDERFUL. She is thorough, responsive, but not alarmist. Just what this mommy needs!)[GOD'S FAITHFULNESS] and to meet with a lactation consultant. There were several blessings that came out of this appointment.

  • the LC guessed by name--without me saying it--who it was at our old ped's office who was so discouraging and unsupportive of nursing and a major reason we left that practice. I felt so validated to know I was not the only one (+ Matt + my mom) who thought she had terrible bedside manner!
  • Before she even watched Asa eat, she checked his mouth and immediately noticed that he had a posterior tongue tie. He can stick his tongue out far enough, but the frenulum was too tight to let him get the middle of his tongue up to the roof of his mouth. That was making it so he was working his little heart out to nurse but tiring out before he got enough. It explains everything!
  • Before correcting the tongue tie, she watched Asa eat. She marveled over how well he was doing--latch, positioning, etc. She said to me, "You never could have known there was a problem. He looks perfect from the outside when he's eating." Balm to my mommy heart!!
  • As soon as they clipped the frenulum, I scooped Asa up and he stopped crying. He nursed right away without problems.
  • The solids we have ramped up, per our ped's orders, have brought Asa back to his previous weight gain pattern.
  • Everyone agrees nursing is #1 priority. I feel very supported.
  • Asa has been eating less at some feedings if he recently had solids (twice/day), so I added in some extra times I'm offering him a chance to nurse even though he shows no cues. :) When they did a pre/post feeding weigh it showed he's still getting plenty from me. My supply had not dwindled too much from this change in feeding habits.
And now, after less than 24 hours I can already tell Asa is nursing more effectively [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS]. I can already tell I am making more milk (adding extra feedings, pumpings, and soon herbs to ramp up my production now that he'll be able to eat more efficiently and effectively) when I've been doing my "extra" routines less than 24 hours [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS] and haven't even started the herbs yet (which worked for me very quickly when I was worrying about my supply needlessly with a newborn). I am so encouraged!! [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS] Our doctor thinks THIS is the factor that caused his funky bloodwork and that it will address and answer all the issues. In other words: no liver problem. No kidney problem. No supply issue on my part. In other words: GOD'S FAITHFULNESS. As we ran down the possible scenarios, I didn't think of any that left room for Asa to be healthy (i.e. no liver disease, etc.) AND me to be healthy (i.e. plentiful supply). I was just amazed when this discovery came forth that is the easy problem and simple solution we prayed for. [GOD'S FAITHFULNESS]

I wanted to record this summary of our past few weeks to remind MYSELF now and later of GOD'S FAITHFULNESS to us. He would be JUST as faithful if something were wrong with Asa's liver or if I just couldn't produce enough milk. But we are rejoicing in His mercy in allowing us such a simple issue to address. I have been amazed at the friends with medical background who have stepped in to encourage and assure us of signs of great health in Asa. Of friends who've dealt with tongue tie to encourage us that it should make a tremendous difference to have corrected it. Of people to remind us that God has a plan for Asa. HE is the author and giver of Asa's life, and we stand in awe of the blessing of being a part of it. We pray that the three of us continue to be molded and shaped by His FAITHFULNESS. I hope GOD'S FAITHFULNESS is an encouragement to you as well.


Anonymous said...

He IS faithful. Rejoicing with you. Mom

Sarah said...

What an encouragement - thank you for recording all the details so we can thank God with you!