Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Here we go again. :(

I've never failed at anything in my life.  Sure, I might not excel at everything I do, but I believe that with enough work I can accomplish anything that is important to me.

So why are BOTH of my children now diagnosed as "Failure to Thrive?"  My most important job in life, to take care of my sweet boys, is the one with "Failure" in the title.  Eating and breathing are two of life's most basic functions.  At least they can breathe, since apparently they really stink at eating enough to grow!

Russell had his 6-month checkup on June 22nd and he weighed 12lbs 12oz.  That's a gain of only 10oz in two months.  His weight dropped from the 6th percentile to well below the charts.  Babies at this age are still supposed to be gaining almost an ounce a day, not five ounces a month.

On top of that, he only grew a quarter of an inch in the last two months.  He went from the 48th percentile to the 6th percentile!  That's horrible!  He's currently only 25 inches.

And it gets worse.  His head circumference went from the 37th percentile to the 14th percentile.

For those who don't know, a baby's body always delivers nutrients to the brain first, length second, and weight third, because the brain is most important and adding extra padding is least important.  So when the body goes into starvation mode, weight will suffer first, then length, then head circumference.  Since Russell is suffering in all three areas, the doctor was quite concerned!

He ordered tests for cystic fibrosis, thyroid function, immunodeficiency, iron, electrolytes, allergies, and a CBC.  Everything came back normal, thankfully.

I made Russell an appointment with Caleb's pediatric GI specialist just after his 4-month appointment because he dropped from the 20th percentile to the 6th percentile and I just knew we would be dealing with problems by now.  Good thing I made it forever ago, because we still won't get in until late August!  Then we'll probably skip straight to the scope to test for an eosinophilic disorder, since Russell's diaper habits (like how I put it so nicely?) aren't quite what I would call "normal" and every time I give him a new food for the first time he gets rashes on the backs of his legs that last for a day or two and then go away until I give him another new food.

Caleb was diagnosed as FTT at 14 months.  Russell really has a leg up on him.  At 6 months adjusted age (9 months actual) Caleb weighed 12lbs 15.5oz.  That's 3.5oz more than Russ.  And Caleb was sicky from the beginning.  Russell was supposed to be healthy.  HA!  And Caleb never missed any milestones, even though he had brain bleeds.  Russell basically stopped cooing for the last month and a half and doesn't seem to recognize his name yet.  Since starting solid foods he has started cooing again, but he still doesn't babble with consonances, which he should be doing by now.

Surprisingly, the doctor didn't suggest giving Russell formula.  Because of what happened after Caleb stopped getting breastmilk (stopping eating all together) I would really, really like to keep nursing Russ.  Also because it's one of the only things that comforts him.  The pediatrician and I believe that a healthy baby will be able to increase his mom's milk supply on his own, and that only a few women really have problems producing enough.  (Although I just may be one of the few....)  So instead of just assuming that my milk is the problem, Nate and I decided to buy an infant scale to monitor how much Russell gets when he nurses from me.  After a few days of weighing him before and after most feedings, it appears that he usually gets about three ounces from me.  That's about half of what he should be getting.  So we've been supplementing with a few ounces of formula after nursing, but he went from gladly taking an ounce or two to refusing to drink any formula.  A few times we have needed to give him a bottle in place of nursing, and he won't drink more than an ounce or so, and he certainly doesn't drink it willingly.  He also gets solids twice a day and nurses immediately after.  He has been gaining an ounce or two per week since starting solids, so hopefully that will keep us out of the danger zone.

I'm fairly certain that his love of nursing is the only thing keeping him hydrated.  He used to love the bottle, but has grown to hate it.  He currently loves solid foods, but Caleb was like that to begin with, too.  I honestly feel like we're dealing with Caleb all over again, only crankier and he actually nurses.

It's been nice to have six months of ignorant bliss, thinking my baby was healthy and fine, but I suppose I always knew somewhere deep down that it just couldn't be true.  Nate is still holding out hope that it's nothing, and I'd like to say that I won't be surprised if it's nothing, but I really feel like we're dealing with an eosinophilic disorder.


He got poked three times on the day this picture was taken.
Holy cow, I love that baby!