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Sunday, June 1, 2008

"Eating" Defined

Many of you have emailed with questions about Elizabeth's eating. I thought I'd try to answer some of the most common ones.

Amazingly, Elizabeth's eating doesn't appear to be influenced at ALL by Ruby's recent move to solids. At least not yet. Elizabeth started eating again a week or two before Ruby started on rice cereal, and in the few times that I've managed to feed them at the same time, She's less interested in copying ruby and more interested in encouraging ME to feed Ruby more, saying, "Ruby's turn." I'm hopeful that we'll see more "corporate enjoyment", but we're taking it one day at a time.

I still feed her all of her food...she really dislikes feeding herself, though we can usually get her to give herself 2 or 3 bites during the course of a meal...with a limp spoon in a limp hand, food dribbling down her chin because she's not really trying to get it into her mouth. She's willing to try some finger foods though...pieces of cheese, egg, chicken, graham cracker, and she and I had a blissful time over a salad 2 nights ago. She ate a piece of cheese and tomato and enjoyed it!

As a result of her increased oral intake, Elizabeth's now vomits 2-3 times a day. All of it is in response to food. (still this is better than a volume related--or worse, unexplained--vomit) She's come so far in regards to her tolerance of textures, but sometimes it's just too much stimulation in her mouth and she can't stop from gagging and vomiting. We know this is just par for the course though...and as much as it frustrates and saddens us to watch her throw up all her food at some meals, she is amazingly resilliant and her willingness to keep eating is a real blessing.

We're regularly feeding her over 50% of her diet by mouth now...and usually can manage to feed her at least 1 meal a day entirely through her mouth. I'd appreciate your prayers for energy and encouragement for the task of feeding. It can still be quite a struggle some days. I feel awkward even typing this, because we've prayed so hard for her to EAT, but there is so much energy and work required to teach her and help her and cajole her to eat, our 4 meals a day are still my most dreaded task. For more insight, you can hop over to my friend's blog for her recent post on this same subject. McCarthy Micro Preemie Blog: Continuing the Vomit plea post

All in all, we DO see that God is slowly healing Elizabeth. She is really thriving. Her language expands every day and she says the funniest things. She's decided to start learning to dress herself & tie her shoes, ("make a loop, pull it through....") and often helps me around the house with dusting, folding laundry and emptying the dishwasher. The other day, we did some cleaning in the morning, then had a rather hard afternoon. She needed lots of my attention and was whining quite a bit. At the end of the day though, while she played on her rug, she repeated to herself something I'd said hours earlier, "Elizabeth, you are a BLESSING!" I couldn't agree more.

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