Who knew that an Oral Aversion could wreak so much havoc???
When Lillie Anna was 4 months old, we excitedly pulled out the Rice Cereal and her beautiful silver spoon. We grabbed our camera, and prepared for her monumental first taste of food. But we were very surprised when she gagged when the spoon came near her lips! It was actually pretty funny! She was so obviously oppossed to the spoon, that we thought we'd just try again in a few weeks. So, I con't nursing her and a few weeks later, we re-introduced the rice cereal...but to no avail. She HATED the spoon and was gagging before it even touched her mouth. I thought it was really weird, but didn't think much of it. We put the food away with the goal of trying again in another two weeks. This went on and on and on for months...I kept trying cereal and baby food and she refused it all...not only did she refuse it, but she would look at it and gag.
This began our journey of what we thought was extreme "pickiness". I can't tell you how much money I spent on baby food products that I thought for sure she'd like, and nothing worked. Around 6 months, she began vomiting after drinking her formula (I began having to supplement at that point), and because the vomiting was so bad, her pediatrician tested her for Celiac. It was negative.
Fast forward one year...and her pickiness got worse. She was eating whole wheat bread (dry with nothing on it), crackers (only saltines and ritz), french fries from Chick-Fil-A, rolls from O'Charleys... and was drinking Almond Milk (dairy made her vomit). If I tried to feed her anything other than those items (yogurt, green beans, chicken nuggets, banana's, etc) she would either throw them on the floor or she'd vomit when she looked at them...nothing ever would even make it to her mouth.
Because we weren't usually around anyone during meal time, most people never saw how severe her "pickiness" had become. Over the holidays, my MIL witnessed it first hand and became very concerned...she said she'd never seen a child that age so picky and she felt like I needed to speak to someone about it.
Last November is when her sickness began. Chronic diahrea and vomiting around the clock...she'd be sick for a week and then have a few days of being "better". Most of you know how tough the past few months have been - literally one sickness after another until she was finally admitted in to the hospital for severe dehydration and malnutrition. She actually looked like the Ethiopian children with the stick arms and legs and the painfully bloated stomach. It was the awesome team of Pediatricians who immediately (within minutes of our arrival) diagnosed her with an Oral Aversion. They sent in a Speech Therapist and Nutritionist to help us, and we'll be working with them until we feel Lillie has completely conquered this problem.
These are a few pictures of what a typical meal looks like. Lillie automatically reverts to covering her mouth with her hands, throwing her body to the side of her chair to try and escape the utensil, and literally closing her eyes in hopes that the food will just dissapear. This process can take several minutes....
But, OH, glorious day!!!!!!!!!! Now, after a bit of patience, and persistance (and creativity on the part of Lillie's Speech Therapist), she is eating from a utensil and self-feeding with food that is NOT just in the "bread family".
(Chad is feeding her spanish rice in this picture.)
(Here she's self-feeding with black-eyed peas....amaaaaaazing progress!)
Lillie has gained TWO POUNDS in two weeks. TWO POUNDS!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe that??? It's incredibly exciting! I've spoken to a Dietician who said that it's possible that her body became so malnourished that the chronic diahrea and vomiting was caused by that alone. Wouldn't that be amazing if THAT is the problem?? Oh, we're praying!!!!!! Her Endoscopy/Colonoscopy is scheduled for tomorrow morning, so if they are able to perform the procedures despite her runny nose, then we'll learn tomorrow if we're dealing with an actual "Functional problem". If you're still reading (and if you are, I'm impressed!), please pray for safety during her surgery. Thanks in advance!