Sunday, October 28, 2007

One Jar

I fed Evan an entire 2.5 oz jar of sweet potatoes today. I can't promise he actually swallowed the whole jar, because a lot came out of his nose and he smeared quite a bit on his face and clothes. But over the course of two meals, I spooned every last bite into his--for the most part--open mouth.

By the fuss I am making about this, you would think Evan ate something tantamount to the size of a mayonnaise jar. But when your child can't or doesn't eat orally though, that's how big one of those tiny infant jars feels.

If you haven't lived this, there is no way you can understand the frustration involved. I mean, how do you teach your child to swallow? Something so basic--either they do it, or they don't. And if they don't...they really don't. They gag, choke, sputter--or if your are particularly unlucky, maybe even vomit--over the tiniest spoonful, the "non-nutritive taste" given least they forget God's intended purpose for a mouth.

Even more maddening is being caught in the catch-22 that is being labeled "NPO," for fear of aspiration. You are told that you can't feed your child anything by mouth (that's what NPO means, it's Latin) because it may go down the "wrong way" and he or she could get pneumonia. But how are they supposed to learn how to swallow without actually eating something??? The short answer is they can't--at some point you have to just take that risk, figuring it's more harmful to let them develop an oral aversion and take your chances with aspiration pneumonia.

And so, after almost a year of VitalStim therapy, over a year and a half of "tastings," here we are. One Jar. Not just a few spoonfuls, with the remainder languishing in the back of the fridge until there is no doubt in the answer to the age old question of "Could that still be good?" Or the rest being portioned out into tiny freezer containers for later tastings. Or, shy those spoonfuls, dumped into the day's blended diet to be tube fed throughout the day.

No, he actually ate it. One whole Jar.

The first sweet potato meal.

Sweet potatoes, part 2.


Eva Nichole said...

Good Job Evan!! We are so proud of you.
Crystal and Eva

Anonymous said...

WOW! Evan, all I can say is WOW! I'm so very glad that you like and enjoy those sweet potatoes, because I think that your mommy used to gag herself on those. She never did like the texture of that particular food. And you know that you will like food, because your mommy is a great cook and you wouldn't want to miss any of those wonderful meals to come in your future. Lots of love, Grandma Key

mighty max and mommy said...

CONGRATULATIONS! CONGRATULATIONS! CONGRATULATIONS! We are so thrilled for all of you! This is a VERY big step! So exciting!


Love, Amy and Max

Leslie, Arlin & Katie Kauffman said...

Yay, Evan!!! What a HUGE accomplishment! It looks like you had fun eating, too! :-)

Leslie & Katie

Mary said...

Great job, Evan!
Great Job, Mom and Dad!

Carolyn said...

Way to go Evan !! And congrats to Mom and Dad for a good job.
Carolyn in WV

Linden said...

Way to go Evan (and mommy!). What a huge accomplishment. Keep it up!
Mom to Cameron and Nathan

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