The Bean’s Rough Beginning

Yes, the Bean has always been happy and charming. And she has always attracted attention wherever we take her. But things still got off to a rocky start for her.

The only clue we had in the beginning was that Beanie had a hard time eating. She was unable to latch on properly, so we had to use a shield when I nursed her. She rarely showed any sign of being hungry, and she would fall asleep during feedings. I had to strip her clothes off and wipe her with a cold, wet washcloth. Even still, it was a battle to keep her awake. You aren’t supposed to nurse a baby on a schedule, but that was the only way to get her to eat enough.

She was an excellent sleeper, and would sleep for 9 hours every night! During the first week, that is. The day after her 1-week check-up, she woke up screaming. I fed her. She nursed frantically, spit it all up, arched her back and screamed bloody murder. She calmed a little if I held her upright. But once I set her down, screaming, back arching, and drawing up her legs. Poor baby. Poor mommy!

I was afraid that the doctor would tell me if was colic, but, on Rob’s urging, I called anyway. The doctor said, “Oh, that’s reflux.” I was so happy to get a diagnosis. The doctor told us to have her sleep upright and call her if it happened again. It did. After a visit to the doctor, I was supposed to give up all potential allergens, as well as all acidic foods, alcohol, and caffeine. And we were supposed to come back if it happened again. It did.

Prevacid tastes like strawberries. You dissolve it and give it to a baby in a dropper. They love it. Then you have to wait 30 minutes before feeding them. You would never believe how long 30 minutes can be! Within 2 weeks, we had a well-sleeping baby who nursed like a pro.

Acid reducers decrease absorption of nutrients, so the Bean has always been tiny. She dehydrated easily on the medicine and ended up in the hospital twice during her first 2 years. And once we started solid food, Beanie wasn’t making any stinky diapers. So we were introduced to Benefiber and Miralax.

At 13 months, Beanie wasn’t gaining enough weight, so we were supposed to try to get her to eat more solid foods. This led to a new symptom–coughing. It turns out she was aspirating stomach acid, so we got to spend some quality time with her spiffy, green Bubble the Fish nebulizer. Xopenex 4 times a day, until the coughing stopped, then Pulmicort once a day.

Axid tastes chemically, with a little bubble gum flavor on top of it. Once we added that to the Bean’s daily routine, she tripled her caloric intake.

As Beanie got older, we were able to wean her off the breathing treatments, then the Axid. She still had problems when we tried to quit the Prevacid. Then Rob and I went on the South Beach diet, which is low-glycemic. We fed the Bean what we ate, and her symptoms completely went away. She was able to go off of the Prevacid. However, during the holidays and other times when she ate high-glycemic food, Beanie had symptoms again. After some research, I wasn’t surprised to find out that a low-glycemic diet is a treatment for GERD.

Around this time, the Bean was diagnosed with SPD. Her therapists think that being in so much pain as a newborn caused her sensory system to go out of whack. Her physical therapist diagnosed her with hypotonia–low muscle tone–which is probably what caused the GERD. It is also what caused her articulation issues.

Fortunately, it’s all treatable.

As for the Bean, she loves doctors, nurses, and hospitals. And she gets excited about going to therapy. It’s just another place for people to see how wonderful she is!

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