20 October 2002

Claire and Dad's Excellent Adventure:

Fortunately, all is well.

On Thursday afternoon I had taken Claire to what we thought would be a routine appointment with her pediatrician and it turns out she hasn't been gaining weight as well as she ought. "Failure to thrive" was the ominous-sounding diagnosis we eventually received on the paperwork. Also, her heart rate seemed a bit high while at the doctor's office.

So, we were sent down to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for what were supposed to be two simple tests, picking up Laurel on the way to the hospital. But once the ER docs had us in there, Claire ended up being tested for a wide gamut of possible problems. The tests all showed nothing and the pediatric cardiologist told us all that she is quite healthy and that her heart rate is really within the normal range for her size. Still, they decided to keep Claire overnight for observation.

Friday morning we were told that they would likely be keeping her until Sunday. In the meantime, however, we met with a lactation consultant who observed Claire's feeding and weighed her before and after she fed. To the consultant's puzzlement, while Claire seems to latch on just fine and, in general, has a strong suck, she's actually a very inefficient nurser and only takes in less than an ounce in a 20 minute feeding. This would explain the lack of weight gain despite what had appeared to be a lot of feeding.

Thus the doctors had us feed her using a bottle exclusively, filled with pumped breast milk (and some formula), in order to monitor her intake. They wanted her to take in at least 24 ounces in 24 hours. Claire ended up actually taking in around 30 ounces before bedtime on Friday and slept 8 hours. She also already gained a couple of ounces by today and is doing quite well. And so she was released early and got to come home last night rather than today.

All of this worry and distress really makes one feel like a parent, even if you end up being made to feel like a terrible parent for not realizing that your child was "malnourished." I guess our bathroom scale at home isn't very helpful. We're very thankful to God, however, that nothing more serious was wrong and that we figured this all out now rather than at a later point where the ill-effects might have been more profound.

Claire has always seemed a very alert and active baby, occasionally cooing and smiling, but heavens! Now once she has eaten her fill, she is so much more alert and active even than before, cooing, "talking," giggling, and squirming. It is quite a relief she is healthy and so repsonsive to her new eating regimen. Now Mom and Dad just need to catch up on some sleep.