I thought it might be time to kind of bring everyone up to speed on where we're at, in adult terms. :o) This might be a little long, but so many of you are so kind to ask about what's up that I thought I'd just put it all out there at once.
General health--Braska is doing well, hasn't been sick yet (except for rotavirus, of course) with any kind of cold or ear issue or anything, and for that I am SO very thankful. I think that's quite an achievement for 9 months, myself. Her heart seems to be pumping just fine after the repair, which is now 6 months ago. Seems like yesterday and 3 years ago all at the same time. Her thyroid is functioning properly, and her other labs have been good. EXCEPT for the last two draws which have shown increasingly elevated hemoglobin. (Very minimally elevated, though.) No one seems to be too concerned about it, but they are keeping any eye on it, I guess. We'll have it checked in 3 months at her one-year visits if not before. But we hope it's nothing. The only thing mentioned is that it might be an oxygen issue of some kind, which sounds like it needs to be checked out, but no one seems in a hurry at all and they all say it's nothing to worry about. So I won't, for now.
Therapies: occupational and developmental--These are going well. She continues to cooperate most of the time and is getting stronger, but it's all about when she decides she's going to do the next little thing. When she wants to sit, she will, and until then, there's not much we can do to entice her. The therapists have both noted that we have yet to find a toy that motivates her to do anything really. The only thing she reacts to every time is an open hand coming toward her face slowly. That's about the only time she will reach high with both hands and grasp quickly and firmly. She takes it directly to her mouth and gums like crazy. Any other toy may garner a gaze, and sometimes a lackluster reach, but that's about it. She's a picky one, that's for sure. She has become much more generally energetic in the last week or so, probably due to an increase in her amount of milk per day. Since she doesn't really indicate hunger at all, it's hard to know how much she needs/wants. Which brings us to the next category...
Feeding--Inconsistent is the key word. She will do several things, but none of them with any consistency. She will eat solids pretty well, but usually only once a day, and usually that is in the evening. She eats green beans with rice, sweet potatoes, squash, and beef with applesauce, each in little bits, and if she's in the mood that particular day. But she'll eat bananas and banana pudding about any day, as well as applesauce (not baby, big people applesauce), peaches occasionally, and pears rarely. She definitely likes her sweet things. She still refuses to suck on a bottle, but she will sometimes chew on it and swallow what she gets from that. She will take drinks from a particular sippy cup if they are given in small doses, but only a few at any sitting. Our big challenge is definitely to get her to take fluids, so most of her feedings are still done by NG. She's getting about 24 oz a day in 4 feedings, which we just went to about a week ago. Like I said above, she has responded to the increase in amazing ways with more playfulness, more general movement, wiggling, etc. She's always been happy and content, but she is now a bit more animated and less likely to sit still on a lap, which is good in the big picture, I guess. Louise was very happy with her first time to watch Braska eat yesterday, and she is optimistic that we'll be able to make strides toward being independent of the tubes, but probably not soon enough to avoid the G-tube. So about that...
G-tube--I talked to the GI dr's office again this morning and they're determining if we need to have any testing before we get on the schedule for the PEG process. (For those of you who are less "internet-familiar" you can click on PEG process to go to a description of the whole deal.) I would guess that we're looking at possibly the week of the 10th or the 17th of September to get it done, unless there are more things they want to check out first. I should get a call back later this morning about that. I'm resigned to the fact that it needs to be done, so it's ok. We'll handle it like everything else, learning as we go. Mostly I'm praying for no complications to what should be fairly "routine."
It's amazing to look back and see how far we've come. I find it hard to even remember how life used to be, and that might be a good thing in some ways. For now, we're moving forward and smiling as we go. She's a real peach of a kiddo, I must say, and I'm thankful for her everyday.
Thanks for taking the time to come by so often and keep up with us. It does so much good to my spirit to know there are so many friends out there who care enough to check in. And it's even better when we get to read your comments!!!