Melina introduced me to the world of acid reflux shortly after her birth in 2002. From the beginning we struggled to get her to eat. To swallow seemed too painful. Melina's throat looked raw and even her cry began to sound hoarse. We asked her pediatrician about GERD. The pediatrician agreed that GERD might be the problem and started Melina on a low dose of an acid suppressing medication. We saw little change.
By six weeks old Melina was failure to thrive. She went from 6 pounds 13 oz at birth to a very skinny 5 pounds 3oz. Her tiny body was always cold and any small illness set her back for weeks. There was talk of tube feeding her but we knew how hard it would be to get her to eat normally again if we went that route. I distinctly remember trying to trick her into eating by using an eyedropper to slip the formula into her mouth. It didn't work either.
We spent the next few weeks in and out of doctor's offices, rejoicing in 2 oz weight gains. The pediatric clinic referred us to a GI to rule out any structural abnormalities with in Melina's GI tract. They ran some tests and diagnosed GERD and delayed gastric emptying. After some trial and error she was given the proper medicines and a high calorie formula. Our baby began to thrive.
We were shocked at how much Melina changed in the next few weeks. Our "string Bina", as we had dubbed her, turned into a "chunky monkey" before our eyes. While we were thrilled at her progress the weight gain tended to make everyone think that she was well and that we should be back to normal.
However, even when Melina got to an average weight the wriggling, screaming and pain did not stop! Our GERD baby could scream non-stop and was inconsolable! There was no break to even wash the puke soiled house. Some days we would sit in tears on her bedroom floor with no clue how to sooth our baby.
One day at a time was all we could do until finally each day seemed a bit easier. The puking was further and further apart. Melina's screaming seemed to lessen and her chronic constipation was less frequent. There were setbacks here and there. Teething, trying the wrong food or catching a cold could put us back several days. Gradually those set backs lessened.
By the time Melina was three she was completely off of medicines and showing no signs of reflux. She has also shown no long-term side effects from being sick as an infant. At five years old she is taller and smarter than most kids her age! Wonderful news for the former failure to thrive baby!
We wanted all of you dealing with reflux to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Most of these reflux babies will outgrow their diseases at a fairly young age. When they do it is like you've been given a whole new child. A healthy and happy one!
Published On: July 21, 2008