After Solly was born, we had a month-long stay at the Georgetown University Hospital’s NICU. There, the neonatologist had told us that in order to be discharged, we had to get Sol’s seizures under control and come up with solutions for his oxygen levels and feeding. Seizures were the easiest thing to get under control, followed by removal of all oxygen support. While we were confident that Sol would come home without any feeding support, some of his doctors were less-than-optimistic. I remember expressing some feeding concerns to one of his rounding doctors, a Fellow who was spending some time at Georgetown, and her exact words to me were: “I don’t think he’ll ever eat by mouth. He may be able to have some pleasure feedings by mouth, but he’ll probably go home with a g-tube.”
Less-than-optimistic, right? It was definitely not the kind of thing we wanted to hear.
Luckily, Solly is stubborn (just like his Mama and Dada!) and proved that doctor wrong, leaving the NICU a little over a week later without any feeding support.
However, since leaving the NICU, feeding has continued to be a struggle for us. Sol’s strokes affected his ability to coordinate muscles, including facial muscles, as well as dampened some of his sensory abilities. At three years old, he is still taking the majority of his calories in by bottle and eating some finger foods, but primarily favoring purées that he can eat by spoon or feed to himself with his fingers. We’ve been in weekly feeding therapy since he was one year old to address his muscular challenges as well as a few behavior issues. Progress has been slow, but entirely worth it, especially after we switched to a new, very experienced feeding therapist, Linda, at High Hopes in Franklin, TN.