Monday, February 6, 2012

Why does Sadie have a feeding tube?

Little kids always want to know: "why can't she eat?" They are so innocent and pure, but they still understand that eating is important and they want to know why Sadie needs to have food put in her tummy with a tube. I usually tell them that Sadie has a hard time eating the way they do, with her mouth, so sometimes we have to give her food right into her tummy so that she gets enough to grow big and strong.

The fact is, I'm not really sure why Sadie needs a feeding tube. I mean, I understand that her CP causes her to have an uncoordinated swallow and that she doesn't know how to chew, and that she aspirates liquids that are too thin...but I don't understand why. She nursed just fine, and we seemed right on track to start eating food and transitioning to a sippy cup. And then we seemed to hit a wall.

All of the sudden she started coughing and choking when we'd have her drink. She started puking everything up right after she ate. And eating started to become so stressful for everyone. Especially Sadie. It was like her brain could handle it when she was little, because there wasn't much else to think about, but as she got bigger it was trying to learn so much more that swallowing kind of fell by the wayside.

Since Sadie got her feeding tube, I've learned that it's pretty common for children with CP to have a feeding tube, but that those who are less severe eventually grow out of it. Sadie has a feeding therapist who enjoys eating and wants all her clients to know the enjoyment of flavors and textures in their mouths, and so she works with Sadie so that someday we can rejoice in having the surgery to remove the tube and close up the stoma.

Sadie likes to eat by mouth. And I think someday she'll eat and drink well enough that we won't need the tube anymore. But she's only 2, and she has a long way to go in life and in eating.

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