A lot of people ask how Carsten's eating is going when I talk to them so I thought I would post a quick update on that this morning. He has made very good progress so far with the vomiting and ability to take in a larger amount of food. The nutritionist was here last week and Carsten has grown in both height and weight!! For a while he wasn't gaining any weight and Chad and I were getting a little concerned with the protocol from Baltimore, whether it was going to work. About a month before Chloe was born the vomiting kind of hit a pinnacle and brought Chad and I literally to our knees. He got a stomach bug and was vomiting multiple times a day. Other than the bug, he was still having reflux quite often (like a few times a week at least) but ever since one night when Chad and I were literally in tears, the reflux seemingly disappeared! Praise God! It was like the Lord knew Chloe was coming and he gave us all a little break. Since then, we have been able to increase his intake to about 10 ounces of food for lunch and dinner and 4 ounces of milk (which I think contributed to the weight gain). I am still a pureeing fool and spend much of my time pureeing and preparing his food and then manually feeding him four times a day. It is very time consuming and puts an extra burden on our family (especially for family outings) but we are thankful that he is eating and so we continue with the protocol from KKI. Lately, Carsten has been a little more aversive to his drinks and eating. It takes him a minute to get going with his bites, I believe it's a control issue that was spurred on by Miss Chloe and I'm hoping with time it will go away. The vomiting is rare these days (when I say rare I mean maybe once every two or three weeks if that) except when Carsten gets really hot. There have been a couple of times at a park or an inside gym where he gets too hot and out it comes and I mean everywhere! We are hoping he will continue to grow out of it as he gets bigger but know that it's something we will have to deal with for quite a while still. We are still going to weekly feeding therapy and working on solids. He still does not have good oral motor skills and cannot manipulate food in his mouth so the food ends up getting stuck on the back of his tongue and he gags, making it quite scary for me to attempt solids with him at home. We do work on gerber puffs a lot and he does okay with small pieces. We are still working on independent drinking and feeding, he has shown some increase in desire to put things in his mouth, using a pincer grasp to pick up food and knows how to tip his cup to drink but has little control and it ends up everywhere. He can and does drink from a straw but only water, go figure! But we praise God for his progress and maintenance of his oral intake and are looking forward to being in DC and hopefully getting better services. He will start preschool this fall in what sounds like a very well equipped preschool program for children with special needs, I am VERY excited about it and know that Carsten is MORE than ready to start school. His sign language is really coming along (as is mine:) and he is learning signs faster than I can learn them:) He is starting to use it spontaneously, meaning he will initiate a sign without me asking him for the word. This is encouraging that he has a desire to communicate and will with time and patience.
Aside from eating, we are getting ready to make our PCS June 12th. We will be heading to Arkansas for a couple of weeks then making the long trek out to Washington. We will be living in (I guess considered a suburb) Burke, it is just west of the city but will be somewhat of a commute for Chad. We ended up in this area mainly because of the services for Carsten and what other people recommended. I am excited and just trying to get things in order, organized, and honestly doing my best to just keep both kids fed, dry, and happy :)
They are starting to interact a little more which is so much fun to watch. Chloe watches every move Carsten makes and they are smiling at each other now. Carsten likes to hold his big sister and kisses her all the time and then signs "thank you" because we always say thank you to him after :). Chloe is finally growing out of her Colic, PTL! She is MUCH less fussy throughout the day and sleeps most of the night, sometimes she eats at about 2 or 3 and some nights she will sleep till 6, so I really can't complain. I have given up dairy food along with breastfeeding and if you know me it has been REALLY hard. I am starting to get used to my new diet now though and not missing cheese and milk as much as I did at first. I have noticed a huge difference in her eating when I have not had any dairy. So we will keep going as long as we can, my goal is 6 months to a year, I am just so thankful she is eating after everything we've been through with Carsten.
We will be in Arkansas from somewhere around June 12th through the end of the month. We would like to see as many people as we can so give us a call!