In March of 2001 I gave birth to my second daughter Rebecca. I affectionately call her the Bee. That nickname is suitable because she is always buzzing around just like a bee. However, when she was born I thought she resembled a drowned squirrel more than a bee. You see, Rebecca was born 9 weeks premature and weighed only 2 pounds 7.3 ounces. At 14 ½ inches she was only slightly longer than a ruler. Her little body was basically nothing but skin and bones.
Needless to say she was not released from the hospital immediately. It was actually five long weeks before Rebecca was able to come home. During those five weeks the NICU staff watched over my baby very closely for any complications that might show up but the only problem my Bee had was in gaining weight. She was able to maintain her body temperature early on, was off of tube feedings by the time she was 2 weeks old, and for the most part had the suck/swallow/breathe thing down good.
When they finally decided that it was time for Rebecca to come home, they sent her home weighing 4 pounds 3.5 ounces. She came home from the hospital at 5 weeks of age weighing less than my oldest daughter did when she was born. Weight gain has therefore always been a big issue. At one year of age Rebecca weighed in at 12 pounds 12 ounces. At the age of two she finally hit the 20 pound mark only to get sick with serious vomiting, fever, and diarrhea for over a week. During that week she lost over 2 pounds and we started the weight gain battle all over again.
Rebecca is now 8 years old and has just recently been labeled as a “failure to thrive” child. Her doctor, out of concern for her weight or lack of, referred us to a children’s hospital for testing to determine if there was a reason why she was not gaining weight. His concern was based on the fact that even though she is 8 years old and is 3’10” tall, she only weighs 34 pounds. This might seem shocking to some and you might even ask why nothing was done up to this point. What you can’t know without knowing Rebecca is that the weight issue aside, she is a perfectly healthy little girl. She rarely gets sick even with a common cold. She is a very rambunctious girl, very mischievous, and very active. She is now and always has been my buzzing Bee.
The testing done by the people at the children’s hospital has yielded no reason why Rebecca can’t gain weight. Because they can find no reason, they have decided that Rebecca should now have a gastrostomy button or G button placed so that she can receive feedings of high calorie nutritional supplements directly into her stomach to see if this will help her gain weight. The estimated time span for her to have this G button is about 1 ½ years. They are hoping to get her weight up to the normal range for a child of her age and height.
As time goes on I will be posting updates as to what is going on regarding her G button and how it is affecting her weight and our life.