Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The Results Are In....
I headed out to Arnold Palmer with Asher this morning to have his swallow study done and was surprised by the radiology staff's willingness to try and get ALL of his tests done today. I initially had to reschedule his kidney sonogram and voiding cystogram, which had been scheduled for later that day, because the barium they have him swallow would interfere with their ability to accurately see his kidneys. Well, they were very flexible and had us do the sonogram and stuff before the swallow study. What a blessing to have all of that done within one trip! Thank you Arnold Palmer...you rock!!! The highlight of the day was the much anticipated swallow study. We first met with speech and occupational therapists who evaluated his ability to suck, which was quite strong as we can tell from all Asher's videos, although his gag reflex is still a bit sensitive. Then they had me set him in a little padded seat, which held him upright, and I fed him bottles with barium mixtures of different thicknesses. Much to my joy, he took to the bottles right away, sucking AND swallowing. Their concern, and the main reason for the study, was to watch and see if he was aspirating any of the liquid while swallowing and he did a tiny bit now and then. He did better with a slightly thicker liquid (nectar consistancy) and a slow flow nipple. Their final report recommended small oral feeds 4 times a day to help Asher readjust to taking food by mouth and to further increase his muscle strength and stamina. He tuckered out quickly and couldn't suck for very long, but at least he was sucking! ;) I have to call his doctor tomorrow and make sure he agrees with their evaluation and then I can start giving Asher small doses of breastmilk which has been thickened with a commercial thickening agent called Simthick.
When I asked the therapist about things I can do to encourage him in being able to take to the breast later on, she said that I can place him skin to skin while I feed him and watch closely to make sure he isn't getting lazy while sucking from the bottle. A bottle gives up liquid regardless of correct latch/suck/chew/gum, etc whereas the breast will not, so by maintaining good feeding habits with the bottle it will make for an easier transition later. They want to see a followup study in another two months or so, which means that much more pumping for me, but we are getting closer to our end goal.
Praise the Lord for his continued mercy and goodness! Asher truly is a "Happy and Blessed" young man, just as his name describes. Thank you to everyone who has continually been praying for him and us. .. we are seeing your prayers work!!
Wednesday morning we have an appointment with his geneticist which should be interesting. Will fill you in later.