Thank you for all your prayers. I felt very desperate yesterday, so frustrated that Maggie was doing worse than any other day since we've been at the hospital. Yesterday afternoon I was venting to a friend about it over the phone and heard Maggie gagging in her bed. I run and look down into the crib and, yep, she had pulled the tube out again. But not all the way out - it was about halfway in, dangling somewhere in her throat and making her choke and gag. I tugged it to get the rest out and told Maggie that she better start eating or else they would have to put it back in. Well she listened! She took the next bottle in three minutes! And then every other bottle through the night. Go Mags!
But this morning at 8 am (which is usually her worst feeding) she was back to refusing it. Like always the therapist tried many techniques to get her started - darkness, swaddling, sidelining her - the usual. But Maggie started getting very angry (she senses we are pressuring her to eat) and so I took her in my arms and started gently patting her as I walked around the dark room. After a few minutes, I sat back down and started trying again. I held her closely to me and breathed deeply so she could feel the rhythmic nature of my chest going in and out. But, as usual, she just spit it out, pushed the bottle away, and started arching her back as if to get away from it.
Usually at this point there is no hope. We have to be so careful not to push the bottle in her mouth when she doesn't want it because she will develop a major oral aversion (I have met toddlers here who have to be completely tube fed because they won't let anything touch their mouths so we have to be so careful not to let her develop negative associations with the nipple). Anyway, I stayed very calm and just sat with her in the sidelined feeding position and patted her again. She started sucking her hands, which is a good self-soothing thing for babies. So I stealthily stuck the bottle in between the fingers she was sucking in her mouth, hoping she wouldn't mind and just move her fingers and let the bottle stay in. She jolted a few times but I didn't push her. The third time I tried this she immediately started sucking like it was no biggie and took the whole bottle! A HUGE BREAKTHROUGH. I have never been able to do this in the two months since this feeding issue began. I was soooo happy! She has taken every feeding since 8 am. If she continues to do well we can go home soon...
I am so thankful that God heard our prayers and allowed her to start eating again. Yesterday I felt hopeless and today I feel like we might just be able to do this! It just requires a ton of patience, work, and quiet! And I have learned that Maggie is going to have setbacks, and so I cannot be devastated if she gets sick again and we have to start all over. She can eat and that's what I have to remember.