Conner when he was 3 weeks old, taking a bottle...let's get back to this buddy! You can do it!
Conner PASSED his (3rd) swallow study!!! I cannot tell you how excited we are, and proud we are of our sweet little Conner! He did so great! The feeding therapist that performed the test on him is so cute and will be the one to continue working with Conner through the whole process of learning how to orally eat again. She first started by mixing the barium with sweet potatoes (so weird to think that he is old enough for baby food!) and spoon fed it to him (ok, more like just had to shovel it in his mouth and hope he didn't spit it all out!). He got mad and coughed and cried...but then began to swallow. And he didn't aspirate! She did a few more spoonfuls to make sure they got a good look at his swallowing and how it was going down. Then she made a thinner liquid to give to him through a bottle (barium + nectar). This too she just had to squirt into his mouth and hope enough would stay in for him to swallow. Again, he got mad and did throw some of it up, but through his tears, he swallowed a few times and didn't aspirate! What a big boy and what proud parents!!!!! (by the way, I did cry, but it was before they had even started, and then once they were doing the test, I was fine!).
This truly is such wonderful news, and such a relief for us. We can now start working on teaching him how to eat again, and although it will be a long process, and will require A LOT of patience, we are thrilled to get going! This also means that most likely they will be moving his NJ tube (meaning the tube is feeding his small intestine) into an NG tube (feeding his tummy). We are hoping that feeding his tummy milk will help his throwing up not be so painful (because right now he is throwing up straight tummy acid/mucous) since it will be mixed with the milk and it will be easier on him. We are also hoping and praying that with more time, he will start to out grow his reflux, even to the point of just 'normal' reflux, to avoid surgery.
Each day I will be practicing with a mixture of rice cereal/breast milk and giving him tiny little tastes, and doing simple things like spreading it on his lips and getting him used to the taste/texture of food and the spoon. Like I said...it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of patience! :) I also will continue to do facial exercises with him, making silly fun sounds and smiling a lot while I'm doing it (our facial expressions make a huge impact on how he feels about letting things in/around his mouth). It all has to remain positive and fun for him in order to make any progress. They say the faster you try and get them to eat, the more reluctant they become, so it will be so interesting to see how long this process takes. I honestly don't know if it will be like a month before he is eating, or if it will be 6 months. Who knows. All we know is that we are excited for a change and feel very hopeful. I know he is doing so well because of all the prayers that have been said in his behalf from all our wonderful family and friends, and from all the Fathers blessing's that Paul has been able to give him.