Since Conner had his gtube placed (October 13th), he has been SO.much.happier!! I knew that he would be more comfortable without the feeding tube in his nose and down his throat, but I didn't expect this kind of change. Conner has always had such a sweet, calm, easy-going personality. And he has always been smiley at home for Paul and I. But now, Conner is happy ALL of the time! (of course with the exception of when he is really tired, is throwing up, etc). I can't believe how much more energy he seems to have! I honestly feel like because of the change, and with his newfound energy and being so happy all of the time, he has literally propelled forward socially, emotionally, physically, and developmentally. Conner is always smiling now. And he is even smiling at people at church and in the store! Previously it would be rare that someone could get him to smile that wasn't momma or daddy (or some close family members). But now lots more people get to experience his adorable smile!
Before Conner had his gtube placed, he was learning to scoot around on his tummy, i.e., the army crawl. We were a little worried about his because his gtube would be placed just to the left and up a tiny bit, from his belly button. We could only imagine him sliding across the floor on his tummy and the gtube being pulled out, or yanked, etc. We were also worried that the initial discomfort of the gtube would make it so that he didn't want to be on his tummy at all, and we would developmentally move backwards. Thankfully, neither scenario has happened. Conner loves to be on his tummy, and always has. In fact, when they were wheeling him in this crib from just waking up from anesthesia up to the recovery room, he flipped over onto his tummy before the nurse could stop him! Little stinker just loves to be on his tummy! (we had to keep him off his tummy for the first 3 days...yes it was hard!) After we got back home from the hospital (his surgery was on a Wed and we left Friday), Conner was able to move as he pleased, with still being careful of course. Instead of doing his tummy scoot, he discovered a different way to maneuver. He would get up on hands and knees, and then thrust himself forward, landing on his side, this way avoiding this gtube area. Smart little Conner! In just less than 3 weeks since his tummy surgery, Conner is now officially crawling! I hardly know what to do with myself. I'm paranoid about all the teeny tiny little things I have to make sure are not on the ground anymore! Yesterday while I was pumping, he even crawled out of his little "playground" thing that has 4 walls (kinda bendable) that are about 9 inches (???) tall! Now I don't know how to keep him contained while I pump! :)
Conner is talking so much! Well, babbling and cooing and yelling that is! He is so much louder now! I think his throat just feels like it had a makeover, and he wants the world to know! I heard him say "mammamamamadaaaaadaaaaahhhhhhhhhh" the other day! It was so cute!
It was been so wonderful to see all the changes in Conner and how well he is doing. We went from him throwing up (a mix of spitting up and/or what would be considered actual throwing up) anywhere from 5-30 times a day, to him throwing up only 2-3 times a day, or less.
The past week Paul and I have been thinking about when we want to move Conner into his crib, into his own room. He has always had to sleep in our room (just in his pack n play) because of his reflux, throwing up, feeding tube, needing suctioning, heart monitors, etc. But now is getting tio the point that he seems to be ready, and we are thinking it may be about time! Part of me is excited to finally get to use his room and his crib, and his bedding and have him be a big boy. But the other part of me is kind of sad to see him leave our room. One of the things that I have really loved in the mornings is hearing him wake up and then looking over at his pack n play, to see him peering over the side, staring at me! I.love.it! It makes Paul and I laugh when he does this, because he is propped up on his arms, and stretching his head up as far as he can, with eyebrows raised, straining to see us in bed! Silly silly boy! I need to catch him doing this on camera so I can have the memory captured in a photo. I also love hearing him breath, move around to get comfy, and make funny sounds as he sleeps. We will probably move him in into his crib within the next few weeks when we feel good about it.
We have been so happy with all the positive changes we have seen in Conner. He is tolerating his 'practice' feeds much better and doesn't throw up every time he swallows a tiny bit of baby food. We do 2 practice feeds of baby food a day, and 2 practice feeds with a bottle, with a special nipple called a pigeon nipple that makes sucking the milk out easier. I feel confident that Conner is improving, even though it is a very slow process of teaching him how to eat. His feeding therapist gave a general statement that he will probably have his gtube for about a year. Which means it may take Conner that long how to learn how to eat all of his food by mouth. Or it could be less time. Or it could be more time. There are no guarantees. We just take the feeding issues day by day and hope for the best! He has an amazing feeding therapist and we love her. She helps me so much with little tips and advice for how to make his feeding practices a positive experience so that he will make progress and understand that food in his mouth is a good thing! :)
Conner did not end up needing/getting a nissen done (basically a wrap of his stomach around his esophagus that would prevent throwing up the rest of his life) because he passed the ph probe with flying colors! His results came back with only 4% reflux (the normal child/adult refluxes 5% every day) instead of his previous 19%! We were so grateful that he didn't need this procedure done! There seemed to be so many negative side effects, and so we are so happy his reflux is "normal" now!
Now we just need to teach someone all about his gtube and how to take care of it (it's actually really easy!) so that Paul and I can take a much needed vacation on a cruise! (hint hint to family members... ;))
Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers for Conner and us as we went through this last, and hopefully LAST surgery! He is doing so well and we are so happy!