It’s been a slow start to the week here at Duke. Harper is maintaining a stable status apart from feeding. She had her gastric emptying study and the results were normal, ruling out any anatomical issues causing the vomiting. The plan now is two-fold… First, they want to slowly get her stomach to stretch so that she’ll be able to hold and digest the right amount of food for her age and weight. This means very slowly weaning away from the continuous feeds by gradually giving her more milk in less time. Today they started by feeding for three hours then taking a one hour break (so getting four hours worth of milk in three hours). That seemed to work this afternoon, but then tonight we had vomiting again, so we will see what the doctors say about that in the morning. If this process works, it would ideally take 7-10 days to get her where she needs to be.
The second part of the feeding puzzle is the fact that Harper still does not know how to drink. The whole suck-swallow-breathe process is rather complicated for a baby who did not have the opportunity to do it naturally from the start, plus there is the damage she has from being intubated for so long to contend with. She is still seeing occupational, speech, and physical therapists daily, but those skills just aren’t there right now. So, once they get to a point where she is able to hold her milk down, they will see if those skills have been mastered, and that will determine if they go forward with the g-tube surgery.
In other news, Harper is very slowly being weaned from the methadone, and has not needed morphine in two days now. Her head circumference is still stable, and her last set of sutures should be removed tomorrow. She had some visitors this week, so that was exciting- she got to see Pastor Mark and Ms. Lisa yesterday, and then Pastor Dwight today. Unfortunately Daddy had to head back to the coast this afternoon, but the whole family should be up here to see her next week! For now, Mommy gets to enjoy all of the snugly one-on-one time.