Today is the day. Today, Noel graduates from Feeding School. What a long, exhausting roller coaster it has been since May 9th, 2007 to today.
May 9th, 2007 was when Noel stopped eating. The doctors told me, "Babies don't starve themselves; he'll eat when he's hungry." My mommy instinct was telling me not to listen, but these were doctors who surely knew more than me. I wish I had listened to my gut, I wish I had asked more questions, I wish I would have pushed harder, faster and sooner for answers.
But I didn't. I quickly learned my lesson after our first overnight hospital stay for dehydration and malnutrition. I no longer waited for doctors to find answers -- Dan and I sought them ourselves. We pride ourselves on the fact that we refused to let the doctors bully us into unnecessary G-tube surgery on Noel, and instead found medical journal articles that gave us a different path to try first ... a path that worked despite being told by the cocky young intern that we were doing harm to our son by not having the surgery and that we'd be back in a week.
But the true champion in this story is Noel. Noel, my "Baby C", who was snuggled closest to my heart while I carried the boys for 29 weeks, 4 days. Noel, the one who had so much spunk in him that he kicked a hole in his amniotic sac at 24 weeks, 3 days. Noel, who was named because I had the boys on the first snow of the year. Noel, who was first off oxygen despite being the smallest at birth. Noel, who I got to hold first after I was released from the high-risk ward. Noel ...
From being the smallest at birth ... to being the biggest of the three at our five month check-up ... to being the smallest again by almost five pounds at our two year check-up.
From five month old chunky monkey ... to twelve month old skinny minny ... to normal two year old toddler.
From Pediatrician ... to ENT ... to GI ... to Neurology ... to Neurosurgery ... to Genetics ... to Feeding School ... to Aerodigestive Team for follow-up only.
From blood test ... to urine tests ... to stomach x-rays ... to upper GIs ... to gastric emptying scans ... to visual swallow studies ... to pH probes ... to brain MRIs ... to me being accused of Munchhausen by Proxy ... to doctors finally admitting they don't know why Noel stopped eating.
From eating everything in sight ... to eating nothing at all ... to reflux medicines ... to having an ng tube ... to thickening formula with cornstarch ... to medicines to stimulate appetite ... to high calorie drinks ... to chipmunking food ... to chewing and spitting out food ... to Feeding School for four months ... to eating normally at each meal ... to his favorite food being broccoli.
From being my first to sleep through the night at three months old ... to throwing up in his crib every night unless falling asleep on Mommy ... to giggling and passing stuffed animals through cribs with his brothers before falling asleep on his own.
I'm so proud.