by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
Sadie, Sadie teeny tiny lady … I haven’t written a lot about Sadie and her eating, growing, issues  lately. Sometimes, especially when things are going fairly well in that area, it slips to the back burner. A few months ago, Jon and I made a decision to try and stop feeding her through her g-tube  overnight for awhile. We wanted to see if maybe taking a break for a few days might increase her appetite. When your child eats a couple of lint covered Cheerios she finds under the counter and then acts like “whoa, I couldn’t eat another bite” for the rest of the afternoon, you start to wonder if maybe she is just full. Once she’d been off the tube feeding for a few days her appetite did perk up. But at the end of our week long experiment she’d lost a few ounces instead of the gain we hoped for.
Rather than go back to the tube, on the suggestion of Sadie’s nutritionist, we decided to try the appetite stimulant, Periactin. Periactin is an antihistamine that has the added benefit of causing people to eat like they’re starving, stoned and premenstrual. It’s given to cancer patients and anorexics. The rest of us should probably stick with Benedryl. Within one day on the medicine, Sadie was eating more than we’d ever seen her. For maybe the first time ever, we actually heard her ask for more. More! The word more was so beautiful, so stunning and unexpected it brought tears to my eyes. She was like a completely different baby and we relaxed for the first time since she was born.
The scale moved slowly from eighteen pounds (Worry! Dread!) to twenty pounds (Happiness! Celebration!) and then she seemed to hit a plateau. It doesn’t seem to matter how many Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks she sucks down, the scale refuses to budge. But here’s the thing: She eats, she’s happy and energetic, and actually at only 30 inches tall she’s in perfect proportion. She even has some adorable cellulite - a miniature, dimply little butt –it’s delightful!
This doesn’t mean that Sadie’s lack of gain isn’t a concern at all, it is. She’s still way too small for her age and her endocrinologist isn’t hopefully that her short stature will correct itself even though she’s eating more. Sometimes when I hold up a pair of pants for a 12-month-old that fit Sadie perfectly even though she just turned two I get bummed out. When I see that Sadie can’t walk up a step that is a piece of cake for her sister to navigate, my heart hurts a little bit. Her endocrinologist said that without growth hormones she may not be taller than 4’10”. I wonder if she’ll be teased.
Last week, I parked my car on the street and was about to get out and make my way down the street to a shrink appointment. I opened my door and promptly got hit by a bus. I think Alanis Morissette would label that as ironic. I sat there in my car mystified as to what the hell happened and pretty sure even though I was going to miss my appointment, I’d surely get charged anyway. But I got some perspective that no amount of Zoloft has been able to provide. Here’s the thing: Sadie hasn’t been fed by a tube in many months. She eats like a normal kid – some days she’ll be down for almost anything I put in front of her and some days she looks at me like I’m smoking crack when presented with a delicious scrambled egg sautéed in copious amounts of butter –natch! We’re long past the stage of counting her calories as it all balances out in the end. She eats more than her twin who still outweighs her by at least eight pounds and is a good head taller. She’s on no medications because the Periactin did what it was supposed to do, it got her interested in food and able to associate eating with pleasure and not anticipating pain. There’s nothing else to do. We’re keeping the g-tube in through flu season but come March there will be much merriment when we pull it out, slap a band-aid on her belly and move on with our lives.
For today, I’m going to stay in the moment. I won’t focus on what she’s going to eat tomorrow or even tonight. I’m not going to weigh or measure her until the next time she sees her nutritionist. I’m going to enjoy watching her play with Legos, give hugs, learn to run and give kisses. After all, life is short and I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Again.