Stella is currently enjoying a concert by Daddy as I assess the day’s progress. Today’s bottle feeding went pretty well. Not on the same level as yesterday, but there was a major bright spot: she polished off an entire bottle at her last feeding!
A probable explanation for today’s dip in overall intake, besides the fact that we tried to feed her during an appointment (she usually seems too distracted to eat when we are in an unfamiliar place), is that we used our last packet of Simply Thick last night, having failed to order more in time. This lapse on our part was simply, well, thick. At first we were unconvinced of the effectiveness of thickening. But this weekend, we finally found a thickener-to-formula ratio and nipple combination that seemed to be working, then promptly ran out of thickener. This morning’s feedings were left “thin, “so not surprisingly, she didn’t take as much from those bottles. However, this afternoon our wonderful occupational therapist, Robin Glass, hooked us up with a couple packets to tide us over until our delivery arrives (which should be tomorrow). With the proper balance restored, Stella proceeded to down a full feeding of 115 mls in no time flat.
The thickener doesn’t just make the formula easier to swallow. It also helps with Stella’s reflux as it’s heavier and doesn’t come back up as easily. Stella usually sounds pretty phlegmy due to her reflux–there’s a rattling in her throat. In the short time since we’ve thickened her feedings, Stella’s breathing sounds more clear, perhaps an indication that her reflux is being kept at bay.
I’m so used to having to set up a pump or gravity feed when she’s had enough of the bottle, I almost don’t know what to do with myself when she finishes one. But inevitably, I wind up dancing around the house with Stella in my arms. (I almost always put on Christmas music when I feed Stella these days, to keep the mood cheerful and mellow.)
Robin Glass isn’t the only person to whom we owe thanks. A few days ago, we found out that Stella’s formula costs $43 per 14-ounce can. In four weeks, we’d rung up a formula bill of close to $1,000! On top of that, insurance was refusing to cover the formula, pump, and various other feeding supplies that Stella currently requires. After Cody spoke with the insurance company, we’d pretty much given up and were about to apply (probably in vain) for financial aid from Seattle Children’s Home Care, from which we order Stella’s supplies every other week or so. At the same time, as back-up, we did some quick online research and discovered that Elecare is offered online by the manufacturer at a slightly better price. However, to our amazement, a representative of Home Care named Skylar somehow convinced the insurance company to cover everything! We are so grateful and plan to send a little holiday gift Skylar’s way.
With no appointments tomorrow, Stella and I can take it easy and simply enjoy the day together. We’ll go for our walk, take care of some household chores (with Stella in her beloved Baby Bjorn), and hopefully do some dancing as well.
Amber and Cody,
I just finished reading Stella’s blog and I’m so amazed by your strength, determination, and perseverance. Reflux is a very frustrating thing to work through and I’m happy you’ve started to see positive results from the cranial therapy. You guys are one of my favorite clients and Stella’s birth will always be a highlight of my doula career. Cody, you provided never ending support and Amber…well Amber you blew me away. Keep up the optimism and I hope to see you soon. I’m always up for coffee breaks.