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The Beginning

Raya's challenges started pretty much at birth. She was born on 11-10-09 at 39 weeks and 6 days. Her birth was quick & without complication and she was precious & perfect. After some discrepancy between scales, we decided that her birth weight was 6 lbs 13 oz. I noticed while we were still at the hospital that her soft little head was tilted to the left and her head was a little bit crooked, just like her older sister's had been. I didn't worry about it too much then, I was just excited to have her. :)
Although she learned to nurse fairly quickly, it was a bit of an effort to keep her awake and interested long enough to eat. It wasn't more than a day before the spitting up started. We anticipated it based on the fact that our other 2 daughters had been very spitty-uppy. Our oldest daughter didn't stop spitting up until she was 18 months old and our 2nd daughter was on Prevacid for her reflux for 10 months. She also had a lot of trouble gaining weight. We assumed that Raya would probably have the same issues as her sisters so it wasn't a surprise that she did.

There were a lot of surprises with Raya though. She spit up a LOT. She cried for HOURS at a time. She vomited. She could projectile vomit 4 feet. When I took her in for her 1 month check-up, she was still teeny. She weighed 7 lbs 8 oz. I was okay with that because she was exactly the same size as her older sister was at 1 month. Because of the experiences we had had with her, I asked the pediatrician for Prevacid. She was on it for 1 month with very little change. She still threw up, still spit up, still cried for hours and still didn't get much bigger.

In January 2010, I decided that I needed to do something different. What we were doing wasn't working, so I started researching remedies for reflux and came across information on an elimination diet. It is what it sounds like. I pretty much eliminated EVERYTHING that could possibly bother her out of my diet and for almost 2 weeks, I ate turkey, rice/rice milk, potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini & yellow squash, and pears. That was it. It was hard, but I felt like it was something I had to do. I took her in for her 2 month check-up. She weighed 8 lbs 8 oz. She hadn't yet gained 2 lbs since birth. I told the pediatrician that I didn't think the Prevacid was working as well for her as it did for her sister and asked if we could do something different. Her response was that since all of the reflux medications were off-label for infants and because of all the symptoms she was experiencing, she would feel more comfortable if we saw a pediatric gastroenterologist.
That afternoon I called the GI doctor's office & was surprised to get an appointment the next morning. What an appointment that was. Since it was short notice, I had to take the other kids with me. My darling son had been up since 5 that morning and his little sister had been up since 3:30. They were bouncing off the walls and I was frazzled by the time the doctor came in. I expected that we would talk about Raya's symptoms and then she would write me a prescription for a new antacid and we'd be on our way. Didn't happen that way. :)
To put it bluntly, she scared the crap out of me. She was very direct and didn't waste any time in asking me her barrage of questions. What do you feed her? How often & how long? Do you supplement with formula? Do you water down her formula? How often does she spit up? How often and how much does she vomit? How far does the vomit go? Why did you eliminate all that food from your diet? Have you tried adding rice cereal? And on and on. I felt like I was being interrogated but tried not to take it personally because I knew that she was looking out for the best interest of Raya. After she had asked all of the questions, she had me lay Raya on the exam table. As soon as she unwrapped her, she said, "This baby is underweight." She looked in her ears, tested her muscle tone, checked reflexes, and pinched her inner thighs. After she had examined her, she said, "Your baby is very underweight and malnourished and I'm very concerned. In fact, I'm thinking about sending her to the hospital right now for some testing." I was not expecting that at all and was very grateful when she decided to give us 4 days over the weekend to try and get some weight on her. We were to come back Monday and have a weight check.
Monday came and instead of gaining 4-6 oz like the doctor wanted, Raya had lost an ounce. Her vomiting had increased significantly over the weekend. I thought she would send us straight to the hospital after that but she wasn't around. I hadn't heard from her by 8:00 that evening so I figured she'd call the next day and I took a shower. As soon as I got out of the shower, the phone rang. The doctor was concerned that Raya would start to get dehydrated with all of the vomiting she was doing and asked me if I wanted to bring her in that night or wait until the morning. We made arrangements for the other kids, Donny and our friend Scott gave her a priesthood blessing, and I headed for the hospital with her.

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