Lucas’s first visit to the children’s hospital

by DaniGirl on April 2, 2008 · 27 comments

in Lucas

Lucas and Tristan have had a lot in common. They’re both long and lean, both good sleepers, both had early trouble gaining weight. This, however, is one where I wish he would take after Simon. I spent a lot of time in Tristan’s first year getting tests done at the children’s hospital for various concerns: an EEG for a weird eyeball-rolling thing to rule out seizures; a chest xray for I don’t remember what; a VCUG and a year of antibiotics for a urinary tract valve issue whose name completely escapes me (Nancy? Surely you remember!); febrile seizure at 2 1/2, resulting in our first 911 call and ambulance ride…Funny how much of these my brain has washed away!! Anyway, we were in the children’s hospital quite a few times with Tristan, and not (touch wood!) once so far with Simon. And here we go with Lucas, at not quite eight weeks old.

It was supposed to be another of our weekly weigh-in appointments for Lucas. Last week, we were in the car on the way home at the actual time of our appointment, so swift and routine have these appointments become, so this week I was fairly confident that scheduling a haircut an hour after the appointment time would give me plenty of travel time.

I had a bad feeling when we walked into the ped’s office and the waiting room was full. I asked the nurse if they were running roughly on schedule and she said they were quite behind because a substitute doctor was taking over while my ped is doing some teaching this week at the Children’s Hospital, and the new doctor is “quite thorough”.

I nearly whooped with joy when the nurse weighed Lucas and he’d gained a whopping 320 grams since last Thursday. That’s 11 oz, double what he was supposed to gain and more than three times what he’s been gaining each week the last month or so. Go Lucas! I attributed it to the formula, but the doctor reminded me that the formula is still only about a quarter of his daily intake, so I must be making some better milk, too. Heh, maybe I’m all the way up to two percent… not quite table cream, but better than skim!

I was still congratulating Lucas on his stellar weight gain as the ped carried on a much more thorough exam than I was expecting. As she was doing so, Lucas spat up on the exam table a few times – copiously, as he is wont to do. We talked a bit about the quantities he spits up and the frequency, both of which have concerned me from the beginning. Twice last week he moved beyond spit up into what I’d call true vomiting, once what seemed like the entire contents of the bottle I had just finished feeding him. When the doctor started explaining a condition called pyloric stenosis, I said I was already familiar with it. Beloved had surgery for it when he was five weeks old, and our ped had already given me some warning signs to watch for — mostly, if Lucas wasn’t seeming to be able to keep *anything* down, or vomiting after each meal, and/or showing signs of dehydration. When I told this substitute ped that Beloved had pyloric stenosis as a baby, she was visibly concerned.

After a minute or two more of questions, she said she would rather be safe than sorry and asked me if I wanted to have the ultrasound done that would conclusively diagnose or eliminate pyloric stenosis. I’m a big fan of better safe than sorry, and said so. She left the room for a minute and came back telling me to go directly to the children’s hospital to have the ultrasound done, which pretty much made my own heart stop. She then said that they’d diagnose him on the spot, and warned me (as if I weren’t already half way to freaksville) that if he did have pyloric stenosis then they would admit Lucas immediately for the routine surgery required to correct the condition.

Immediately. Surgery. On my seven and a half week old baby.

But you know what? I was pretty damn calm leaving for the hospital, because I was pretty sure he didn’t have pyloric stenosis. I’d consulted with Dr Google the first time the subject came up with my ped, and hadn’t seen any of the major warning signs. Still, I was really glad I had restocked the diaper pack this morning, and I stopped at Tim Horton’s for a bagel on the way to the hospital, because I wasn’t really sure when I could expect my next meal. It’s times like these that I’m really glad to be at least partially breastfeeding, too, as I didn’t have anything else to feed the baby.

My butt didn’t even hit a chair in the radiology department at the children’s hospital. We were ushered directly into a room where they spent about 30 minutes examining Lucas’s digestive tract from his esophagus to his kidneys. At one point, they asked me to feed him a couple of ounces of glucose-laced water, the better to see his inner bits at work, and I had to laugh at the vigour with which he gobbled that down. Got a sweet tooth like his daddy, this one does.

And, bless their hearts, they told me on the spot that Lucas does not, in fact, have pyloric stenosis. We still don’t know exactly what is causing all the spitting up, but as of today at least the weight gain issue is under control. We’ll see how he does next week, when he goes for his two month checkup, but I’m greatly reassured. I know Beloved worried about pyloric stenosis every time Lucas spat up, so it’s great to have that eliminated once and for all.

I was home a mere three hours after I left for the original appointment, even though it felt like I had been gone for a week. Have I lately said a “hallelujah” for our medical system? Not a cent out of my pocket and speedy, responsive and efficient care like that. We are lucky indeed.

Needless to say, I missed the hair appointment entirely. And man, do I need that hair cut!

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chantal April 2, 2008 at 2:11 pm

OMG when I read the title to your post my heart sank. I am so glad it turned out well. Phew.

2 Kathryn April 2, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Yeah for 11 ounces! Way to go, Lucas! What a relief. I am a better safe than sorry person as well. It is good to get that out of the back of your mind. Whew!

3 Anonymous April 2, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Hoorah for Lucas and his crazy weight gain!

And (I say this as a transplanted American) God Bless this medical system.

Captcha: meeting collar *hum. Lucas’ spit-up?

4 Jen April 2, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Phew! Glad the outcome was good.

5 cinnamon gurl April 2, 2008 at 3:12 pm

My heart was in my throat, until I stopped to think that if Lucas HAD needed surgery, you sure as hell wouldn’t be taking the time to blog all this preamble, if at all… then I was only slightly anxious until it was ruled out. And yay!! On the weight gain… you go, you two!

6 Miche April 2, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Yea! for weight gain!

Yea! for no surgery!

7 Ingrid April 2, 2008 at 5:46 pm

I had to scroll down to the end to see how the storied turned out – thank goodness!
My 2nd child had surgery, at 3 months and that was heartbreaking for me – the very first time I handed him over to a stranger.
Hurrah for 11 oz!

8 Holly April 2, 2008 at 6:39 pm

wow, so very glad things don’t involve surgery. hopefully whatever is bothering Lucas will be minor and correct itself over time.

9 Jody April 2, 2008 at 8:42 pm

You made my heart skip a beat with this one.

I’m glad you’re all home and well.

Huge shout-out on the weight gain, too.

10 Rev Dr Mom April 2, 2008 at 8:50 pm

So glad everything worked out okay. And yay for the weight gain!!

11 Shan April 2, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Yay for the weight gain! Glad everything turned out well.

12 Theresa April 2, 2008 at 9:58 pm

WoW!! I barely breathed while reading that…..

Yay for YOU and LUCAS!!!

Interesting – I wonder how many hits google had today about ‘pyloric stenosis’?!?!

Keep at it girl!!!

13 Liz April 2, 2008 at 10:09 pm

I am so relieved. And I do so wish that my stupid country would climb aboard the universal healthcare bandwagon.

14 nomotherearth April 2, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Glad, so glad, to hear that he didn’t need surgery. Both my boys are prolific spitters, but the doctor keeps saying that as long as the baby is gaining, it’s “nothing to worry about”. (She’s just saying that because she hasn’t been spit up on over 20 times a day)

15 Chris (Mombie) April 3, 2008 at 6:50 am

I’m glad all is well.

Well, except for the spit-up, that part sucks.

16 Barbara April 3, 2008 at 7:01 am

Well, you do know how to tell a dramatic story. It’s good to have possible problems eliminated. Good luck with the weight gain. Lucas’ struggles makes it seem silly that I am worried about my weight.

17 snackmommy2 April 3, 2008 at 8:28 am

Wow, not the post I planned on seeing this morning! I’m glad it had such a good ending…..well, minus the missed haircut.

18 Sue April 3, 2008 at 9:22 am

Yay Lucas! Yay you!! Hooray for universal health care!

Captcha: “everybody and”

19 Sara April 3, 2008 at 10:13 am

So glad to hear no surgery was required… and that Lucas is gaining weight! I am sure he will grow up big and strong just like his brothers!!!

As for the hair cut…. you’ve always had great hair Dani – however I know how good it feels to actually get it cut… so I hope you are able to reschedule soon!

20 trixie April 3, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Throwing out an “Amen!” to your Hallelujah — good news all around… 🙂

21 nancy April 3, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Hydronephrosis. A blockage that causes dilation of the kidney/collecting system in fetus that is almost always unblocked as soon as baby is ‘free’ from uterus. VCUG often used in newborns/infants to quickly diagnose the severity of blockage.

Does that ring a bell? Heck, I didn’t even copy & paste that, I actually remembered!!

22 kgirl April 3, 2008 at 1:17 pm


23 Reluctant Housewife April 3, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Whew. What a relief!

Congrats on the 11oz!

24 Amelie April 4, 2008 at 12:52 pm

phew, that must have been a shock, off to the hospital so abruptly. I’m glad all is well.

25 Jerri Ann April 5, 2008 at 9:10 am

I had one child that could spit from the rocker to the truck (I thought that was a long way when I would comically used that analogy). Then, my second born could spit clear to the mailbox (we live in the middle of 4 acres, so THAT was a long way…we live in the country, the 4 acres is for the city slickers who don’t know just how far it can actually be “to the mailbox”).

Neither had pyloric stenosis and neither tolerated the medication for acid reflux. The key to this is….you may think they have spit up “everything they took in” but you have to remember that for ever bit of milk they take in, they also swallow approximately the same amount of saliva. So, when they spit up what appears to be ALL of what they consumed, it is technically only half. That was what got me through the 14 changes of clothing each day with mys second child.

Second one had and still has a horrible gag reflex. Up until about 4 months, we had to prepare him that we were putting a bottle in his mouth by showing it to him…as if he could really see it anyway. If we just tried to put the bottle in his mouth, that kid would barf on the spot, before er a tad bit had touched his tongue. A pacifier? bahahaha, as soon as that thing touched his lips, he was gagging and heaving.

He did outgrow that some but even now, if he doesn’t like the taste of something or even how it smells, he is gagging and heaving. And..heaven help the poor nurse last time he had strep because I warned her of that gag reflex and she didn’t listen. So, she got puked on…people, don’t think I know my own kid….argh.

We had the u/s for P.S. with both kids and I, like you, remember thinking, oh hells no they can’t take him and operate…but we were fortunate, like you, and we merely had 2 babies that spit up…and one who was a champion red neck spitter……clear da dat thar maaaail booox.

That last was my attempt at redneck talk…I can speak it well, but typing it is just not as easy for some reason.

Anyway good luck and feel good about the weight gain!!

26 Cristen April 7, 2008 at 8:55 pm

Delurking to say sorry you had such a tough day, but glad your little one didn’t need have PS and need the surgery after all. I’ve had those trips to the hospital a few times with my now 2 year old, who was a 5lb preemie and then caught every virus in the universe from daycare and has had pneumonia twice now.

Go Lucas! And go breastmilk!

And did I say I love the name Lucas? My first born was also named Lucas.

27 Anonymous April 7, 2008 at 10:30 pm

My oldest child – a girl, was a projectile vomiter, too. As an infant, she was not really thriving. Oh yes, she was cute and chubby – but at 3 months she hadn’t discovered her fingers yet and wasn’t smiling all that much. Well, before she was born, Hubby and I did the genetic counceling thing (as first time older parents do) and Hubby told the councelor that he had pyloric stenosis as a baby boy. Showed the scar to prove it. Councelor assured us that this is a boys’ disease and not to worry.

Well, baby girl hurled all the time. And lots of it. My pediatrician’s didn’t believe that something was wrong with her. They blamed it ‘nervous mom’ syndrome. In the doctor’s office one day, they took a little paper cup of water and poured it on the exam table to show me about how much most babies actually spit up…I then took the pitcher and dumped it on the floor to show then what my baby girl was hurling. I mean. it was so bad that if you were holding her over your shoulder, it would just run out of her like a faucet and fill the back of your shirt and underwear and socks and shoes!

Found another doctor who thought maybe an ultrasound was in order. That very afternoon she underwent the surgery for pyloric stenosis…spent 3 days in the hospital with caring and wonderful surgeon and staff (thank West Boca Medical Center, Boca Raton FL) and about week later found a smile, her hands , her feet, fingers, toes…….

Moral of the story – trust your instincts! Sometimes a mommy just gets a vibe!

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