It looks so foreign, not in a cool way like a piercing or a tattoo but more like a workplace shrapnel accident. I'm sure with time I'll come to embrace it but right now it's just hard to swallow. I wonder if I'd feel different about it if he had it right away. If Gideon couldn't eat at all right from the get go, I'd probably have nothing but praise for the direct access to his stomach. The G-tube seems to mock me or challenge me. It's trying to one up me. I look at it and feel pressured to feed him, to get as many calories into him as possible. I offer Gideon a bottle and I try to coax him with songs and games, anything to get him to bite onto that nipple. Right now the feeding plan involves me feeding him orally on a very set schedule. Whatever he doesn't eat, I offer to him orally about an hour later and whatever he doesn't eat then, I put into the G-tube, followed by a "flush" of water. The trick about it is that you don't want his stomach to be too full or he might throw up. It gets even more challenging when I try and feed him solids. These have less calories than the formula, sit heavier on the stomach and for some reason have not really been taken into account in "The Feeding Plan" given to us by the dietitian.
I feel like I have a newborn again.
So far we have only used the syringe to feed him through the tube. There is also the option of using a pump. With this option you hang a feeding bag on an IV pole and thread the tube through the pump, like threading a sewing machine. You hook up the tubing to his G-tube and the pump will slowly feed him over whatever time frame you program the pump for. This option might be helpful if Gideon is feeling nauseous. Being able to feed him a large amount slowly over a longer period of time is much easier on the stomach than a quick large bolus. Some parents even do this while their child is sleeping.
We had a weigh-in yesterday and Gideon is over 18 pounds. Obviously his growth is not as dramatic as we would like, but I know the G-tube will help us work toward our goals.
Bring on the catch up weight!