June 28, 2013

Meet Annabelle …

After being born a chubby 8 lb 6 oz baby, landing solidly in the 75th percentile for weight, Annabelle’s growth chart started to quickly take a nose-dive. As her parents, we nervously watched her weight fall to the 26th percentile at two months, the 12th percentile at 4 months, the 6th at nine month, and off the growth chart (below the 3rd percentile) at 12 months.

We remained very concerned not only about Annabelle’s weight, but also that, since birth, she had not been eating enough. When Annabelle was 13 months old we finally received a referral to Children’s Hospital, and from the time she was 15 months old until the time she was 6 years old, she was a patient of the Feeding Team at the Children’s Hospital Feeding and Swallowing Clinic. No words could ever express appropriate thanks for the care she received during those years. It was truly second to none.

At our first appointments at Children’s our suspicions were confirmed when we learned that although Annabelle should have been consuming 1,000 calories a day, at times she was consuming as few as 90. The immediate goal was to increase Annabelle’s calories to get her to gain weight, and the long term ultimate goal was to get Annabelle to a point where she felt hungry on her own and wanted to eat.

Throughout the next 4-5 years, through the combined use of the dietary supplements, medication, and the behavioral tips from psychologist Dr. Silverman, ( who would observe Annabelle eat –both at the clinic an well as live from our kitchen in De Pere via webcam) we were able to build up Annabelle’s appetite and in turn get her to a point where she was relying less on supplements and more on “normal” food. Then, eventually, when Annabelle was about 5 years old, we were able meet our long term goal, and Annabelle was able to eat well enough on her own, that she was able to be taken off the mediation and supplements completely.

Dealing with Annabelle’s growth issues was very difficult, but working with the Feeding Team convinced us that we were receiving the best care possible for our little girl at Children’s Hospital. Today Annabelle is a happy, healthy, active, bright, eight year old, that , like most eight year olds, seems to be hungry all the time! We will be forever grateful to the Feeding Team, as we truly believe she would not be where she is today without the amazing care she received from them at the Children’s Hospital Feeding and Swallowing Clinic.