Yesterday marked Judah’s 6-week birthday, and after a slow start he is continuing to put on weight at just under 8lbs, and he has stretched about an inch or so. Things are certainly different here at the Children’s Institute than they were at the Hospital. It’s a much smaller facility, but thankfully it is much closer to home.
Here, his primary focus is on feeding, and he has been working hard with his therapists every day. Three feedings a day he works on eating a breastmilk and rice cereal mix from a bottle. The rice cereal is added to help thicken the mixture so that when he swallows it nothing goes to his lungs. His therapist has slowly been reducing the amount of rice cereal in order to thin the mixture, and she and we watch and listen to make sure Judah is swallowing properly. He will have another “swallow test” here at the Institute next week, where they will watch as he drinks a number of different thickness solutions to see how his swallowing is improving. Although he is drinking some of it from the bottle, the majority of his food is still going through the feeding tube, though in time he will slowly move towards more and more from the bottle.
In addition to the speech therapist who works with him on feedings, he also has an occupational therapist as well as a physical therapist. During normal business hours from 8am-430pm Judah is hard at work! He has a full day of therapists coming by every hour for feedings, exercises, monitoring, and all around work. It is a full time job for both Judah and mommy, who rarely get a moment to rest between therapy sessions. It’s especially difficult on them as they get little time to nap during the day, which makes the therapy sessions in the afternoon difficult as both Judah and mommy get tired and cranky after such a long day.
Although it is hard work, we are beginning to get into the routine of the therapies and feeding sessions here at the Institute, and our therapists are working really hard to help us get to where we need to be, which is feeding properly and on our way home. It is very nice to have the additional freedom here at the Institute, especially to be able to take little Judah outside for walks. He loves rolling around in his stroller through the gardens, under the trees, and out in the sun. We’ve been blessed with a few beautiful days this late in the year here in Pittsburgh, often called an Indian Summer, where it is in the 70s and may even reach the 80s, when the average temperature for late October should be closer to 60 or below. Because of this we take every opportunity to take little J outside several times a day, and you can see in his eyes how much he loves it.