Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Failure to Thrive; the Despised Phrase

Josiah was born weighing a healthy 7 lbs - ironically, he weighed more than either of his brothers at birth.  However, it didn't take long to see that he simply wasn't gaining weight as readily as his peers.  For those of you who have read the blog from the beginning, you know this has been a sensitive issue for me (given that Josiah was/is a breastfed baby).  We have persevered.  Josiah has done the same.  His providers have been patient (I was never willing to stop breastfeeding, only willing to supplement). 

'Failure to Thrive' has always been that phrase we didn't want to hear.  We didn't want Josiah diagnosed with "failure to thrive."  Though it's just a concept, I guess the name sounds so horrific to Carl and I.  Despite providers not using it, it still remained.  It was the (usually) unspoken truth.  I say usually, because hidden on a medical summary somewhere are the words 'history of failure to thrive.'  Carl and I have never considered Josiah as failing to thrive.  So, I set out to check definitions.

Johns Hopkins refers to failure to thrive in this way: "Children are diagnosed with failure to thrive when their weight or rate of weight gain is significantly below that of other children of similar age and gender. Infants or children that fail to thrive seem to be dramatically smaller or shorter than other children the same age."  It goes on to say that failure to thrive can be the result of physical problems (such as Down Syndrome) or environmental problems (such as abuse/neglect).

Ok, fair.  I can agree that Josiah does not match the weight of other children his age.  I guess it's the phrase that is despised.  It feels like it implies something sinister.  Perhaps, in some cases it is caused by something sinister. 

I've never brought myself to write about this as it's so personal for us.  However, yesterday gave me good cause to mention it. 

Josiah came down with a fever on Sunday.  101.3.  It was late in the afternoon.  He was crying non-stop, difficult to console.  I finally gave him a small dose of Tylenol and called the pediatrician's office.  An RN was on the phone within a few minutes.  We agreed, Josiah could wait until morning to be seen.

I knew the pediatrician's office opened at 8:30, so I was up, showered, and dressed by 8.  I was watching the clock with the intention of calling them at 8:35.  Well, as usual, they beat me to the punch.  At 8:15, our phone rang.  Sure enough!  It was the pediatrician's office calling to see how Josiah was doing.  I explained.  He fussed off and on during the night.  His fever remained when he awoke at 4am.  We were given a 9:45am appointment.

At 9am, we were out the door.  The big boys were in school allowing Carl & I to take Josiah in alone.  Once inside the room, they asked what he currently weighs.  Well, you know me - I stopped weighing him at home because I was becoming a bit obsessive about the weight issues lol.  So, I gently said "Can we weigh him here?"  Minutes later, Josiah was undressed and laying on the scale.  I knew that he weighed 15 lbs 3oz on Aug 16th.  I watched the scale teeter - I was simply waiting for the end result.  OMG!  17lbs 2oz.  He did it!  He gained 2 lbs in 5 weeks!  I almost started dancing in the hallway.

They examined Josiah.  Luckily, nothing serious.  No ear infections.  No respiratory issues.  It boils down to a cold/viral thing.  Thank goodness!  As we were leaving, we stopped in the hallway.  The MD passes by smiling.  He tells the nurse, "my two failure to thrive kids are both thriving." 

"My two failure to thrive kids are both thriving." 

I'll take it!

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