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Weigh-in

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014: One Year, One Hundred and Seventy Seven Days Old.

Ayla had her first weigh-in in nearly a month this morning, and she’s put on 200 grams; her first weight gain in seven weeks!

When we first started weighing Ayla back in July she was 8.68kg; equal to what she weighed when she was nine months old. Since then however Ayla’s weight consistently declined week after week, hitting an all time low of 8.25kg in early August.

Just before we went down south Ayla’s weight seemed to have stabilised at 8.35kg, and while that was still extremely small for her age and height we were grateful she was no longer losing weight.

The whole time we were away there was no changes to Ayla’s weight, but after starting the prescription formula on Friday I swear I’ve already been noticing a bit more chub in her face, arms and legs (even though no one else can!).

So it’s not surprising I was keen for Ayla’s weigh-in this morning, if only to find out whether I was believeing my own wishful thinking or not! But, when I popped Ayla on the scales I coudl hardly believe my eyes when I read 8.55kg.

My theory, so far, is this….

As Ayla is not growing upwards at all, she doesn’t need much food to sustain her activities and therefore she hardly eats, hence why she’s not been putting on weight either.

But, now Ayla’s on prescription formula that’s full of good fats and oils it’s providing all the nutrients Ayla could possibly need and more. So although she’s is still not growing upwards, the extra calories Ayla’s consuming are making her gain weight, because I guess they need to go somewhere!

It’s all positive I suppose, although sudden and unnecessary weight-gain comes with it’s own problems. But, hopefully by plying Ayla’s body full of goodness something might trigger inside that makes her grow again. If not though, we can rest assured Ayla’s not losing weight, becoming malnourished or damaging her organs or brain through not having enough energy to sustain her. Mind you, this is only the first weigh-gain in a while and if I’ve learned anything through all of this it’s to take each day one at a time.

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Medical Update #5 – More Results, No Answers

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Thursday, 18 September 2014: One Year, One Hundred and Seventy Days Old

It’s been a nervous wait the past few days, wondering what today would hold.

I didn’t have high hopes for an answer to Ayla’s problems, but I was dreading an complete absence of possible next steps that would leave me back at square one with only google and peopel’s theories to get me by.

But, the doctor was wonderful, again. Clear, precise, caring and to the point. Here’s what he said;

RE: Failure to Thrive

The procedure on Friday proved that Ayla’s Failure to Thrive is NOT a result of digestive issues, although he definitely concedes there is something wrong with her growth (Ayla’s only grown two centimetres in the last 9 months and she weighs even less now than she did back then. FYI – she’s now 17.5 months old). According to the doctor Ayla’s digestive system is working correctly and shows no sign of damage, meaning that her Failure To Thrive is not due to an inabilty to absorb nutrients from food. This supports his comments around Ayla not actually looking like she’s malnourished; Ayla is perfectly proportioned, just miniature in size and not growing. These findings have also confirmed that the Paediatric Endocrinologist we’re booked in to see in mid-October is the best next step for us because apparently she will be able to conduct tests that look specifically at Ayla’s size and growth as a primary concern.

RE: Lack of Appetite

The procedure on Friday did show some irritiation to Ayla’s upper digestive system, suggesting that she may be suffering a small amount of reflux. While Ayla’s reflux is far from severe and virtually insignificant, the doctor has prescribed some anti-reflux medication for us to try over the next month. He hopes that by addressing even the slightest discomfort brought on by food, Ayla may regain confidence in eating and thus rediscover her appetitite. He said it’s an unlikely long shot but something we should try anyway.

In the meantime, the doctor has also given us some gluten-free-dairy-free-anti-alergen baby formula to try. The formula tastes pretty bad apparently so he’s asked us to try Ayla on it first. If she accepts it he’ll write out a prescription for more (at $40 a tin!) so we’ll at least know she’s getting the calories she needs regardless of how much, or little, she actually eats.

RE: Constipation

We have been instructed to maintain the daily laxatives Ayla is taking, which remains at the same levels recommended for a six year old. The Doctor was concious of the trauma Ayla’s constipation could cause long-term if we stop, and he feels that the issue will resolve if Ayla’s diet improves ie; the small amounts of food Ayla actually eats at the moment are probably not providing her body with the full range of things it needs to create normal bowel motions. He also believes that we should address the growth issue as the number one concern and hopefully in identifying/rectifying that, the rest will be easier to treat.

So that’s it for now. We’re trying to get a plane ticket home as soon as possible so that we can return to normal life for at least a few weeks before heading back here again for our mid-October appointment and subsequent tests. I’ll keep you posted….

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Chow-down machine

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Thursday, 3 April 2014: One Year and Two Days Old.

Ayla must be having a growth spurt or something because she has been putting away food like a champion!

Today Ayla has eaten a bowl of porridge with yogurt, two strawberries, a fish cake, a wedge of beetroot, a sprig of asparagus and some corn off the cob, two grapes, a small slice of pear, two diced up cubes of satay pork, a tablespoon of rice and some chocolate baby custard.

What’s more, in addition to all the food she’s eaten Ayla has still managed to indulge in five breast feeds and a bottle of water!

I can’t help but wonder if Ayla’s recent transformation into a chow-down machine is related to her being unable to eat for the eight days she was sick.

I’m also wondering if Ayla’s apparently insatiable appetite is the reason behind her unsettled sleeps at night, which are slowly but surely starting to drive me crazy.

Maybe Ayla’s making up for lost calories, maybe she’s having a one year old growth spurt or maybe her body is just finally calling for more sustenance than milk can provide, but whatever it is Ayla’s one hungry little pork chop, pumpkin pie, sausage, err…. Kid!

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Setting her own pace

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Saturday, 15 February 2014: Three Hundred and Twenty Days Old.

It amazing how over time Ayla is slowly setting her own routine that is much more “in line” with what I expected!

I was one of those pre-parents who raved on about the plans I had for my first child, saying things like “my kid will be in bed by 7:30 every night” and “my kid will have dinner when we have dinner” and “my kid will eat what we eat”.

But the reality is, it’s nothing like that (* insert collective “I told you so’s” from friends and family)

Since Ayla was born I’ve slowly learned to go of the silly, unsubstantiated “rules” I’d made up for what constituted good parenting, and instead have allowed Ayla to set her own pace for growing and learning… within a loose set of “guidelines” that keep her from completely ruling the roost!

At times I’ve seen a few raised eyebrows from people who’ve been shocked that Ayla’s bed time was anywhere between 8 and 9.30, or that Ayla might go a couple of days without eating hardly any solids but hey, at the end of the day I think being flexible and intuitive has contributed to the happy, healthy Ayla we all know and love.

But as my return to work looms in the near future I’ve been questioning some of my decisions and worrying about how a 9pm bed time is going to be sustainable.

I’ve also spent many a long night wondering about weaning; should I wean Ayla, how can I get her to take a bottle, will she go to sleep during the day if she can’t nurse?

I’ve been trying to catch myself in the act of over thinking, reminding myself that it will all sort itself out in due course and, well, turns out it is.

Around 6pm each night, Ayla starts getting hungry for her dinner. By 6.45 she’s usually finished and having a bath and by 7.30 Ayla’s starting to get tired and rub her eyes.

By 8pm, for the last few days anyway, Ayla’s read a story, been cocooned, and tucked into her bed, preferring to fall asleep on her own now instead of in my arms.

Ayla’s also sleeping much better through the night, and we’ve finally returned to the 7 or 8 hours stints she had when she was six months old.

While Ayla still refuses the bottle, and still relies on mummy cuddles for her day time naps, having a consistent, calm and natural bed time routine is making a huge difference to my confidence and I’m sure the other things will follow in due course.

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Chinese New Year

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Sunday, 1 February 2014: Ten Months Old.

Ayla is one sixteenth Chinese and that tiny piece if her heritage got a big workout tonight!

It’s Chinese New Year so we went out for dinner at a local Yum Cha restaurant and no sooner had we sat down at our table than a Chinese Lion Dancing show began.

The restaurant was packed but that didn’t stop six brightly coloured, lifelike, traditional Chinese Lions (they look more like dragons to me) manoeuvring their way expertly through the tables to the sound of deafening drums.

As part of the show the “dragons” were being conducted by a man wearing a intimidating helmet-style mask that made him look like a Chinese cartoon character.

I’ve always been slightly afraid and overwhelmed by these show – the loud noises, the giant dragon mouths and their blinky long-lashed eyes, and this time in particular I was far from a fan of the man in the mask – but Baby Ayla was brave, excited and a little bit shocked all at once!

It didn’t surprise me that she loved the drums and started banging on the table in unison, and Ayla was completely mesmerised by the dragons as they wiggled their faces before her eyes and snaked their long satiny bodies past her.

When the show was over Ayla got stuck into her meal and I’ve never seen her enjoy food so much! Using both hands and all ten tiny fingers Ayla scoffed down steamed pork dumplings, lemon chicken, sizzling pepper beef, plenty of rice and coconut jelly for desert.

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Vampire

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Friday, 24 January 2014: Two Hundred and Ninety Eight Days Old.

I’ve decided that for next Halloween Ayla should dress up as a vampire because she looks so cute with blood all over her face.

Now don’t be alarmed, she didn’t get an injury or anything, and to tell you the truth it wasn’t even really blood, but there’s no denying she can pull it off right?

It’s raspberry juice.

Now that Ayla is properly eating food (instead of just making a mess with it) but she’s hungry all the time!

So today while I was baking piklets for Ayla and she was constantly under my feet, ramming my already bruised ankles with her walker, I had an idea to put some frozen raspberries in her food net to see if that would keep her quiet.

It did, and it also resulted in everything turning a lovely shade of pink, including her hair.

Ayla had a ball, she must’ve loved the cool fruits on her sore gums and the tart tastiness of the berries, not to mention the truly spectacular mess!