The Orion Nebula

This is one STELLAR nursery!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

That's Mr. Floppy Epiglottis to you!

On Orion's very first day with us here in the outside world, we couldn't help but to notice that he couldn't eat without gasping for air like David Blaine coming out of that crazy plastic sphere after attempting to break a breath holding record. We were stopped by concerned strangers on more than one occasion. When we asked Dr. Locobeans about it he wasn't concerned and told us simply that "some babies are loud eaters." Doombot and I weren't satisfied with that.

The problem is that the horrible gasping noise causes the squirrel to be so very gassy. It caused him to have very painful reflux. It was simply unacceptable. So, on our last Locobeans appointment we brought a bottle and gave him a front row seat to the show. Funny how actually having to listen to a precious little baby grasp like he's dying tends to make a medical professional take you seriously. Dr. Locobeans declared the awful noise to be a "stridor" and promised to call a "lung doctor" (did we look like we couldn't understand what a pulmonologist is?) for a consultation.

A funny thing happened while we waited for the "lung doctor" to return Dr. Locobeans' call. The gas got much better! I'd like to take credit for switching the squirrel to eating exclusively from standard Dr. Browns bottles. However, what replaced it was a return of the reflux that had been somewhat controlled by zantac at that point. Luckily, when the lung doctor returned with a diagnosis of laryngomalacia (a real live condition!) it bought us a little bit of credibility with Locobeans. As it turns out, Laryngomalacia is a condition where the epiglottis (the flap of skin that decides if stuff goes down your food hole or your air hole) is too floppy. He kids with this condition, the epiglottis is too floppy and so they do a bad job of swapping between eating and breathing. We're lucky. In severe cases babies sometimes stop breathing or can't eat. I'll take a nasty noise, some reflux, and gas over that stuff any day.

Once we understood the underlying cause, we settled in to treating the symptoms. The gas was much better but the reflux had reached an unacceptable level. Some research turned up the fact that it's fairly common for zantac to work for a couple of weeks and then stop. Dr. Google told me that what we really needed was prevacid. We talked the nurse into getting us upgraded to prevacid, filled the prescription, argued with the insurance company to get it covered, stopped the zantac and switched over. The squirrel was miserable. It was like he wasn't taking any medicine at all. I spent last night alternating between soothing Orion and frantically searching the internet for answers that might help us.

I finally found the awesome forums. I quickly discovered that it does take up to two weeks for the prevacid to start working and that in the mean time babies should keep getting their zantac too. One zantac dose later and the squirrel was zonked out and happy. Of course, it can't be that easy, can it? I had decided to try a little bit of rice ceral in Orion's nighttime bottle to help him sleep a little longer. The rice? It brought the gas back.

Are we ever going to have a happy baby that isn't screaming because something's wrong with his tummy?

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