Friday, April 24, 2015

Blessings for G and A

I want to pick up where I left off on Wednesday: how God has been faithful not only in Joshua's life, but G and Baby A's as well.

I've written before about G's health issue and how he takes a daily injection of human growth hormone, but I haven't written much about what his life was like prior to his diagnosis.

From the moment G was born he did not want to eat.  Actually, let me put that in all caps.  HE DID NOT WANT TO EAT.  Not the breast, not the bottle, not a tiny syringe with milk, not a little spoon.  We tried it all.  After putting him on reflux medication and gentle formula he came around a little to the bottle, but it was usually a long, drawn out, tortuous process.  For the first 3 years of his life it continued to be a battle trying to find out WHY he wouldn't eat much.  Beyond his regular pediatrician appointments he had an endoscopy and eating evaluation by a speech therapist/nutritionist. We gave him high calorie supplements used for cancer patients to help him keep up. I remember that right before Morocco he was dangerously close to being put on a feeding tube.  He was picky, and Joe and I rotated being in charge of mealtimes for our sanity.  I feel for any parent out there that deals with feeding issues; it is SO stressful.

Also, starting around 6-8 months G got sick ALL the time.  It got to the point that around 18 months of age he and I didn't even attend church because he was guaranteed to be sick by Tuesday.  He got ear tubes and saw a specialist for his asthma, but continued to get sick.  So much so, that around 2 years old his immunologist put him on a weekly infusion of healthy immunoglobulin in the hope that it would help his immune system fight illness.

Because he was sick so often, we believe, he was developmentally behind.  Not grossly so, but he seemed to lag about 10 months behind his peers.  10 months is a big gap when you're only 2 years old!  It mainly showed in his speech, or lack of it, and he saw a speech therapist until we left for Morocco.

He didn't grow, either.  The only time he made it onto the growth chart (until he was 4 years old) was when he was born at a whopping 8 lbs 2oz.  It was all downhill from there.  He wasn't skinny and kept plenty of weight on, but wouldn't grow lengthwise.

(Do you understand now why we thought Joshua would be our healthy one?)

For the first year in Morocco, G did not get sick.  Although the continued infusions of healthy IG helped, we also suspect it was because Morocco is not the anti-bacterial, purell-ed society that the States are.  Kids were exposed to normal germs and their bodies learn to fight them appropriately.  At some point during that year we stopped the infusions without consequence. But then G got the diagnosis that his body didn't produce growth hormone. The doctor told us it takes 40 days for the injected hormone to really get into his system.  He said the first thing we would notice is G's foot growing.

Well, I kid you not, at 40 days on the DOT, that boy started EATING.  Eating, eating, eating. Khadija would call me at work to inform me he had just eaten his third breakfast of the day.  And energy followed. OH!  So much energy.  And then of course growing too.  It was as if all of a sudden, his BODY WORKED.  To this day, G is the poster child for the success of HGH injections.  In the next couple of years, G caught up developmentally, and pretty close size-wise.  He still receives one hour of speech at school every week, but he is expected to test out of that eventually.

G around the time of his diagnosis, age 3.5

Here's a great height comparison.  Ellis and G are only two months apart in age- and she is average size.  See how far behind he was? He looks like a baby compared to her! Now, at age 6 they could look one another in the eye.

For the most part, G is very good-natured and has a sensitive spirit.  He is mostly obedient and good to his siblings.  He has a soft heart. I think God used his early struggles to develop the sweet aspects of his personality.  And so even though it was a rough few years, I can now see how even then God was working all for good in G's life. And I'm so grateful.

Then there's this one:

Right before we got pregnant with her, I was here in the States with Joshua and had a conversation with two dear friends from church about having more children.  Joe and I knew we wanted at least one more child, maybe more, but after having both boys diagnosed with fairly significant (though seemingly unrelated) health issues, we started wondering if there was something in our genes that was affecting them.  I told my friends I was unsure if it was wise for us have another (biological) child.  Looking back I can't imagine how we would have made that decision, and thankfully we didn't have to because she showed up unplanned!

So far, Baby A, who is not so much of a baby anymore, seems very healthy.  She's on the growth chart, she eats well, she is developmentally on target.

And let me tell you something.  THIS FASCINATES US TO NO END.  It's a new ballgame, and everything she does is like a miracle.  She says several words!  She picks up her shoes and holds them up when she wants to go outside! She points at what she wants!  She wants to help with household chores!  She tries to put diapers and shoes on Joshua! She HANDS ME HER PLATE WHEN SHE'S FINISHED EATING! (We just recently got G in this habit) And while she is average to the doctors, she is a GENIUS in our eyes.

She also throws tantrums and won't watch TV, which is unfortunate when I need to make dinner. We don't know what the future holds for her, but we are all grateful for this time of health!

God has been so faithful and generous to our family by giving us the gift of Baby A. She is Joe and my precious girl, she is G's playmate and object of much affection, and she is Joshua's challenge. (Although, let me write down here that I believe she may eventually be Joshua's champion.)

 We trust God will continue to be faithful to all of our children- even when circumstances may not look like blessings to begin with. We are thankful for a God who cares deeply for each of them...and us.

Happy Weekend!  

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