Our morning starts at sevenish, when we wake up Babyface and get her dressed and pack our bags for the day. We pack her backpack with a fresh Zevex bag, two cold cans of formula, two extra outfits in case of vomiting, and enough diapers and wipes to get through a hurricane. You never know. Then there are the things that are always in there, like medical tape and scissors, a spare button, and a bolus extension tube in case... I don't know. In case she chews through the one she's using.
We get to the hospital at eight, when Kacie (Livie's feeding therapist) comes and takes her to the octopus room for her first session. All the rooms are sea creature themed. There are tv screens in the cafeteria with aquarium footage that Livie loves. She's a water baby for sure. That should make Grandma Jean happy!
Right now in therapy we're changing gears from just accepting bites to actually swallowing them. Olivia exhibits "pocketing,"which means she keeps food in her mouth until she gets a chance to spit it out or just explodes. Her therapy is all positive reinforcement for desired behaviors (taking her bites, swallowing them) and ignoring or preventing negative behaviors (swatting the spoon away, crying, vomiting, gagging, refusing to swallow.) If she spits out her food, she has to take another bite and swallow before she gets to watch her video or play with the toys she picked out. She starts her own timer at the beginning of the session, has her lip, gum, and cheek "stretches," chewing practice, and then takes as many bites and drinks as Kacie can get into her before her timer goes off. Then Livie turns it off, and once she's swallowed her last bite, she gets brought back to us.
Meanwhile, we're watching on a closed circuit on a tv right underneath a little wooden octopus. We record the sessions for us to take home to train other caregivers, like aunts and grandmas. And also because someday we want Olivia to realize how much progress she's made, and how proud she should be of herself. As soon as we finish filling up the first DVD, we'll probably post it to YouTube and post a link, in case any of you are interested in what feeding therapy looks like.
For some reason, blogger won't let me post my pictures right now. I'll try again soon. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them and I'll try to address them in my next post! I know there are a lot of families out there thinking about feeding therapy for their own kids, and I'd love to be able to help if I can.