Progress and I Need a Maid.

A little update on some of Baby Boy’s health issues….

I took to my Congo Facebook group with concerns over Baby Boy’s huge belly and enlarged organs. He is gradually growing into his belly — meaning that other parts of him are fattening up nicely — but it isn’t shrinking any. I was worried that the parasite tests were wrong and he really did have something going on that needed treatment. A couple of other DRC mamas with similar issues mentioned something called Kwashiorkor, a form of malnutrition that occurs when there isn’t enough protein in the diet.

So I did what any mom would do, and spent the evening hours on Google, looking up symptoms and causes. He has most of the symptoms, and as soon as the pediatrician’s office opened Monday morning, I gave them a call. They referred him to a new pediatrician with more experience in international medicine. She bumped up his next appointment so that we can repeat the lab tests and track his progress. She also looked over his charts and lab results and confirmed that he does, indeed, have Kwashiorkor. There’s not much we can do but continue to give him good nutrition. Once his spleen and liver begin to shrink, we’ll also be getting a brace to give him support. It is difficult for him to do a lot of the physical therapy stretches and exercises since his tummy gets in the way, and it does seem to make him uncomfortable. He may not ever reach his full growth or height potential but that’s all good — Yaya seems to be taking more after my gene pool anyways so we’ll all be smallish…except for Joel who is exactly one foot taller than me.

We have had two physical therapy appointments and he is doing really well. This week we’re adding a series of stretches to our routine at home to help with the torticollis. He is bearing weight on his legs and he actually really enjoys the appointments. Plus, I see lots of good signs of attachment when we’re there — he looks at me for approval when he does something correctly, and grins when I start clapping for him. When we practice at home, Yaya is a HUGE help to me in doing some of the exercises that require two people and cheering him on proudly whenever he does something. I love the way God has used Baby Boy to totally expand her world.

Sometimes I think Baby Boy’s making progress on the psychological part of eating, but then we’ll have a horrible feeding where he’ll scream so loudly afterwards my ears hurt, and it seems like we’re back at square one. Yesterday after he finished his bottle, he screamed in my arms for a good half hour. I feel so helpless when that happens. I know he is getting more than enough food and is growing well so I have to be careful not to overfeed him and always comfort him with food — or that can cause issues as well. When I held him as I was taking communion this past Sunday, he began screaming once he saw me eat the wafer. As Joel was approaching me with the plate of wafers, I suddenly had a flash of panic. For a fleeting moment, I actually considered snatching a wafer (I know, I know) …but instead I just braced myself as I tried to discreetly sneak the wafer into my mouth. Sure enough, the screams began and it took me a good fifteen minutes in the cry room to calm him down.

I had sort of been congratulating myself on how well I was doing adjusting to life with two kids. My house was clean, the dishes were done, I was somehow on top of laundering the diapers, burp clothes and blankets and Yaya was spending her days playing with Baby Boy or doing things like coloring and putting together puzzles.

Then my mom left, and I realized the whole reason all those things were happening is because she was doing them all and I was really just sitting around and hanging out with the kids while she did them (am I delusional or what?). After about a day of wondering how to stay on top of things I did what any good mama would do: I turned on the TV. Yaya has been working her way through Sound of Music this week so I can do the dishes. Thanks to Julie Andrews my 4-year-old totally knows solfege and has been yodeling all week, so I consider this an educational breakthrough. She also told me the Captain is her favorite because she likes the way he looks. (A girl after my own heart!)

Next up, Mary Poppins…

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