My Savannah


Thirteen years ago today, I went to the doctor's office for an amniocentesis--that terrifyingly long and thick needle that is used to check amneotic fluid. This time it was being used to see if Savannah's lungs were sufficiently developed for her to be delivered. We hoped she was. I'd been in labor for several weeks, on bed rest for a couple of months and Christmas was three days away. We needed her to be born. The lungs were ready and I went in at 4 p.m. to deliver a beautiful baby girl.

Savannah was a little thing, 6 lbs 1 oz and only 19 inches long. She was on the lower end of the growth charts, but she was healthy and pretty and happy.

At each visit to the doctor, she slipped a little further down the growth chart, until at about a year old, she fell completely off. She got sick easily and had almost no energy. When her cousins were on the floor playing together, she just sat quietly on my lap. She was always hungry, but never seemed satisfied. I was worried.

Over the next few months, I took her to the doctor several times, wanting to know why she was so lethargic, hungry and sickly. At sixteen months, she was a scary 14 and 1/2 pounds. To appease me, the doctor told me to put her on a high protein formula and bring her back in two weeks to see how much weight she'd put on. I did and she was down three ounces.

"You've got to quit comparing her to her more robust cousins. Not all babies are the same," the doctor told me over and over.

I asked Travis to take an afternoon off and come with me to the doctor. When the doctor repeated his advice that we stop worrying so much, Travis said, "She seems like she's starving to death. At what point would you suggest that we start worrying?"

"She's not starving to death. You've seen the pictures of children starving in third world countries. Their stomachs are distended. She doesn't look anything like that."

He actually suggested we watch for her stomach to distend like the poor starving children on television, who we can save for the price of a cup of coffee a day? This was my baby. Here. In the United States of America. She belonged to a family with plenty of food and health insurance and we were supposed to wait for that? I was dumbfounded. I'd have changed doctors that very second, but I couldn't because of our insurance requirements.

On the next visit, I was angry. I sat in his office and told him I wasn't moving until we had some answers. "Okay. I'm going to go ahead and send you to a gastroenterologist. But I'm doing this for you, not Savannah. I think she's fine."

We went to the gastroenterologist and after a battery of awful tests, they found that Savannah was suffering from malabsorption--a very real thing. She WAS starving to death. Everything she ate was going right through her and she wasn't absorbing any nutrients. "It's sometimes called 'failure to thrive' and it's very serious," she told me.

A simple enzyme added to her food for about six months turned things around for her. She began putting on weight. She got taller. She had more energy. She didn't need to eat constantly. She became a different girl.

Now, at thirteen, she's tall, healthy, beautiful and one of the most entertaining and pleasant people I know. I don't know what I'd do without her.

Happy birthday, Savannah. I love you!

8 comments:

Lisa said...

happy birthday to savannah. we love you.

my experience has been that YOU are your child's primary caregiver. with guidance from Heavenly Father we have the tools to know when our kids need something. the trick is finding a doctor that will let YOU be the driver and that is willing to take a backseat.

Mindy said...

Savannah is so adorable! I want to kiss those baby cheeks and then take lots and lots of photos of her as a little toddler. ;)

I'm so glad you were such a "stubborn" mom. I get frustrated when I know something isn't right with my kids and the doctor/teacher/etc. insists that they are "fine".

Tawnie said...

She looks like Evelyn. So cute.
What frustration. "I am doing it for you". Oh man. I would want to go straight to that office, walk in on whatever appointment he was with at the moment and chew him out. SEE?!!!!!
Argh.
Glad it all ended so well.
Lvoe you.

Tawnie said...

by the way...HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAVANNAH!! You really are SOOO beautiful. Gorgeous in fact.
Love you!

Shannon Martin said...

Happy Birthday Savannah! And I have to agree she is one of the most beautiful people I know. The Martin's love you and think you are incredible!

Aim Aug said...

Amen Shannon! Happy Birthday Savannah! We love having such a kind, sweet babysitter that we know we can completely trust with our kids. You are amazing!

Alison said...

We don't know what we would do without her either! She has been an answer to our prayers as she and Kayla have been able to find true friends in each other.
Happy Happy Birthday Savannah! We love you!
Oh...and Karey...way to go! There is much to say about a mother who knows...and knows better. :o) I lived that all last year with Avery. We MUST be our children's advocate...I'm so glad that you and Travis were great ones for Savannah.

Kristi said...

Her little girl picture DOES look like Evelyn, or at least her adorable curly, blond hair. It is so interesting to see these girls that were so young when I married into the family, become these beautiful ladies. Savannah is cute stuff. Happy Birthday!