Last Monday we had Em's swallow study. We left the house at 7am to get Jay over to the babysitters. I had anticipated him having a fit when I dropped him off so we got there early and then he just walked right in like he owned the place and headed straight for the toys and I was on my way about thirty seconds later. His anxiety has been diminishing at rapid rates over the last couple weeks which has been amazing to say the least. I've said a lot that I wouldn't be surprised if Jay had a mild form of autism but over the last few weeks he's really been kicking most of those thoughts of mine to the curb. Turns out the doctor who told us, "he should be fine by the time he's five", might have actually known what he was talking about.
Em and I made it to the hospital at 8:45 but then wound up waiting about an hour for her test to actually start since the speech-language pathologist who conducts the test was running late. She finally called us back into a small office where we waited another long 15 minutes for her to get Em's records and things together.
She came into the room, looked at Em and I, and then said, "I'm so sorry I have the wrong chart, I'll be right back." She came back into the room a minute later with the same chart in her hand and then looked at Em again and said, "Can you confirm the patient's name and date of birth please?" I did and then she responded with, "But it says in her chart that she has holoprosencephaly?", and then I spent five minutes explaining the miracle baby story and then when I got done talking she was super choked up and said, "She's just so incredible! You would never know by looking at her that there was anything wrong! I needed that reminder that miracles happen!"
The hospital we go to is mainly a surgical hospital filled with worst-case-scenario children so I guess it's a pretty big rarity for doctors and pathologists to see children with serious conditions like Em, but for them to basically be 100% healthy. I love that Em can be a testimony of Heavenly Father's miracles wherever we go. She not only increases the faith of Derek and I, but of friends, family, and doctors near and far.
Once that conversation was over we finally started the test, and to be honest, it was one of the more disgusting things I've ever witnessed. They needed to see how Em did swallowing a solid, a puree, and a liquid. They had her hooked up to an x-ray machine so that they could see inside her and where everything went. For the solid they literally dipped a graham cracker in barium (non-radioactive contrast agent that helps the doctor and radiologist to better see the outline of your throat and esophagus) and then they had me feed it to her and watch where it went in her throat. Now just picture a moving x-ray of your child chomping and swallowing, and that's the creepy/lovely view we got to see. Next she got to eat a lovely mixture of barium and applesauce. She swallowed, gagged, and then threw up a little bit... because it tasted disgusting I'm sure. And finally, she got to drink a barium and kool-aid mixture that she was also less than thrilled about.
Once all that was over (in a span of less than five minutes), they confirmed that she was 100% not aspirating the entire time and we got the green light to start speech and feeding therapy. They said that her eating capabilities were parallel with her gross motor skills and that as she improves in one area, we should see improvement in another. But as we've learned with physical therapy, improvement and progress are usually really slow, so we just have to be patient. Thank you for all the prayers and good vibes sent our way for this test. I was really nervous and had been dreading getting this done for the last few months because I was sure they were going to tell us she was aspirating but once again, she has defeated another odd against her.