The first time Pierce projectile vomited he was 3 weeks old. I was walking down the steps with him, having just fed him, and he made this weird choking sound just prior to a Mach 5 spew of vomit exploding from his mouth. I stopped in my tracks, shocked, as curdled milk dripped down my shirt, my pants, and pooled on my baby. Having spent my high school years babysitting, I knew that babies spit up, but nothing like this.
For several days he continued to vomit like this, and I wondered if he had the stomach flu. I called the doctor. They had me put him on pedialyte to try to settle his belly. A few days later his vomiting reacher a lower level of projectile, although he was still spitting up immense amounts. We were assured that this was normal.
Pierce spit up so much that we had clean dish rags on every arm of the couches, on every counter, always something handy to mop up the vomit. If we were going out, we would have multiple changes of clothes, and sometimes I'd put on two or even three bibs, so I could just peel one off after he threw up on the first.
We hoped that starting solids would help. We'd heard that it would.
So come four months, we started adding rice cereal to expressed breast milk.
Pierce liked it, but he continued to throw up.
We discovered that orange foods like carrots set him off, so we stayed away from those. When Pierce got 'set off', he'd vomit violently over and over again. Like stomach flu vomiting. Only he didn't have the stomach flu.
We tried all the usual. Elevating his mattress. Feeding him sitting up. Gripe water, colic tablets, gas drops. None of it made any difference, and we were continually reassured that things would let up once he was sitting up, crawling, walking.
Every single doctor checkup I mentioned the vomiting. But because Pierce was what they called a 'happy spitter' who didn't cry from the reflux, they weren't inclined to treat it. That is, until his weight completely fell off the charts (and he was small to begin with, born at 5 lbs. 11 ounces). That day, his 9 month checkup, I'd gone in resolved to demand something for him. We had tried Zantac, but it didn't help, and I hated forcing my screaming baby to swallow the medicine that smelled like hard liquor. I knew that there was more to the situation than our pediatrician had realized. During the checkup, Pierce cooperated by projectile vomiting SEVEN times during the 30 minute appointment, as I continually mopped up the mess with my arsenal of dish rags and Wet Ones. The pediatrician, alarmed, said, "He does throw up a lot!" In retrospect, I should have pushed harder for Pierce earlier on. Sometimes moms have to be a strong advocate. I didn't know, and I felt like a failure.
We left that day with a referral to a gastroenterologist, and a prescription for Prevacid.
I held my undersized, sour-smelling 9 month old close, hoping and praying that he was going to be alright.
To be continued...