Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Finally we have answers!

Today was the day we took the babies in to be evaluated for their tongue ties. It has been a long 10 weeks but we finally have answers.

When the babies were a few days old I noticed that they were both tongue tied. This is a common occurrence where the frenulum under the tongue is tightly attached to the tongue and lower jaw making it difficult for the person to extend and move their tongue. There are varying degrees of tongue tie and in the past all babies who were tongue tied had their frenulum clipped immediately after birth. Nowadays they take a "wait and see" approach.

When Joshua was a baby the doctors did not want to correct his tongue tie. Because he was gaining weight adequately they said we should wait. In the end it caused breastfeeding difficulties (although he nursed for more than 2 years) and trouble with both eating and speech. He used to choke on his food at every meal. it was terrible. Joshua had a frenectomy last December but is still in speech therapy today and he's 4.5 years old.

Because of what happened with Joshua I was not inclined to wait and see what would happen to Nathan and Ryan. When they were 5 weeks old they had a frenotomy which is just a simple clipping of the frenulum. There is no pain, little bleeding, and no anesthesia needed. Unfortunately, the frenotomy did not help. Although the babies can now extend their tongues past the gum line they are still having trouble nursing.

This morning we saw a Family Practice doc at the Army hospital. He took one look and wrote us a referral to an ENT. I was relieved that he took my concerns seriously. It was an ENT that preformed Joshua's frenectomy so we are headed in the right direction. The frenectomy is a more invasive procedure and is done under general anesthesia and involves sutures under the tongue. I am not sure if there are any ENTs in our area who will do the surgery on such young babies. If they won't, I'll find someone who will. We shouldn't have to deal with the unnecessary pain that comes from the bad latch and resulting gas in the babies.

After the doctor's appointment we headed downtown and saw a friend of mine who is an IBCLC. She is fabulous! She watched the babies nurse and evaluated their latch and they mechanics of their sucking. She feels that the midline of the tongue is still restricted which is making it impossible for them to get a good latch. This causes the break in suction which causes them to swallow air which causes the gas.

I am NOT crazy! (Well, maybe a little... but I was still right.) I am so glad that we have answers and that my instincts were correct. I'm not used to asking for help- especially with breastfeeding. I usually give the advice, not take it. That's why I started to doubt myself and wonder if the tongue tie was indeed the source of our troubles. Now we know and knowing is half the battle, right? (insert G.I. Joe theme music here)

Our next step is waiting for the referral to be processed so we can schedule a consultation. I'm also consulting a pediatric oral surgeon. I want someone who knows what they're doing! Hopefully we can get the surgery done before Jason leaves.

And because this post was so long and boring I'm going to post some pictures tonight too. Because you can never have too many pictures of these little munchkins!
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