One upon a time in a land far, far away (known as Virginia) a young girl made a solemn vow that she would never ever have babies, because babies throw up. And throw up is gross. When the girl grew up she realized babies didn’t really throw up all that often. They just spit up a bit. Some didn’t even spit up at all. “Perhaps I’ll have one of those none spitty babies” she thought to herself as she made the giant leap into parenthood. And then God laughed at her.
The first time Violet vomited she was a pretty young. I can’t remember how young, but there was a piece of afterbirth in it, so you know, pretty young. You’re welcome for that visual. At the time I was a little worried at the sheer amount of liquid that she was able to spew fourth from her body, but friends assured me that this was par for the course of having a newborn (I had never had a newborn as James and Mariyah were older when we adopted them).
This vomiting stuff happened frequently over the next few days and weeks. I don’t remember how frequently because everyone kept telling me it was normal. I did bring to up with her pediatrician at one point who told me I obviously wasn’t burping her enough. I believe I was even given a condescending demo on how to properly burp an infant (In case you’re wondering, you rest the baby’s chin over your shoulder and pat its back). If you want to shut a conversation down, there is no quicker way then blaming a child’s ailments on something their mother is doing wrong.
Violet was around 6 weeks old the first time I became really worried about her. She vomited around 10 times a day for several days straight. The on call Dr said to bring her to the ER to check for pyloric stenosis. Just as I was about to bring her, she suddenly started acting like nothing was wrong. It was literally like she just snapped out of it. Imagine a 12 year old faking a stomach ache and then realizing it’s Saturday.
Over the next year these episodes continued. It was worrisome to my husband and I every time. Friends would commiserate that their child had also vomited often as a baby. People would comment that there was a stomach bug going around (even though no other child at day care or anyone in our family was sick). People said it was reflux and Violet would outgrow it (we tried reflux medication). I got the general feeling that most people thought I was overreacting. I decided to stop mentioning it and wait for the phase to pass as so many others told me it eventually would.
Violet is now almost 17 months. Last night I went through my phone and wrote down all the times she’s been “sick”. In just the last 6 months alone she has had 13 vomiting episodes. These episodes last around 4 days with two days being heavy vomiting (as many as 10 times) and two being just a few times (1-3). She refuses to eat for the entire duration and does nothing but sleep, cry, and request her “bankie” which is usually in the wash from being puked on. If that paragraph had too many numbers for you, here’s the result of a little light math: Violet has spent almost 30% of the last 6 months “sick.” And she was sick just as often before that, I just didn’t keep a record of it.
Last night my older two children confessed tearfully that they are afraid Violet is going to die. I’ve made it a big point to be very upbeat every time she’s unwell in an attempt not to worry them. I always remind them that in a few days this will pass. But honestly she looks so weak and lethargic I can’t blame them for being scared.
We have no idea what the problem is. Blood tests, ultrasounds, and GI series have all come back normal. The Dr doesn’t think it’s food related, as the symptoms are different than what people with food allergies usually experience, plus it started long before she was eating food. We did try some elimination diets long ago but that didn’t seem to make a difference. We have a referral for allergy testing just to be sure.
Has anyone ever experienced anything like this with their child? Or heard of anything like this? Someone anonymously suggest Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome the other day. If that reader is still hanging around I would love to chat more with you! I’m so tired of people telling me she just has a sensitive stomach. I’m starting to feel really desperate for answers.