Sabriah’s Story

This story is a member’s personal experience and opinion, and is part of their healing process. Please be aware that some of the stories on Crying Over Spilt Milk are of more severe or complicated cases of Gastric Reflux. Serious or complicated cases of Gastric Reflux are rare. If you think you may be disturbed by some content, please visit this page before deciding to read further: Infant Gastric Reflux Stories

Sabriah was born on the 3 February 2002, one week early and what a beautiful girl she was. She was full term and there were no problems during the pregnancy or birth. I had a very quick, totally natural water birth with Sabriah’s Daddy being there to catch her. I only stayed in hospital for a day, as in less than 42 hours I had eight different nurses telling me eight ways to latch her properly and eight ways to sleep her. By the end of it I decided that my midwife could give me more support than I was ever going to get at the Hospital.

Sabriah always had problems latching and neither my midwife nor I could I figure out why. She would scream, arch her back, and pull off the breast. My midwife was wonderful in trying to figure it all out. We tried gripe water and too many others to remember!!!! My nipples were a mess by now so it was down the road of breast shields, express after each feed (as it was thought to be not enough milk for her) and trying all sorts of things to get her to drink. My midwife was there many times during the day and night, to try and help us deal with what we had been given. She thought Sabriah should be checked for reflux as she had all the signs of it, but being first time parents we were not taken seriously.

We had the plunket nurse over who told me it was wind, that I was not winding her enough and maybe I should top her up with formula. I was shocked by this, as it was my hearts desire to breastfeed till a year. By her six week check she had lost weight again and we were told it was wind. We carried on trying to wind her better and trying to get this screaming baby to eat and sleep. This carried on for two months with even my own GP telling me there was nothing wrong, that my milk was wrong for Sabriah and that I should change her to a bottle. I was getting really desperate now as Sabriah would feed for ten minutes each side, throw up, fall asleep, then wake up a hour later in pain and wanting more food only to fall asleep on the breast. This carried on till Sabriah was about three months. She slept for a maximum of an hour at a time; her dad was wonderful trying to help us both.

I then heard of a doctor though our church that listens to parents so we took Sabriah along with our diary of things that we had tried and all the that had been going on for her. The doctor was wonderful listening to us and looking at her weight and calling a paediatrician right there on the spot to get an urgent appointment as she was that worried about Sabriah and her feeding. Within a week we were seeing the paediatrician and trying to work out what was wrong. The first appointment was a nightmare. We were told there was nothing wrong with her, that my milk was no good and if we wanted to fix the “so called no problem” then change to bottle feeding as this would suit Sabriah better. Being a first time mum who was at her wits end I thought “he’s the doctor, he must know best”, so I stopped feeding her and put her on the bottle. My heart broke over this.

We had one week on full bottle where there was no throwing up but she still arched her back and screamed at every feed. After the blissful week things went back to the way they were with Sabriah throwing up and hitting the wall across the room. I rang the paediatrician to try and get another appointment but he was not forthcoming. So being a desperate mum I went to his office and sat there with enough milk for a day, and I was not moving till he saw us again. One bottle later and a throw up later he saw us. It was time for a pH probe. Thankfully Sabriah was small so could not pull the tubes out. This show high levels of reflux so it was on to trying to find a medication that worked. This was a long process that is still going on. Losec has been the best so far, but has just started to lose it’s effect so we are about to trial cisapride. Sabriah has been throwing up for almost two years now. We had a three week period where they were no throw ups. Sabriah has had that many infections that it’s not funny. We have just found out that she has low iron and now has to go on a supplement. The cisapride trial has just started and we hope that it will work as last time we saw her specialist he was talking surgery as she just keeps on loosing weight.

Sabriah is learning to live with reflux and can now tell me “tummy hurts Mummy” but oh how I wish it would just go away. I do not know how long it will carry on but I am blessed to be given this child to look after, and I thank God for the strength to clean up the many patches on my carpet.

Life with a reflux baby can be hard but so worthwhile. I am just blessed her little brother shows no signs of being a refluxer.

© Dem and Crying Over Spilt Milk Gastric Reflux Support Network New Zealand for Parents of Infants and Children Charitable Trust 22/01/2004.