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Hailey's Story

Hailey PictureIn 2005, Hailey Jaye Meltz was born into our family a happy, healthy little girl, joining her older sister Faith as the second and final addition to the Meltz crew. For the first several months of Hailey's life, she was what you would consider a "normal", happy, child (besides the occasional fussy moment all baby's display at times). In fact, she was so much calmer and more noticeably content than her sister Faith was as a baby we often found ourselves commenting on how "easy it was having a second child." Little did we know the struggles that would lie ahead.

When Hailey was nine months old, she thinned out dramitically in a short period of time and her weight dropped off of the growth charts. While she had shown some eating issues to that point, we weren't too concerned passing it off to the "normal" pickiness and fussiness you find in some babies and something she would "grow out of" as kids often do. We also theorized with her Pediatrition that she was growing taller (so her weight had not caught up yet) and she was at the age where kids get very active and often times disinterested in sitting and eating as much as they should. We took a watch and see approach. By the time she was twelve months old, she was consistently coughing while drinking bottles and began throwing up on occassion and the low weight continued. Her Pediatrician, Dr. Edwards, referred us to speech therapy and a video swallow study was done. We discovered that she was aspirating thin liquids (basically breathing liquids into her lungs every time she drank). We thought we had uncovered her issue. It seemed the aspiration was driving a behavioral aversion to food and bottles. Shortly after, Hailey began vomiting on an almost daily basis as well. We began doing regular exercises with Hailey to improve her oral coordination and resolve the aspiration (and hopefully therefore the eating issues) faster.

In January of 2007, when Hailey was fifteen months old, she had not made any improvements in weight and was still vomitting regularly, despite eating fairly well and improvement of the aspiration issue. This time Dr. Edwards referred us to Children's Hospital in Milwaukee to a gastroenterologist. He was quite concerned with her weight and frequent vomiting and had her admitted the entire following week for tests and a feeding tube placement to try to put immediate weight on her. The battery of tests run on Hailey came back normal, but during that stay we did learn she had very large adenoids blocking a significant portion of her airway. Once again, we thought that her issue had been discovered and hoped that removal of the adenoids would bring immediate or at least eventual improvement on a variety of fronts. For two months prior to her adenoidectomy she had a feeding tube and was able to gain 1.5 pounds bringing her to a whopping 20.5 pounds total. It was improvement, but still not on the growth charts for weight.

Hailey's feeding tube was taken out just before her surgery. After her adenoids were removed, she continued to vomit regularly and was not gaining weight with normal eating. We began working with an interdisciplinary feeding team at Children's Hospital and speech and occupational therapy through the Birth to Three program in an effort to pinpoint the cause of her issues once and for all. Over the next few months Hailey was tested, analyzed, poked, and prodded on a regular basis in an attempt to determine what was really going on with her and how to fix it. She ended up having two more procedures done to dialate her pyloris (the opening from the stomach to the intestines) to assist with emptying her stomach hoping that would relieve her issues with vomitting, the picky eating, and lack of weight gain. The first one resulted in mild success, but after three weeks or so, the vomiting resumed. Our gastroenterolgist recommended repeating the procedure and obtaining an MRI of her brain to rule out the possibility of a tumor...a possibility none of us, including her doctors, thought was very likely. After her 2nd pyloris dilitation we saw significant improvement in the vomitting. We scheduled the MRI anyway thinking nothing would come of it, but just to check it off the list and do as our Doctor had recommened. At this point, with the vomitting apparently under control, we were feeling like we were finally in position to make some improvement in her weight

On Wednesday, June 6, 2007, Hailey had the MRI done at Appleton Medical Center. To our absolute horror and disbelief, they found a sizable tumor in her brain. The struggles we had endured the last 10+ months had been explained in an instant with one simple and devastating sentence..."Our daughter has a brain tumor." Needless to say, that day has changed our lives forever...

Feel free to pick up the rest of our story by reading our
journal entries, starting from the first entry on June 7, 2007.