Hunter had his first doctor’s visit in Singapore this week. We picked The Olive Tree Clinic because it came highly recommended by many, and because it’s really convenient (right in the middle of the city!). I like how it’s in a baby-oriented shopping mall, so there’s lots to see and do before/after ;)
The doctor was a lovely lady that was gentle and professional, and very knowledgeable. She gave me a great sense of security when she asked all the ‘right’ questions and really seemed to thoroughly know the ins and outs of baby development at various ages.
Hunter had his 6 month vaccination and got the all-clear for his development. The GOOD news? He is “off the charts” for Height now! Actually, he is in the 95th percentile according to USA baby charts (which we’d been using in China).. but turns out Singapore uses a different charts for their babies and according to their charts, Hunter’s off the scale for height. Of course, this doesn’t immediately translate into him being the tallest human in Singapore when he grows up ;) But what it does mean is that he is very likely to be above-average in height as an adult – which is WONDERFUL news for me, because I’m always attracted to tall guys specifically because I want to have tall children, teehee! Mission accomplished. He’s in the 95th percentile for Weight which is okay- still within normal range, whew. The doc was surprised at how easily he could hold his weight, but my gut feel is that he will be a “late walker” due to his heftiness.
The BAD news? It’s actually pretty bad: he was diagnosed with Tongue-tie. You can do an online search for it if you really want to know.. but it happens from time to time in infants. I was completely floored when she checked and announced “Oh, he has tongue-tie”.
I’D SUSPECTED IT SINCE HE WAS 2 WEEKS OLD.
Remember when I had a HORRIFIC time breastfeeding the whole first 2 months? I knew something was wrong because the pain I had was above-and-beyond normal for sure (and I know I’m no chicken, since I could handle labour/pushing and surgery recovery drug-free). In fact, I spent days and hours obsessively surfing the net in those 2 months, desperately trying to find a reason or explanation as to why I was going through hell. And I DID narrow it down to Tongue-tie and I ASKED THE DOCTOR ABOUT IT when we were in China! I specifically asked him to check, and his reply was “It’s too early to tell, but you can check again when he’s a few years old.” There is limited (English-speaking) quality health care in China and even less so of specialists, so I had no one else to turn to and just suffered my way through…
On top of that I was thinking his speech was a little ‘off’ because whilst he can be quite vocal, he just makes a few noises and never babbled vowels, as babies his age should be doing by now. And the reason is his Tongue-tie, which prevents him from doing so, the poor chickie :(
Oh how I regret not INSISTING! At that time, I was a new Mum, afraid and just feeling quite lost with all the pain.. so I just sucked it up and plodded on with breastfeeding. The doctor here was quite shocked I stuck with it.. as most women just give up due to the pain of a baby with Tongue-tie. But back then, it wasn’t an option for me to just ‘quit’ breastfeeding, as it was the ONLY option for me as I refused anything else.. so I guess when it comes down to it, you just do what you gotta do.
Now I realise that it’s true when a parent knows their child the best.
And I also realise the sacrifices a mother can and is willing to make for her child….
At Olive Tree clinic
2 days later, we went to a specialist doctor at Gleneagles Hospital for the proper assessment and day surgery. Hunter had “moderate tongue-tie” and the doc said that it actually can be diagnosed at 1 week of age. I am so angry Hunter never was, despite me SPECIFICALLY calling it out :( The problem with leaving it til so late (ie. now when he’s 5 months old) is that the older and stronger they get, the harder it is to hold them down for the procedure. So he was on the border-line case where if we had left it for another month, the doc would’ve needed him under General Aesthetic, which isn’t great.
The procedure is simple, but horrific for us (as family) to watch. The nurse holds him down in a vice-grip, which of course he didn’t like so he started crying :( Then the doc holds his mouth open and puts in a sort of pincers – to pinch the frenulum for 10 seconds.
10. longest. seconds. of. my. life.
I was told to “Look into his eyes” the whole time, so he had some comfort.. but after about 2 seconds I couldn’t handle it and hid behind Chris, propping myself up on him and trying not to have a nervous break down. When I peeked around, I could see Hunter locking eyes with Chris, all frightened and crying, with all this stuff stuck into his mouth :( Really awful.
After 10 seconds, the doc reached in with medical scissors and snipped it. THAT part I didn’t watch, or would’ve puked for sure. Even Chris said he was close to it :( And then a bit of gauze was quickly stuffed into Hunter’s mouth and Chris held it there for a few mins until the blood stopped.
My heart was… dunno how to describe it. All lurching and squeezed and weird. I think it broke into a million pieces, seeing those tears and hearing those pathetic lil wails. And I had to breastfeed him immediately afterwards, as breastmilk helps soothe. It was one of the most stressful breastfeeding episodes ever.
Stemming the cut to stop the bloodflow
After that, it was back home. By then, he was actually over it and happy and fine. I think I had a much more difficult time than he did ;) He was a little glum and had a lot of trouble falling asleep that night (1.5 hours of inconsolable and frantic crying) though. Now he’s OK and eagerly practicising movements and noises with his “new” tongue. I pray that his speech development has not been affected and pray that all will be fine now with no infection/complications.
Sigh. My heart still feels all weird when I think about this. And I feel so guilty we didn’t get it diagnosed and fixed much earlier. But I am so grateful he seems to be OK now.
Cuddles to sleep at home