I’m not sure that I’ve officially launched the news here on the ‘ol blog, but I am now serving as the Lead Blogger over at Hand to Hold’s parent blog, PreemieBabies101.  What an honor!  We talk about all things related to prematurity, child loss and children with special needs.  I have already met some crazy awesome women through that outlet and it makes the isolation of wondering how our kids are going to make it in this big, bad world a little easier.  If you know a mom who’s experienced any of those, please send her our way.  We can help.  I’ll share more in May when the blog really gets rolling.

My experience with PreemieBabies 101 has changed my heart.  That’s why, when I heard about this new “fad diet” the “Today” show aired on Monday, my heart sank.  Then, I watched the coverage and I quite nearly threw a chair through the window.  It seems as if brides-to-be pay $1,500 bucks to have a “doctor” (and, yes I use that term liberally) insert an NG tube (nasogastric) tube up their nose and down into their stomach so they can consume their 800 calories a day via a liquid form.  It’s said to have weight loss results of up to 20 pounds in 10 days.

That is all kinds of wrong and here’s ten reasons why.

1.  I’m not faulting the Today show for covering the story.  In fact, their initial coverage showed two doctors discounting the diet and calling it “dangerous.”  I’m more appalled by how the hosts joked and cringed at the thought of feeding tubes later in the segment.  Perhaps the outcry on their Facebook page will encourage Hoda and Kathie Lee to not only issue an apology to all “tubies” out there, but maybe it will soften their heart and give them a new perspective on the struggles many people face.

2. THIS is what a feeding tube looks like Today show, brides, doctors, Hoda and Kathie Lee.  This is my 8-day-old preemie son, Luke.  That NG tube is reducing gas in his belly so he doesn’t get a dangerous, no good thing called NEC.

3.  Oh wait, Luke DID get NEC – three times.  So after surviving on TPN for nearly a month after his emergency surgery, his feeding tubes then provided much needed, life-giving nutrition.

4.  He’s flirted with low weight gain all of his 2 years and 7 months of life.  We’ve paid thousands of dollars ourselves – on therapy – just to get him to put a cracker in his mouth.  To think brides are doing that so they can be “pretty” on their wedding day makes me sick.

5.  Hoda and Kathie Lee mock the bag these brides carry around, saying “…what if it gets spilled?” while forgetting that there are some children who live like that everyday.  For some, it’s so severe they require a more permanent intervention called a g-tube (one that’s inserted directly into his belly).   It’s something we seriously considered for Luke for many, many months.

6.  I have to wonder what kind of woman would try this diet – there has to be an underlying issue.  Is it an eating disorder?  Body image issues?  It’s not sustainable and it’s certainly not a lifestyle one can live on at 800 calories a day.

7.  And, what kind of man are they marrying if they feel the need to go to this extreme?

8.  Often times I think folks believe only the very ill, or elderly, are on feeding tubes.  We forget there are children who live full, happy lives with those tubes.  It’s not a weight loss gimmick, it’s their life.

9.  No one can really prepare a parent for life with a child on a feeding tube.  To think that these women use it so superfluously and that a doctor is prescribing it says that our society much to learn about beauty.

10.  Perhaps the biggest takeaway from all this nonsense is the teachable moment.  We often hear, try or see things that are new to us and form an opinion without first having lived through it.  I’ve seen the courage of a mom who puts an NG tube in her child’s nose day in and day out.  I’ve seen life sustained in a grandparent who relies on that feeding tube for life.  I’ve witnessed a child thriving and growing due to a feeding tube where otherwise they would’ve died.

What does beauty look like to you?  That’s easy for me, I see it everyday…

3 Comments

  1. Ali Workentin on April 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Great post Kathryn. I so agree having had a preemie of my own and then his daughter a 4 mo preemie who was on a ng tube to keep her alive. I would encourage you to write to the Today show and send them your blog for a follow up story on the real need/use of an ng tube. God Bless You!! and your family.

  2. Devan P. on April 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    i don’t ever get to watch tv, so i depend on your blogs and facebook for social media updates. WOW did i just get hot!! all i can say is “amen” to everything you said.

  3. Ali on April 25, 2012 at 8:42 am

    PERFECTLY said.

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