Leda VanCamp, photoIn their own words

Elizabeth and Tyler VanCamp
Davenport, Iowa

My daughter, Leda, was born a perfectly healthy baby. During the two days after her birth she had a little trouble eating and spit up pretty much anything she ate. However, because she didn’t lose too much weight during those two days, we were sent home with our healthy baby (who just happened to spit up a lot).

We were enjoying the newborn snuggles and the visits from the friends and family until Leda was about a week old. At that time, she developed a very severe diaper rash. We tried every diaper cream under the sun and followed all the advice her pediatrician gave us, but the rash wouldn’t go away. At her 1-week appointment, the doctor came in to talk to us. She told us Leda had lost more weight than usual for a 1-week-old, so we explained that her stools had been really runny and that she was still spitting up a lot after each feeding. The doctor wasn’t sure what was wrong, so we scheduled a weight check for a couple days later and went home with the goal of getting her to eat more and spit up less (if possible).

Just a few days later, Leda was refusing to eat, lethargic, and rapidly losing weight. After being hospitalized at our local hospital, we were transferred to University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. During that stay, it was determined that she might have allergic colitis with dairy, and we were sent home with a formula that should have helped. She improved slightly, but two weeks later—after another hospitalization at our local hospital—we were back. This time, it was discovered that her allergy was very severe and she couldn’t be exposed to even trace amounts of dairy. 

Although an allergy seems like a small thing, had the severity of it gone undiscovered for much longer, my daughter may not have survived. She was tiny—borderline “failure to thrive”—and finally, after our second stay at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, she began gaining weight and has been thriving ever since, thanks to the continued support and guidance from the pediatric gastroenterologists there.

I remember how stressed and anxious I felt during the first few months after Leda’s last hospitalization, always waiting for the other shoe to drop and for her to become sick again. But one thing that made me feel better was our appointments with Catherine DeGeeter, MD. She was so kind, compassionate, and understanding, even when we asked her a million questions. Living in the Quad Cities, driving to Iowa City for Leda’s monthly appointments could have been an additional stressor, but thankfully, Dr. DeGeeter saw us at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital’s Quad Cities location. It was so convenient and helpful to have access to the best pediatric care possible. 

Leda no longer sees Dr. DeGeeter. We all teared up at her last appointment because she had become a part of our support system and the village that was raising Leda to be a healthy and happy child. We’re thankful for UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, the care they provide, and the constant improvements to how and where they provide care to the people of Iowa. Although I never pictured needing the specialists there, it gives me peace of mind knowing that children like Leda are in the very best hands when they are sick or injured. 

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