Sunday, October 27, 2013

An Unexpected Diagnosis- Food Allergic

We started E on solid foods when he was 6 months old and followed the same routine we did with M- skipping cereal and making our own baby food. E really enjoyed his meals so we began adding in new foods fairly quickly and being our second child, we weren't as careful at doing the whole "give one food and wait a few days for any potential reaction" routine. It would come back to bite us in the end. 

I started him on yogurt at 8 months and noticed he started to get red around his mouth right away. I assumed it was just a contact rash as E has had sensitive skin and eczema since he was around 3 months old.  A few days later we had pancakes for breakfast and gave E some. He loved them!  Within five minutes, though, he got red around his mouth and hives popped up on his cheeks and he started rubbing his eye.  I immediately thought he might be allergic to eggs not thinking that there was milk in the batter, too. The next day we tried yogurt again because 1) we're dumb and didn't really think one of our kids would have a food allergy and 2) he was our second and we were kind of lax about the whole new food thing and wanted to know if it was milk or egg that bothered him. Poor E flared up within ten minutes getting hives around his mouth and up to his eye and his entire eye got red and watery and itchy. We decided then to halt all new foods and wait to speak with his pediatrician at his 9 month appointment. I took a picture of his reaction just before he started screaming and pulling at his mouth and we watched him like a hawk. 

At his 9 month appointment, his pediatrician took one look at the picture I took and said, "oh no" and referred us to an allergist immediately.  He got an appointment within a couple weeks due to a cancellation and I explained everything to his allergist. She had a skin test done for milk and he failed it quite obviously. At this point we didn't test for anything else, but after a failed attempt at trying soy formula (E's slow weight gain and my milk supply being newly pregnant were concerning both my pedi and myself) I ended up taking him back in and Dr. H tested him for egg (due to the pancake) and soy. He failed both as shown in photo below- egg is bottom right reaction, soy is on the left, and controls are on the top. 
Our son was diagnosed with severe food allergies and is considered anaphylactic to dairy and egg. Dr. H gave us a ton of paperwork to read and several good websites to use as resources including where there are forums that you can chat and ask questions of other moms and allergy specialists.  It has become a life saver for me even if I still have days where I don't feel like I truly belong. My child can't possibly be THAT allergic, right?!  She also had the nurse come in and demo two different epi pens and had me chose one on the spot. That's when it really hit me that this was no joke. I chose the Auvi-Q talking epi pen and left the office overwhelmed and with Dr. H's number in case I had more questions (I did, of course, and phoned her several times).

E has since passed a skin test for soy, but his food allergies are still no joke. He had to be enrolled in daycare for several months when my mother-in-law underwent chemo treatments and while there we had an unfortunate reminder of the reality of an anaphylactic food allergic child. He had a substitute teacher in his class one day and despite all of their precautions and rules in place for the safety of kids that have food allergies, E was fed yogurt by the sub. The school called me immediately and I gave the okay to administer Benadryl. By the time they gave it, he had gotten hives and was starting to wheeze. He also had a cold, so the director hesitated to administer the epi pen as did I.  I flew to the school to pick him up and monitor him myself. I was so scared for him and incredibly disappointed that he had another reaction that I didn't say much to his teachers or the staff until the next day. In hindsight, he should've been administered the epi pen that day and I won't make that mistake again. Thank God E is alright. 

I had hoped that he wouldn't have a reaction that day and that maybe this whole food allergy diagnosis was a fluke. Seeing the hives and hearing him wheeze was heartbreaking. He was itchy and suffering and this WAS still the real deal. It's also hard when you feel half of your family just thinks you're a neurotic over protective parent. Those that have seen him react take us seriously (my mother-in-law has us check ingredients for her all the time) and panic along with us when he gets too close to something off limits (i.e. when his cousins walk around with bread and butter, chocolate, yogurt, etc). It's gotten better in that we asked my brothers and sisters-in-law to have their kids sit at the table to eat now. They've all also told their little ones that Evan can't have certain foods because it could make him sick. Its a start, but now E climbs on chairs (and tables) so we have to be even more diligent. 

Birthday parties and family gatherings with those that aren't aware are anxiety inducing for me at times. Some days I wish I could put E in a bubble to protect him. I really hope he outgrows these allergies by the time he's in preschool. Most, but not all, kids outgrow them around age 3. We carry his epi pens and Benadryl with him at all times and have extras for his daycare providers. We got two books about his allergies for him and M to learn and I have an Allermate alert bracelet for him as well. This is our favorite book so far, but it only covers his dairy allergy. 

E's next allergy test is on my birthday in March and I'm hoping and praying he passes at least one of the two remaining allergy tests. If he does, we'll do a food challenge in the doctor's office to see how he handles the food. It's a 5 hour process if all goes well. Gulp!  Until then we continue to read food labels on everything and protect him the best we can. 

More to come: Egg Allergy and the flu shot. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

10 Things I Won't Miss About Being Pregnant

I'm currently 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant and completely D.O.N.E. with it despite this being my final pregnancy.  I know I will miss being pregnant- the inside baby kicks, the belly bump arm rest, the ability to snack a bit more guilt free, and watching my current Littles kiss my growing bump and try to find my stretched out belly button.  As much as I have enjoyed, feared, questioned this pregnancy (that I wasn't quite ready for mentally) I am so ready to meet this little guy and welcome him into our family. I never thought I'd make it past 40 weeks with a 4th baby and while I should be relishing in these last few days of pregnancy, I'm quite the crabby pregnant lady and I'm ready to hold him and kiss him and hug him.  I crave butterfly kisses and newborn baby smell.

With these thoughts I bring you the top 10 things I won't miss about being pregnant whether it's the first pregnancy or fourth!

10. Waking up with numb arms from shoulder to finger tip.  It is the worst feeling to have a limp arm and it's usually the arm that's on top and not the one I'm laying on!!

9. Middle of the night calve Charlie Horses.  I know these happen to some women when they aren't pregnant, but not this girl.  God Bless you if you deal with them regularly.  I limp for a couple of days when I get them.

8. "Snissing".  If you don't know what this is- Google it.  It's a gross, but common pregnant woman occurrence.

7. Being hot all the time.  I'm still wearing flip flops and capris and it's only 55 out today and the leaves are falling off the trees.  I sleep with the A/C on, our ceiling fan, AND no covers while A.R. shivers next to me.  I think he  actually misses me putting my cold feet on him to warm myself up.  I'm so hot, my body heat makes him sweat at night.

6. Cankles. Swollen calves. Swollen fingers.  Swelling in general.

5. Lightening crotch...for those that are blissfully unaware of this sensation:  think of it like someone stabbing you or almost an electrical shock from the inside.  It's really the baby hitting/kicking/poking your cervix.  It can take your breathe away and stop a woman dead in her tracks from walking.

4.  Having to get up to pee 4 times a night at least in the last few weeks.  Once a night wasn't bad, but 4 is awful- it's basically every 2 hours of "OMGifIdon'tgetupnowI'llpeemyself" urges.  I'd much rather be up 4 nights snuggling a newborn!

3. Peeing in a cup.  Enough said.

2.  The immense pubic pain every time I get up from sitting or lying down for any period of time.  Or if I try to lift my leg to get in the car or climb stairs or roll over in bed.  It makes me gasp every single time and my chiropractor hasn't been able to help.  My best explanation is that it feels like someone is taking a hand saw to my pubic bone.

1.  The following comments:  "You're STILL pregnant?!", "OMG, you will never make it to your due date!" (guess what?!  I not only made it to my due date, I passed it.  Where's my trophy?!), "Are you SURE it isn't twins?!", "How far along are you" (This is when I admit the actual date and get a blank stare or gasp and comment #2 above.), "When is the baby coming?" (If I knew, I would have had him evicted 3 days ago!).  "Is this your first?" to which I reply no, my third and I either get a dumb stare or an "OH my, you have your hands full!"

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Absentee Blogger

Eek! Six months has passed with not a single post.  That six months has both flown and dragged by and I wanted to post many times, but just never got fingers to keyboard.  I think now that I'm on maternity leave I'll have a few chances to try to catch up or at least try to before another hiatus when baby 3.0 arrives (any day now- I'm due Oct 22 just 3 days from now) and the sleep deprivation and adjustment from 2 to 3 kids becomes a reality.  I'm terrified of that adjustment and what it will entail just to put it out there...E is still so young and the closer age gap between him and 3.0 has my anxiety high. Hopefully, my fears are unfounded since the adjustment from 2-3 wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated.

A breakdown of the last 6 months:

~ Baby 3.0 is a BOY!
~ E turned one back in June and started walking a month later.
~ We discovered that E has severe food allergies to egg and dairy and we now carry epi pens with us everywhere.  It's been quite the eye opening parenting experience for us.
~ I passed my gestational diabetes tests this pregnancy with flying colors!
~ My mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer and began chemotherapy after undergoing surgery to remove the tumors.
~ M and E had to start at daycare/preschool with my mother-in-law's diagnosis which was quite a change for them and for her.
~ I got to travel to NYC for a training session for 4 days in September for work.  It was a great break for me from home and an excellent opportunity for my career advancement.
~ We ripped up the carpet in our foyer, living room, and dining room and installed hardwood floors and then got the brilliant idea to put in window and crown molding in the formal living and dining rooms and wainscoting in the dining room.  It's still under construction 6 months later...
~ M got a new big girl princess room complete with crown, headboard canopy, and her favorite Disney princess silhouettes.
~ E also got a new bedroom (so we can recycle the nursery for 3.0) as well

I hope to elaborate on some of the above events in the near future assuming I don't take another unintentional hiatus after writing this post. :)  I make no promises, though!