I was a very young mom. Very young. I knew nothing of food allergies when Maya was born. I knew that people could be allergic to nuts and swell up when they ate one, but that was the entirety of my food allergy knowledge.
Looking back, Maya was the perfect picture of a food allergy child but you know that hind-sight is always 20/20.
Our first clue that something was off started when she was less than a month old.
This tiny, sweet, lovable little one had incredible reflux.
All the time reflux.
No colic, just reflux. She wouldn’t scream or cry much, she just would let loose whatever was in her stomach often without warning. I learned very quickly to travel with multiple outfits for both of us.
I hadn’t spent much time with babies and had no idea that this was not normal. I knew that babies spit up but had nothing to measure against. We tried a couple of different GERD medications with no relief. I held her upright after eating each meal. We elevated her while sleeping to help with the reflux. Nothing helped.
In the midst of the refluxing Maya had tremendously dry skin. Nothing seemed to help sooth her red, itchy broken skin. Behind her knees, in her elbows, her back, her stomach, her legs, it seemed that all of her skin just couldn’t be happy. We tried all sorts of lotions and creams with no luck. After we exhausted all non prescription options Maya got an eczema diagnosis and was put on a prescription steroid cream. This cream was applied so often it actually began to bleach the skin in her elbows and behind her knees. Nothing really helped her. I
I was so naïve I didn’t know that this was very abnormal. I was clueless.
When Maya was six months old we found out we were expecting our second kiddo and I weaned Maya onto forumla. That my friends was a major trial. What is formula made of? That’s right, cows milk. Powdered cows milk. Well, the formula made her refluxing even worse. It was really really really bad. We tried all sorts of different kinds along with all sorts of different medications; nothing helped.
When she began eating solid foods she began to randomly break out in hives. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason, just random head to toe hives. She literally turned into a strawberry a few times a week. Now, we spent lots of time at the pediatricians office and they knew my voice quite well. I spent a lot of time on the phone trying to figure out what to do to help my daughter. I was told that to help the hives, as some children just randomly break out in hives from time to time, I needed to put her in a tepid bath with baby oil in it to soothe her skin and make the hives go away. Oh, and I needed to give her benadryl. Does this not describe an allergic reaction? Friends, I didn’t know. Our pediatrician didn’t tell me. She must not have known either. How scary is that?
Just before her first birthday in November, Maya started having breathing trouble. She got sick twice in the month of October and had to be hospitalized both times. We were sent home the second time with a nebulizer and medication that was to be administered several times a day.
At this point I actually knew that we were dealing with asthma. At least I knew that much. We didn’t get a diagnosis at that time though. It took months to get into a pulmonologist and get the official diagnosis.
At the end of year one we STILL did not have a food allergy diagnosis. Nobody even brought up the possibility of food allergies. Nobody even said the words! It would be months before the pediatrician mentioned the fact that we may be dealing with a food allergy, all the while our sweet daughter suffered and was incredibly uncomfortable.
Want more? Part two is ready.