July 8, 2008

Forbidden foods....and perspective.

Okay, so this is so not the fun filled 4th of July post you were thinking just yet...that is in progress and will be posted very soon complete with some awesome photographs from the weekend....but, this...this is scary, but necessary...so brace yourselves and read on.

I know I am not the only mother that has ever had to endure a food allergy or an allergic reaction. I have watched my nephew suffer from food allergies, as well as seasonal ones, including asthma, eczema and breathing treatments galore....and now the poor baby has to get shots, but they keep him from being miserable and that is what is important.

So far, we've been in the clear with only mild dust/pollen allergies (seasonally) and eczema (seasonally, as well). I breastfed for 14 months w/A. Lee and followed all of the food introduction rules, and if I'd been sitting where Scott was, I would have let her munch on the healthy treat, myself.

It was Friday, 4th of July (thankfully, at Pine Mt. Lake, they do the fireworks Saturday evening, so she didn't have to miss the show), and I was either breastfeeding Miss S. or in the shower...kind of a blur...while Scott was feeding A. Lee her dinner of mac-n-cheese. Gamma had bought a bunch of yummy healthy treats for us all at Costco, and offered A. Lee a sample of Mrs. Mays Black Sesame (which she spit out) and Cashew Crunch, and she ate only one square of the cashew crunch. THANK GOD.

She was super fussy, b/c we didn't nap this weekend with vacationing excitement and I took over feeding her outside on the porch. She finished her little bowl of mac-n-cheese with me and then I noticed her lips and all around her mouth beginning to puff up, swell and turn white. I immediately asked what the culprit could have been, and gave her the only antihistamine I had with me, Loratadine, which is Claritin for children and held her until I could get a hold of my sister.

My sister, A.B. works as an E.R./Trauma nurse, and has dealt with H.'s allergies for as long as I could remember. She calmly explained what to do and sort of guided us through what to expect in the next half hour. I sat with my baby in my arms watching her swell, and scream that her tummy needed a band-aid and then she passed out right there in my arms. For those of you who know A. Lee, you know that my child doesn't curl up and go to sleep...that was the scariest part. A.B. said it was her body's way of shutting down and preparing to reject the food. Sure enough, thirty seconds later she violently threw up everything in her little stomach and broke out into hives all over.

We had already sent our friends to the store for benadryl topical when she first started to swell, and had to send them back for children's benadryl per my sister's advice. For future reference, (in case this ever happens to you), you can split an adult's benadryl in half and give to them, b/c the dosage they need is 12.5 mg. Our poor friend, T. was begging the folks at the Groveland Market (Main St. Market) to let us in for the benadryl b/c they were closing up to go home to their families. Thank God T. carries cash...that was the only reason they let him in (well, that and he explained our urgent situation). THANK YOU, T.

Two hours later, we were hive free, curled up on the couch together watching our "Letter Movie" our friend, Charlie loaned us for the trip, and she passed out from exhaustion...breathing fine. This has been the scariest moment, so far, in my parenting life.

I am so thankful for my amazing husband who supports me and doesn't get mad at me for ordering him who to send to the store, and who hoses throw up off of his wife and daughter's clothes, and calms me and reassures me so that I can remain calm for our baby girl, and then holds me while I cry an hour after she's gone to bed safe and sound and the adrenalin is gone from my body.

I am thankful for an incredible support system of family and friends...without you, I couldn't have walked through that so calmly. I am thankful that the product of enduring a difficult situation was perspective. I need to be just a little bit more prepared for situations such as these away from home*. I need to sit and hold my child more (if she won't squirm out). I need to remind myself daily that that small stuff I'm sweating is meaningless, small stuff. I am blessed with this beautiful family, and THIS is what is important.

*always always always have benadryl with me. grandparents, take note.

Also....THIS is a great article in the June 2008 Parents magazine about this very subject.