Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Baby Has an Egg Allergy

Introducing solid foods was one of the milestones I most looked forward to. Brad and I love to try new foods, he loves to cook, I love to eat! I have been very excited to share this experience with Jo as we did our research and tried our best to introduce a wide variety of flavors and most recently textures. She graduated from purees to finger foods between 7-8 months and now all she wants to do is feed herself!

All of that excitement came to a screeching halt around 7 months when we gave Joanna some of our spinach and chicken scrambled egg one morning and shortly after we had to rush her to the urgent care. After breakfast (which she seemed to eat pretty well), she became fussy and started rubbing her face. I thought to myself, those are typical sleepy baby cues - right?! She did nap for about 20 minutes and then woke up crying and fussy again. Second thought, she needs a diaper change! So I laid her on the changing table, unbuttoned her onesie and lifted it up. There is was... redness and raised bumps everywhere. I tried to stay as calm as I could. I picked Jo back up and walked as fast as I could to the backyard where Brad was watering the plants. I opened the door and said in a very loud but calm voice, "Brad, we need to go. I think Jo is having an allergic reaction. We need to go... NOW!".

By this time, her face was red. She was rubbing her face even more and becoming increasingly fussy. We got her diaper bag and rushed out the door. I called ahead and did "online check-in" for the urgent care so we were seen as soon as we walked through the door. I tried so hard not to cry, not to feel like the worst mama in the world because it took me 45 minutes to figure out that my child was having an allergic reaction. Luckily, it was only hives. Luckily, she didn't have any struggled breathing.

The urgent care administered Benadryl rather quickly and made us wait twenty minutes to see if the hives were beginning to clear up. The nurse and doctor continued to check on us and twenty minutes passed and nothing happened. Jo did doze off a bit while I held her trying my best to hold back tears and guilt. The nurse and doctor came back and they informed us they were going to give her a steroid to help the Benadryl. I assume either her reaction was very strong and the Benadryl wasn't enough.... or it was too far along for the Benadryl to do the job on its own. After spending two hours at the urgent care, we finally went home with an extra dose of steroid in the event that the hives didn't completely disappear that evening.

Well, today we received the official news that Joanna has an egg allergy. Of course we already had our suspicions. The nurse called and said that her allergy test results came back and it's "pretty severe" and to avoid all eggs. To avoid egg yolk, egg white and even egg baked into dishes. From the little research I've done, some people with an egg allergy  can tolerate egg cooked into dishes (heated above 350 degrees) and there is a separate test that is done to determine this. We were very happy to learn that the 10-15 other foods in the allergy panel they tested her for all came back negative.

The last several days Jo has been refusing her first bottle at school. She has been less interested in nursing throughout the day on the weekends and more interested in solid foods that she can feed herself. I have been a little stressed as I've been thinking about the different kind of foods we can give her that have no traces of egg, that we can "prep" on the weekends and a variety of them so we make sure we are hitting all of the essential food groups.

It's real folks. You know I am not the chef in our family, I'm not even an amateur cook! But I am the planner. I've been struggling. How are we going to pull this off? We have to start cooking everyday? I know that her primary source of nutrition is milk for the first year, but what do you do when your child becomes less and less interested in it? Brad has come up with a few ideas - little hamburger patties, chicken strips, homemade mac and cheese, waffles, etc. But all I can think about is when the hell are we going to cook these things!

I know. I know. This is just a new phase for us in parenting and we will find our way and figure it out. But add the severe egg allergy to the whole working/pumping/traveling schedule of mine and Brad's overnight hospital schedule + soon-to-be daytime training schedule (on his days off) and I get a little panicked. Oh yeah, he is in the process of transferring from his current hospital which is 25 miles away to a new hospital just 3 miles from our home. This is amazing by the way, less miles on the truck, less time commuting... but the logistics of me traveling and him working more hours while I am gone in order to switch jobs... it's got me bitting my finger nails more than normal.

We can handle this. We just need to find some new go-to recipes, find a way to prep/cook for the week and most of all... we need to communicate when it feels overwhelming. Today, I'm just trying to process it all. Right now, this all feels a little scary.

Mama Stephanie

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