Stories of life in the suburbs with Husband and our daughter Squishy and son Button!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Finally, Some Answers

After the skin-tastrophe, Squishy's skin was under control. I mean to say it was managable, but not normal by any means. She had moderate to severe eczema on 80% of her body. Her back, face, and knees were the worst places. The only skin that wasn't overrun by red spots and bumps was her baby butt. This was because urine contains a property that kills the bacteria that causes eczema.

Sometimes I was so desparete for her relief that I wrapped a wet diaper around her knees for 20 minutes. And that is what I call "under control".

During this time, Squishy's diet was frozen breast milk. She refused nursing and because of my losing battle with mastitis, we were running low. I had to start weaning her over to formula. I mixed a few ounces here and there into a bottle to get her used to the taste. She didn't like it. She usually got really bad colic after one of the mixed bottles. It wasn't until the third try that something else happened.

Squishy projectile vomited across the couch. All over her, all over me. She started screaming and her body was covered in red hives. I made sure she wasn't struggling to breathe (otherwise I would have called 911), and called Husband at work. My dad came over and I called my mom. Squishy was starting to calm down, I soaked with her in the tub for a little while and changed her clothes. It was obviously an allergic reaction.

After more research, it could have been anything from a protein sensitivity to a full blown allergy to milk. I called the nurse line at the hospital. Their advice was to bring her to the ER in the middle of the night. I didn't want to do that. I knew she was okay, having puked it all out of her system. I stayed up most of the night watching her breathe, though.

The next day, we were back at the doctor's office. Squishy's skin had blown so far out of control I was doing wet/dry wraps again. Our pediatrician decided that it was time to test Squishy for food allergies. Dr. Baby also said we should try a soy formula and see if she reacted to that. It sucks that finding a formula is a trial and error process until we found something that worked.

We went right to the lab down the hall where I had to pin my baby to the exam table so the technician could draw her blood. Squishy had the very best lab technician in the world. Squishy's inner arm was about an inch wide. This woman found a vein and stuck it on the first try. She got the blood draw done in less than one minute. I applaud her and tell all my expert mommy friends about her. She truly found her calling.

I've heard stories of doctors dragging their feet on testing babies as young as Squishy for allergies but I absolutely don't think that happened with us. Although you may be thinking "Why couldn't you see it before?!?!?!" you have to understand that it could all be explained in simpler terms. Colic is in the family, so it we thought it was just colic at night. Squishy also had very sensitive skin. Husband has environmental allergies and asthma, so she was very likely to develop eczema. She had amazing success with the wet/dry wraps. As I said in that post, if they hadn't have worked, Dr. Baby was ready to do an allergy test. It was only three weeks between the baby mummy and the allergy test.

A few days later, we called Dr. Baby again because Squishy was really constipated on the soy formula. We needed laxative advice. Dr. Baby had our answers...

Me: "Squishy hasn't pooped in four days. I'm sure it's because of the formula, what can we give her?"
Dr. Baby: "I was just going to call you. I got Squishy's allergy test back and she's an allergic girl! She's a level 5 (on a 0-5 scale) on egg whites and yolks, a 4.8 on milk, a 5 on peanuts, and an equivocal on soy and wheat meaning she may develop the allergy...."

I was devastated. My sister has a full blown milk allergy that started when she was in her 20s, and described it as the worst pain on earth. Squishy was given heavy doses of milk and eggs every day from breast milk. This was causing all her skin problems. I ate scrambled eggs almost every day, and would keep Squishy in just a diaper in the morning to air out her skin and lotion her. I would rub lotion all over her with my hands that had just prepared and eaten eggs, causing her skin to erupt constantly. I felt horrible knowing that she had gone through all that pain and discomfort, but we finally had our answers. Squishy would not have to suffer much longer.

She was prescribed an EpiPen Jr. and we got a powder laxative (Miralax) to keep her regular. We also got referred to a very good pediatric allergist.

Husband and I changed our routine. We took turns eating to avoid cross-contamination, washed our hands constantly, did a deep clean of our eating area, the kitchen, and Squishy's toys. Within 2 weeks, Squishy was like a different baby. She rarely cried after bottles (which was a change from red-faced hysterical colic for hours), and her skin cleared up immensely.

This is before her allergy diagnosis:

You can see her face, hands, and legs are covered
in red, dry bumps. 
This is after her allergy diagnosis:
Her skin is bright and clear.
Her cheeks, arms, legs, back, and hands are smooth. 
 Now we manage her skin with frequent baths with long soak times in clean water. We use only Aveeno baby products for bath and body, specifically Eczema Therapy lotion. To help her cradle cap (which causes a lot of itching and scratching), I start each bath with an olive oil head massage to loosen the scabs. After the bath she gets a full body lotion massage, anti-itch medication, and time to air out on a clean, dry towel.  

4 comments:

  1. Poor thing. Poor you guys. That's a lot to be allergic to. Will she grow out of it do you think?

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  2. Yay! I bet she feels so much better! It had to have been BEYOND stress to wrap, unwrap, moisturize and medicate and still have such a sicky baby! Must be a great relief to know it's all figured out now :)

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  3. @stephka According to our pediatric allergist, there isn't any way to test if she'll grow out of food allergies until she's at least one or two years old. It's up to us when to get her allergy levels retested, then those numbers have to be less than what they are now to determine if the specific allergy is going away or getting stronger. With his experience, he told us 75-95% chance that she'll grow out of milk and eggs, but we can't be sure until that second test. She'll most likely never grow out of peanuts.

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  4. @Katie Gillen Squishy was such a trooper with the wraps and lotions. She fell asleep after each "mummification" session and we just cuddled her. I think the wraps really made her feel better, and they sure worked like a charm.

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