Yes I’m one of THOSE mums. The ones who have no choice but to be fiercely protective of their wee ones. The ones who don’t want to have to ask for special treatment and inconvenience others. The ones whose hearts ache at the thought of her baby coming into contact with something very dangerous through that same child’s natural curiosity and learning. The ones who cannot relax in a social setting as they need to be on high alert to notice which crumbs have been dropped on the ground, and what those crumbs may contain, or which other baby is playing with yours and whether they have leftover food on their face, clothes, hands that may compromise your child’s health.
If this all sounds over the top, then you likely don’t have an allergy baby. This isn’t written in accusation or judgement, but just to offer the perspective of someone who needs to be hyper vigilant of social situations on behalf of her babe. It’s easy enough at home, where everything is relatively controlled, but outside the home I’m pretty anxious.
My Floppy Baby
I delayed introducing egg to Jessica, as her uncle had anaphylaxis to egg and peanut as a baby. At 8 months, I discussed this with her GP who gave me a gentle nudge to get on with it. This is because the latest research has shown that the introduction of peanut/egg to infants before the age of one year can greatly reduce the risk of developing an allergy. She also said if there was to be a reaction, it wouldn’t happen the first time. So one morning in May, I made her a banana and egg pancake (with just those two ingredients). She picked up a piece but wasn’t keen, but I managed to get her to eat the tiniest bit. A couple of minutes later her thumb and finger where she’d touched the pancake were red and swollen and I noticed a rash running from her mouth, down her chin and neck. The GP had advised that I wasn’t to think a rash was necessarily an allergic reaction, but alarm bells were ringing in my head so I called HEALTHLINE (0800 611 116) who talked me through symptoms. At this point, she was crying but I thought it was just because I was on the phone. Apart from that I noticed no change in her disposition. However, once I got off the phone 10 minutes later and went to dress her for the day, she was floppy and lethargic. This was terrifying to see. As a mum, you just know when something’s not right. So we put her in the car and took her straight to the A&E.
While she was being seen, we noticed hives all over her body. The poor thing was so lethargic but still made a feeble attempt to itch. This was very upsetting. She was finally given some antihistamines and fell asleep on my shoulder. As her breathing was never compromised, the consulting Dr wasn’t overly concerned with how she was presenting. But of course her father and I were beside ourselves. We had never seen our beautiful daughter in such a state. Once we got her home and changed her outfit, I noticed there weren’t hives now, but large patches of red (like sunburn) across different parts of her body. She was feeling better from the antihistamines, but still wasn’t herself. She also had diarrhoea. I couldn’t believe this one tiny bite of something with egg could wreck all this havoc upon her little body.
GP Follow Up
Our new GP said it was a serious reaction and referred us to a Paediatrician through the public health system (I dropped the ball in arranging her health insurance, choosing the wrong option!). He also gave us antihistamines and steroids to keep with us in case of any further reactions. He cautioned further reactions would be worse and to treat any future reaction as an emergency. Shit, so that makes it all a bit more real.
The Paediatrician we saw today deemed Jessica’s reaction as “mild”. This is confusing to me, as the handout she gave us to refer to lists “pale and floppy” (in young children) as a symptom of anaphylaxis.
The Paediatrician was hesitant to order a skin prick test, as she believed we didn’t have a documented serious reaction behind us to warrant it, however after chatting to her consultant, she ordered one but for egg only.
We are to introduce peanut asap, by way of peanut butter, but I’m waiting until after her skin prick test next week – because one thing at a time right?! She currently has a cold, cellulitis on her eye and is still teething 😦
If Jessica’s skin sensitivity test for egg is negative, then we’ve been instructed to start the egg ladder at home.
If it’s positive, I guess we go back for Plan B. I feel hopeful that she will be negative and that we have success gradually introducing egg to her through the egg ladder. But I’m also scared should it come back positive, but if it does, I’ll be proud to be one of THOSE mums xx