Monday, July 27, 2009


I may have been on the wrong track when I decided that tomatoes were causing Ethan's diaper symptoms. He did clear up after eliminating tomato products, Sunbutter crunch bars, Rice Krispies, and strawberries but then we had a weekend of his worst diapers EVER. Now I'm not sure if ANY of those things were causing symptoms. I ate asparagus and zucchini before the worst diapers occurred so maybe they were the causes? I've consumed small portions of both of those vegetables before but didn't connect a reaction to them.

We took a break from trying to give Ethan bottles, sippys, rice cereal, etc. I think the break helped. He FINALLY ate some rice cereal and seemed to like it. His worst diapers also started after introducing the rice cereal though. That has me concerned too. I really need something for him to eat while at daycare.

This detective work is wearing on me. It's been very stressful to schedule my work days around going to the daycare to nurse Ethan, running home to pump or pumping in my car, getting all of my home visits completed, keeping up with paperwork, and making sure that I have enough "safe food" to eat. I feel like I've been I've been less patient and more emotional lately.

On top of the latest reaction, we are realizing that Ethan is showing more symptoms of a cat allergy. I know that the skin test and blood test came up positive but we were hoping they were false positives. We took him off of the Hydroxyzine for two days. Giving him the medication is quite challenging. He clenches his mouth closed then starts spitting as soon as anything comes near his mouth. He does this even when we are lifting his chin to wash his neck, attempting to give him rice cereal, his pacifier, attempting to check for more teeth, etc. So, we're not sure how much of the medication he is actually getting each night. After two days of no medication he started itching his eyes again and slept more fitfully. We're cleaning to limit the cat dander as much as possible and limiting the cats' access in our home. I've been searching for tips online on how to decrease/rid your home of cat dander and read a suggestion to put cheesecloth over air vents. I don't know how much cat dander the cheesecloth is going to catch but we're going to give that suggestion a try. We're waiting on a HEPA filter and we're either going to have the carpeting cleaned thoroughly or replaced.

So that is where we are on the allergy front.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Info overload

{I adore this pic of E & his soft Sweet Dreams book. I hope he will be an avid reader.}

I spent much of Ethan's naps yesterday reading the food allergies section in Baby Matters (thanks S-Anon for the suggestion). Today I've been reading even more online. I've been sorting through tons of info. It has been very interesting but too much info for one sitting (probiotics, enzymes, leaky gut, sensitization, ELISA testing, immediate-reaction allergy, delayed-reaction allergy, ETC). I need to bookmark and return when I'm not so overwhelmed.

I knew that Ethan's allergies contributed to his trouble sleeping but found it interesting to read that several wakings can be a 'symptom' of allergies.

Allergies are complex and difficult to determine. A person can be allergic to/intolerant of ANYTHING!

I've been looking back at what I have eaten and the timing of Ethan's symptoms. It could be anything but one common connection MAY be tomatoes.

I'm considering eliminating strawberries, tomatoes, Sunbutter Crunch bars, and possibly beef for a while then add them back in one at a time.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Difficult day

To prevent this post from being a big downer, I've added pics of Ethan :)

I went to bed last night feeling sad and frustrated. I'm worried that Ethan is reacting to something else in my diet but I can't figure out WHAT it is. I guess it's time for some more process of elimination as that is the only way to even try to figure this out. His eczema was almost cleared but his cheeks have been more bumpy and red over the past 2 days, even with the medication. His exposure to the cats hasn't increased at all so this leads me to believe that it's food related. His diapers have also been more green and mucousy. I'm feeling sad that he has these symptoms and frustrated that I haven't figured this out yet.

{He was happy to be 5 months in this pic. His eczema was out of control but still a cute pic}

I've been reading that he could be reacting to beef, legumes, or even the Enjoy Life Foods Sunbutter Crunch bars that I've been eating. Their sunflower seeds are processed on the same machines as soybeans! They are listed as no soy because the product falls under some level to determine them as no soy but I'm not sure that it's worth the risk.

{LOVE that bracelet!}

I feeling overwhelmed at the thought that Ethan could have an intolerance to even more foods. This makes me VERY apprehensive about starting solid foods.

{Love those chunky legs too}

Speaking of solid foods...
We have been trying to introduce rice cereal with no success. Ethan spits it out every time and sometimes won't even open his mouth for it. We're taking a break for a couple of days before trying again. I would like to delay solid foods even longer, due to his allergies. If he's not ready then we won't push it but it was a suggested alternative since he isn't taking a bottle at daycare. He continues to refuse bottles. He turns his head away and becomes angry (screams) if you keep trying. We've also tried giving him different sippy cups but he pushes those away too. Some people have said that if he's hungry enough, then he'll eat but I'm not sure if that is true for him. He'll wait, meltdown, and wait some more. Then of course none of us sleep well since he wakes much more often to eat.

{This one made me laugh. It's similar to the face he makes when we try to give him a bottle or cereal. He makes his lips tight then spits out whatever gets into his mouth!}

Disappointing news that broke my heart a little this morning...
I had about 300oz of breastmilk in a deep freezer and it unfortunately THAWED! Somehow the outlet reset button popped so the freezer turned off. I cried when I discovered it. Some of the milk was still icy so I'm assuming this happened last night. I could kick myself for not putting this week's milk in the freezer last night like I had planned to. I might have discovered it before it was too late. I cried some more. This milk made the possibility that Ethan may not outgrow his MSPI until he is 18-24 months a little less overwhelming since the milk is in a deep freezer & is supposed to be good for one year. I had planned to start giving it to him in a sippy cup while continuing to pump and store so that he would have breastmilk (even if he decides to self wean much earlier). He likely will not be able to tolerate whole milk at one year and rice milk does not have enough fat recommended for brain development. I'm learning about Hemp milk as an alternative after he's a year old. The hypoallergenic formula is another alternative but some children refuse it due to the taste.

So 300 ounces - GONE. All that time spent at the pump. All those plastic storage bags wasted. ugh. I could cry again.

Sorry for such a downer post. It's a very tough day and I'm overwhelmed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Look at this face!!


These were right after our appt with the allergist on Friday. My tough guy with his bandage from the blood draw. He was all red and patchy. The patches on his cheeks were oozing more than ever.


Then here just 2 days later... a much clearer face already! He's been happier, sleeping better, and seems to be A LOT less itchy! His cheeks are still a little pink but no open, oozing spots, and they're much softer already.

Also, his 2nd tooth broke through over the weekend.

Matt and I keep commenting on how much he's changing. It truly is amazing to help and watch him grow. I've also heard a few people say that Ethan is starting to look more like me. He's been a mini-matt since birth but now his looks seem to be changing some. I can see similar facial features as I had as a child, especially his nose, mouth, and chin.

Stay tuned for some more pics and videos.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

1st allergist appt

Ethan's skin was clearing up this week but flared up just in time for our first appt with the allergist. I expected the appt to be a consult but we ended up having skin allergy tests and blood work done. They could only perform about 10 skin tests because his back was covered in eczema. Thankfully he didn't mind the skin test at all. The wait after the skin pricks was long because he was tired and I watched little hives form on his back and shoulders from the allergens. I didn't know which ones were causing a reaction so of course my mind was racing.

He did not show a reaction to milk, soy, wheat, oat, or rice. I was relieved since I've been eating a lot of oat and rice. I still cannot consume milk or soy because while he may not be allergic to them, he has an intolerance to milk and soy protein. His MSPI symptoms are likely caused by an immaturity of the GI system. The allergist listed it as "food protein enterocolitis as opposed to an IgE mediated food allergy". She said that MSPI should resolve itself by the time he is 18-24 months old. She suggested that I do not introduce dairy or soy into my diet if I plan to continue to breastfeed. This contradicts what I've heard about soy protein intolerance possibly resolving between 6-9 months of age. I didn't plan to introduce dairy until he was closer to a year old but had hoped to introduce soy sooner. She also suggested giving him a hypoallergenic toddler formula until he is 18-24 months old since he will not be able to consume whole milk. Some MSPI children are given soy milk or rice milk at a year old. This doctor stated that rice and soy milk do not have enough fat needed for brain development so the formula is recommended.

Ethan's skin tests showed a mild reaction to dogs, which we do not have but he has been in contact with on an occasional basis. The doctor stated that children and staff at his daycare who have dogs likely have dog dander on them so Ethan is being exposed that way as well.

Sadly, Ethan showed a reaction to cats. We are waiting to see what the RAST to cat dander shows before making a decision. While we cannot imagine having to find new homes for our cats, as they are members of our family, we cannot have Ethan suffer or be on long term medication. We're going to work on some other options first before it comes to giving up our cats as a last resort. Our vacuum has a HEPA air filter. We need to vacuum more often. It was suggested that Ethan be in a different room during and for a short while after vacuuming. We also need to invest in a HEPA air filter for our home. We need to keep the cats away from his toys, play mat, etc and out of his room, which is going to be the most difficult. They love to sit on the ottoman in his room. Kylie also loves to join us while we're on the floor with Ethan. Ethan enjoys watching her and most recently has started grabbing for her as she walks by. It's very cute but can no longer happen. We cannot pick up the cats unless we plan to change our shirt afterward. We also need to wash our hands between petting the cats and touching Ethan's face/hands. We already put blankets down while playing on the floor. We'll have to wash those often.

Although he showed a reaction to the skin test for cats I wonder if it really is our cats causing his symptoms. He has been around them his entire life and didn't have any reaction until he was about 4 months old. My SIL has allergy testing performed yearly (I think it's yearly). She usually shows a reaction to dogs but not cats. This year she showed a reaction to cats and not dogs but she is able to live with a cat. I'm wondering why her tests are inconsistent. I keep thinking - what if we find new homes for our cats and Ethan symptoms remain the same?

Ethan also showed a reaction to cockroaches. I wasn't too concerned since we certainly do not have cockroaches in our home. The allergist warned me about reactions when we are in public places.

The scariest reaction was to eggs. I KNEW that he had a reaction when I ate eggs but the confirmation of this allergy makes me angry with our previous pediatricians office. They repeatedly told me that Ethan was too young to have an allergy to eggs. I will be writing them a letter. I feel that my concerns about his MSPI and possible egg allergy were brushed off too many times.

The allergist is checking RAST to egg white and yolk (as well as milk, soy, wheat, and peanut). We will have to carry an EpiPen and have one at his daycare. This will be more of a concern when he starts eating solid food but is already a concern since he is reaching for everything. Just yesterday we had a bowl of cereal spilled because he was interested in it. The concern is not only for eggs such as an egg salad sandwich but also mayonnaise, baked goods, etc. The allergist said that 66-90% of children typically outgrow an egg allergy by school age. She also said that 6-8% of kids have food allergies/intolerances and about 50% outgrow them.

New meds and skin regimen:
-give him a 1/2 tsp of Hydroxyzine at bedtime.
-nightly luke warm soaks, air or pat dry
-immediately after bath apply 2.5% hydrocortisone ointment followed by Vanicream on top
-spray skin with water during the day to replenish before applying hyrocortisone and Vanicream
-apply Bactroban to open areas of skin twice a day

Lots of information and it was an overwhelming day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Busy with the following:

Sorry for the lack of posts ... life has been busy with:

-Tracking E's sleep patterns. He was barely at daycare this week (only for 6 hours on Thurs) and has been waking just 3 times a night. I know that can be considered a lot but it's an improvement for us. The allergist thinks it's highly likely that Ethan is waking so often b/c he's itchy.

-Dealing with his eczema. We had it *almost* cleared up then it flared up again! I ordered Vanicream & it arrived yesterday so we haven't tried it yet. Thanks for the suggestion, Anon commenter. Our allergist gave us tons of samples of their products too. She loves their stuff.

-E being sick this week (low fever, fussy, diarrhea, diaper rash), uncertain whether we can attribute this to teething or a virus.

-his FIRST tooth! It broke through last weekend and the next one looks as though it's going to break through soon too!!

-Ethan is flat out REFUSING bottles. Last week at daycare they were able to get him to take a half ounce to an ounce here or there but now he either turns his head from the bottle or screams when you try again. We bought a couple of Adiri bottles and he took a few sips from it the first try but then not again. I'm hoping that this bottle strike is a phase. We introduced the bottle when he was 4 wks old and he did great with it for a long time. When he was about 4 months old he became distracted at daycare and wasn't eating as much, but now he gets mad when you try to give him a bottle at all. A friend of mine went through this with her daughter, who is 2 weeks older than Ethan. She had always had difficulty with the bottle. It took her more than an hour to take a few ounces from it. They introduced a sippy cup and she would drink the tiniest bit of water from it. What eventually worked was handing the bottle over to the baby and letting her feed herself. I'm so surprised that a 6 month old can hold her own bottle and feeds herself but she really does. My friend says that she's not a pro at it but it's the ONLY way she'll drink from it. We will try this route with Ethan too.

-Family drama.


-Client crisis.

Ethan just woke up from a much needed nap. I'll write a post about our appt with the allergist later.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Father's Day

I jumped on the bandwagon and made one of these for Matt.

I think Matt enjoyed his first Father's Day.

Telling secrets

E looks shocked by the secret or annoyed at me for taking pictures while they're telling secrets.

Yup, that's drool :)

He's such a great dad & I'm really grateful for both of these guys.