A Mother’s intuition – Part two

A Mother’s intuition – Part two

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The day we were due at the hospital I sat feeding my 13 week old daughter for the last time before we had to leave. Click here to read Part one.

I was feeling concerned about the procedure as I had read that they do not numb the area before cutting it. I was dreading it but kept my emotions in check as we sat waiting to be seen.
I had my husband with me so he could drive us home whilst I comforted our baby predicting she would be in terrible pain and screaming.

We were called through and discussed the issues before someone took my baby over to a table and wrapped her in a towel so she couldn’t wriggle. A nurse placed her upside down so the doctor could carry out his own assessment. My daughter wasn’t keen on being restricted so started to get a bit fussy.

The nurse went out and came back in with the head consultant where he performed an assessment before telling us we had 2 options. 1 – we leave it and carry on or 2 – we had the procedure. He then advised us that in his personal opinion he thought we should have the procedure done due to issues that could crop up in the future resulting in it needing to be done anyway.

By now I was feeling emotional for my baby but me and my husband agreed we needed to do what was best for our daughter so after signing some forms the procedure started. We were talked through what would happen and the consultant himself carried out the procedure.
My baby was held down tightly in the towel whilst someone else held her head. I didn’t watch, I couldn’t.

The consultant snipped my daughters tongue with a sharp scissor like instrument and my baby cried a cry I had not yet heard her do. It was harrowing. The consultant brought her straight to me and told me to feed or comfort her, whichever she wanted.
I was streaming with tears and so upset for my poor baby as I tried to comfort her with boob but she did not want it.

At this point a breastfeeding support worker entered and calmly said if baby just needs a cuddle it’s ok to just cuddle her but my daughters comfort was boob so I didn’t think a cuddle would work.
I tried my daughter with boob again and she latched this time with her cries becoming little hiccups. At the time the crying felt a long time but it was probably at most 2 minutes.

We had to wait half an hour so the wound could be checked in case of excess bleeding but thankfully we were ok and told we could go home.
The support worker advised on different holds as she noticed I was holding the baby too high on my arm before we were sent away with some wound care instructions and gauze in case there were any problems.

At home with my daughter she slept peacefully and when she woke for a feed you wouldn’t have known she had just had her tongue snipped. She fed until she was full. It was too early to tell if this would ease symptoms but so far so good!

Eventually we had an appointment date come through to go to the hospital for the dairy allergy.
The consultant went through the history of my daughters symptoms and it was confirmed. My daughter had what is called a non ige dairy allergy meaning it was a delayed reaction.
I was to continue being dairy free but I was given a tin of hypoallergenic milk formula to try if I wanted. It was not pushed on me, I had mentioned my gp’s refusal to prescribe any.

My daughter wasn’t keen on the bottle and by then I had realised how much of a pain it would be to make up bottles every time I needed to feed her. I decided to continue breastfeeding.
I had also been researching and found that actually, my milk would repair my daughters stomach and had so much more goodness in. It’s truly amazing what breast milk can do.

My moods seemed to lift a bit when I had official confirmation from the hospital that my daughter had a dairy allergy. I was able to tell my friends and family that I was right, my baby did have something wrong. In fact she had had to battle tongue tie and a dairy allergy!

I was advised to introduce my daughter to solids from 5 months but by the time we got going she was closer to 6 months. I had spoon fed my first born but my daughter refused the spoon and decided for us both that we were going to go the baby led route.
I read up a little on how to notice the difference between gagging and choking and we got started.

We tried vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower before we moved on to another food. My daughter took to it like a duck to water! She loved using her 360 cup and sitting at the table eating as a family.

We soon started to see that my daughters face was again coming up in a rash during meals but I put it down to sensitive skin. She would itch it red raw despite the offending food not having touched her skin.

One day I served her some hard boiled egg which she refused, as I was trying to feed her a new food I made sure I got some into her mouth and instantly she came out in red itchy raised spots on her face. Next she vomited and 10 minutes later she had a horrible nappy.
That night my daughter did not sleep well, crunching her body over in pain and back to wanting to feed lots. I emailed the dietitian who informed me that it sounded like my daughter may have an egg allergy. She would refer us to the allergy clinic.

I started keeping pictures and notes of any instances where my daughter had symptoms or reactions so that I could take them to the clinic with me. I continued introducing new foods but this time I tried one new food over 3 days before introducing another new food.
I made peanut butter on toast for lunch one day, again my daughter refused it. Again I made sure I got a bit inside her lip so she could taste it before deciding if she didn’t like it.
I could not get her to take anymore so I tried it again another day. Like the last time, my daughter bit down on her teeth and shut up shop. I decided to listen to my daughter, she did not fancy peanut butter thank you.

My emotional state wasn’t very emotional as such, rather I was having constant thoughts running through my mind. I felt lonely even though I saw people daily, I couldn’t talk to anyone about how I felt as they couldn’t understand my worries. I felt guilt for not having more time for my son, I felt like I desperately needed time to myself away from everyone.

I stopped meeting friends, I don’t have many close friends as it is so this meant I spent my whole week alone with my daughter and I had to remind myself to speak out loud around her.
I just could not stop my mind from running over and over every little thing I said or did or someone else said or did or keeping an eye on my daughter for any reactions.

I didn’t enjoy anything anymore, I was just going through the motions of daily life whilst trying to find a way to raise my children happy and healthy. You wouldn’t have known though, I didn’t tell anyone and when I was around people I focused on them. I had given up thinking about myself and only cared about getting through each week. I was obsessed with researching all I could about food allergies (I do this for anything that becomes an interest or something that affects those close to me).

When my daughter was 11 months old we went to the allergy clinic where we went over her history and symptoms and mine and my husbands history along with our sons.
I had had eczema as a baby and my mum had told me I was sick a lot, she had taken me to the doctor who said I was just a sickly baby. My husband had had hay fever and asthma as a child.
My first born had ended up being formula fed after we left the hospital and he had had some tough times with sore looking skin and appearing to be in pain. We had taken him to hospital numerous times to be told it was eczema and trouble getting used to the milk.
Looking back now I believe he had a milder form of dairy allergy…

The consultant told us she would perform skin prick testing on my daughter for various things and we would meet back in her office for the results.
The procedure didn’t take long and my daughter sat perfectly still happily watching. I could see 2 reactions locally on her arm and back in the consultants office we were informed that our daughter had an egg and peanut allergy. The difference with these new allergies were that they were ige allergies meaning immediate as opposed to delayed.
We were sent home with antihistamine and a care plan to carry with us at all times.

I was still feeding my daughter which meant I also had to cut any foods out that contained egg or peanut in the ingredients, as well as avoiding may contain labels for peanuts or nuts.

Cutting dairy out had felt hard at the time but cutting egg and dairy out was even harder. Mostly if you find a food that’s free from dairy it will still have egg in and vice versa and finding any yummy treats without egg in but still tasted edible was almost impossible…at first.

I had a cry as I walked around the supermarket aisles trying to find something nice for me and some safe foods for my daughter. I tried not to feel jealous when my husband started chucking loads of snacks into the trolley but over time it did get easier. I knew I just needed to remember one thing – check every food label always.

Very quickly I decided I was going to only cook meals that we could eat as a family, my son and husband still had other foods and snacks so it was only the main meal that they had which was allergy friendly.

Our next appointment at the allergy clinic shouldn’t have been for another year but as I had suspected would happen, my daughter reacted to more foods so we were given another appointment within 6 months.

We are now up to 8 food allergies and the eczema is still an issue but it’s limited to hands which is hard to clear up when little ones tend to use their hands when eating or painting. I have days where I go back to researching allergies and feeling down about it but by sticking to places I know are safe to go to we have so far been able to stay free from any serious reactions. It has limited where I can take my daughter such as soft play due to the cross contamination risks and toddler groups where other children will eat their snacks that get dropped on the floor.

I feel more sad for my daughter that she can’t eat what her brother has or when I see her watching someone eat something that she knows is different to what she has. It will only become harder for her but she will be educated young on how to keep herself safe and hope that one day she can enjoy the foods that other people love.

Having a child with food allergies has certainly been a challenge and I have become very educated on the subject matter but now I am finding that I need to focus on my own wellbeing. My children are young and need a strong healthy mother, one who doesn’t miss out on having happy times with them and show them that there are adventures waiting every day and they can achieve anything they want