Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 1: X's Allergy Patch Testing

I wasn't going to post about this until tomorrow, but I figured it's my blo-og, I'll post when I want to! Post when I want to!

Ahem. Sorry. I'm feeling a little loopy this morning. I didn't get much sleep last night. X was up at 11:30, 2 and then for good just before 6 a.m. This was his how he spent most of his first 12 months, but lately, especially since we moved him into Sawyer's room, he's slept beautifully.

Last night was not a surprise, however.

He is currently wearing a 48-hour allergy test patch. Little tin chambers are filled with different potentially allergic foods, and then are stuck to his back by a large piece of hypoallergenic tape. The substances soak into his skin, and if he's allergic, the T-Cells will react and cause the skin under the offending tin(s) to welt and itch. But the process takes awhile, which is why it's a 48-hour test.

I will spare you the links to pictures of reactions I found. They're frightening!

This is different than a standard skin-prick test, where tiny amounts of potential allergens enter via a tiny scratch in the skin. If you're allergic, your histamines will react (IgE cells) and you'll get an itchy welt within about 20 minutes. He will have that test Wednesday.

The best explanation I could find that I actually understood about the differences between these tests was here. Scroll down to Question 4. I don't know what EE is, but the tests are explained using smaller words than the other sites!

X's patch contains: eggs, wheat, soy, milk, oats, beef, chicken, rice, corn and something that starts with letter "p." Pork, maybe? It's not peanuts, as those cause an IgE reaction and will be tested via the scratch test.

Of course I was very concerned that he'll react and his back will be all itchy for two days. He won't sleep. I won't sleep. We'll both be grumpy. Which is why I'm freaked out he was up twice last night. He MUST be reacting. Right? RIGHT?!?!

If you take off the patch too early, the test will have to be repeated. And there's nothing you can do about the itchiness. How do you explain to a 13 month-old that this is all for a good cause? I mean, look at that little face!

I interrogated the nurse before she put the patch on. She said she'd never had a parent call and say their chid wouldn't stop crying and they had to rip the patch off. Even those babies who react to EVERYthing.

And frankly, I want to know. X's pediatrician is concerned that he's not gaining much weight, even though he's reaching all his milestones, looks great and is incredibly active. We need to introduce more foods. But I don't want to give him something that's going to give him a tummy ache.

Plus, the weaning thing? It's got to happen. First, though, I need to find something safe to wean him onto, and he's not at all interested in rice milk.

I hope to have answers tomorrow. We just have to get through one more night.

In the meantime, I will do what I do best - beat the crap out of myself. My first two kids were breastmilk-sensitive and were switched to hypoallergenic formula. And they did great. Outgrew everything by a year. Except for Sawyer's peanut/treenut allergy, which was detected at 10 months (I've already killed myself over that, since I ate peanut butter practically every day of my pregnancy).

X is the only one I was able to nurse all the way through, and if he ends up being the most sensitive... well, now I've hopped on the Crazy Train. Should I have weaned him at two months like I did with Sage? Was I inadvertently introducing allergens through my breastmilk, despite my very strict diet? Would he have been better off with the specialized formula? I thought breastmilk was supposed to help prevent allergies? And since I seem to have some weird variety that my kids can't tolerate, maybe it was a sign I shouldn't be nursing at all!

And around and around I go. As a friend pointed out on Facebook this morning, if I HAD put him on the formula and he'd had allergy issues, then I would've regretted weaning.

Truth is, there are no answers. We all do the the best we can. No one really understands why allergies happen. I'm sure it's impossible to explain how I could have three babies who all had the very rare breastmilk allergy.

The funny thing? I don't even have X's results yet! Yet this is how my mind works. Full steam ahead.

Mom guilt. Not sure there's a chapter on that in What to Expect when you're Expecting or whatever books we read while pregnant.

But there should be. There should be.


Anonymous said...

Stop it. You are great, you are wonderful, you are doing a good job! (Moms of Sawyers are always the best kind of moms)

Kristy @Loveandblasphemy said...

My son was allergic to my breastmilk and on Elecare (hypoallergenic formula). I was only able to breastfeed for a month. The questions you're asking yourself sound just like what I would put myself through! It is so easy to wonder and second guess and fear that you caused it somehow. But you never know why and it most likely has nothing to do with anything you did. Actually, I would bet money that you did nothing to cause it if we could find out the reason. Allergies are crazy!! Anyways, glad that you're over half way on the test. Hope you can get some answers! And don't worry too much about weaning - I kept my boy on Elecare well into his first year and I thought that worked great. As with EVERYTHING in mommyhood, that's just my opinion and it's up to you! :)

Candice said...

You're right about warning about mommy guilt. I knew it was out there, but never knew it would be as bad as it is.

Marit said...

Be good to yourself! Try not to hop on the guilt train ~ I'm sure you've always done what's best for your kids based on the knowledge you had at the time. My pediatrician was just telling me that she's giving her son hemp milk, and my mom used to make us almond milk. Of course, you can make milk out of virtually any seed or nut unless he's allergic to that, too. Feeling for you. Hope the test results will at least be enlightening, so you can do what's best for your boy.

Cheryl said...

Thanks, Mombshell! And you're right: we Sawyer moms must stick together!

Kristy - Thanks! Sounds like you know EXACTLY how I feel. My first two were on neocate. One went to rice milk, one went to soy milk at a year. Allergies ARE crazy!! Thanks for stopping by!

Candice - I know. It's all the stuff NO ONE told us that's the hardest.

Cheryl said...

Thanks, Marit! So glad you stopped by! And yes, I'm hoping to have a lot more info tomorrow.

K said...

Oh, goodness, I'm sorry you're all going through this!

My son refused my breast milk (he wasn't allergic, just didn't like it apparently) at four months. Talk about heart break (for me). We went through a lot of different kinds of milk (including rice, which did nothing but constipate him, and multiple kinds of organic formula, which he spit up as soon as he swallowed), and finally found what he would drink (and he thrived on): coconut milk (I like it, too!). So Delicious brand lives up to it's name. Maybe it's worth looking into?

Hope the results help you figure out what's going on!

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Krystal! If he's not allergic to coconut I will definitely look into it!

The Mayor! said...

You stayed up too late Twitter partying & winning cool shit....I was there, I saw you!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Did you at least buy that lottery ticket??!! And no worries, us Moms are MASTER pros at fostering guilt over our kids....keeps us doing right by them even when they annoy the crap out of us! You're normal, sane, & a wonderful Mom!


Unknown said...

Oh Mom Guilt can be BRUTAL! Stop beating yourself up...You don't even have the results yet and you couldn't have possibly foreseen any allergies no matter WHAT you did/didn't do during pregnancy/breastfeeding/life.

Theta Mom said...

Mommy guilt is always there - I can relate - my son has a severe nut allergy and only until one day he happened to come into small contact with some peanut oil and he blew up did we realize it was serious.

kirsten said...

well just wishing you good things for the Drs visit tomorrow, and maybe his waking up is just being pissed off about having something taped to his back!

One of the best points ever, re: Mom Guilt in the pregnancy guides. Except.... would you believe it if someone told you BEFORE you had the baby?? I know I wouldn't have.

Cheryl said...

Mayor - I know! So fun last night! You're right - guilt does keep us on the right path!

Lindsay - You're so right. Clearly I'm insane. I am literally counting the minutes til we see the allergist tomorrow (at 2:30 p.m. PST!).

Kirsten - Thanks! And please - I grew up in a Jewish home. I know from guilt! ;)

Aimee @ Ain't Yo Mama's Blog said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about what X (and you!) are going through. Ugh. It's hard to quit the mommy-guilt syndrome (and nearly impossible for us Jewish moms...Ha!) but you're doing what you need to do for your kids and doing a great job at it, too. What else can you do?

I hope the test results come back with positive results. Keep us posted!


Marit said...

made me think about you ~ hope this brightens your day:


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