In this weeks’ True Tales from the Pink & Blue Trenches (our weekly series- co-hosted with the crew from Home on Deranged) I am going to take the opportunity to vent. I wish this could be lighthearted, funny and holiday related. Instead, I am going to be “Debbie Downer” and take a moment to have a mini-meltdown. I promise, you will read very few posts like this, but for months our current situation with my toddler Henry has consumed my mind. I am suffering from a writer’s block. Not because I am not constantly surrounded inspiring by toddler madness, it’s that sometimes the poop and vomit are just not as funny. This post is not for the weak of stomach, it will be pretty descriptive. Turn back now, if you need to. Poop and vomit descriptions and the wearing of, cleaning of or smelling of– no longer phase me.
Note: The True Tales from the Pink & Blue Trenches will be on hiatus next week to enjoy the Holidays, but the following week will be back with hilarity from the lovely, Melissa.
Our Toddler Tummy Woes
It began in late September, with on and off diarrhea. It wasn’t bad every day but it kept returning. Henry had no fever, no lethargy, and he was still hungry little guy, Our doctor said it might be teething. Mid-October Henry began to vomit just over a weekend, but was still having bouts of loose stools and not to be extra descriptive but it smelled like vomit. Our doctors suggested it was a virus. It should pass. These were his only symptoms and at first it all seemed sporadic. By November, we were growing more concerned with the frequency. We tried a milk free diet for two weeks. with not much change. We provided a stool sample. Okay this could be funny except it was very stressful. Have you ever tried to collect a diarrhea stool sample from a baby? The lab will recommend you put saran wrap in the diaper. UMMMM…. #1 the saran wrap makes the baby sweat and sticks to his butt- causing the diaper to leak out the sides. #2 the sample cannot contain urine (so you get an uncomfortable “baggie” for the urine to collect causing the baby to be irritable) #3 have you ever tried to carry soup in saran wrap? Okay, a later learned tip to pass on… turn the diaper inside out, the contents won’t absorb and use gauze to absorb urine. Once we finally got a sample to the lab, results showed no parasites or bacteria. The day before Thanksgiving, Henry’s tummy bloated as if he was in his third trimester of pregnancy. He has grown lethargic and is now having regular bouts of digestive issues with each meal. He had a stomach X-ray. No perforations, no blockages, nothing swallowed. Just a lot of air or gas. Excessive air, unexplained, in the stomach. We would head to a gastroenterology specialist the next week. My husband stayed home with Henry on Thanksgiving while I visited with our longtime friends (along with Hayden). It was very needed. I was beginning to unravel from constant cleaning, being trapped in the house and limited sleep. I cried while talking to my barista at the Starbucks kiosk. Yep, I did. She asked about the kids, and I cried in the middle of the grocery store.
Praying for an answer
Thankfully Henry was no longer lethargic after Thanksgiving. He actually behaves normally, with the exception of the episode of vomiting (sometimes during) or shortly after meals. He will cry, vomit, cuddle, run around and want to eat again. I actually prayed for this to be a parasite. That would be fixable. We met with the specialist and came up with some potential causes. Parasite, general allergy or Celiac disease. I was so nervous about the latter. I have a picky older toddler, Henry was a good eater. The gluten free crackers and pasta, I had recently bought did not go over well. I knows stores are making shopping easier for allergy sensitive diets, but Celiac disease is life long. We were advised to go dairy free again. Full dairy ban. Another diaper sample needed. Blood tests. No parasites were detected and thankfully he tested negative to Celiac. Now I am asked to give Henry a very expensive high protein formula, which he refuses to drink. In fact he disliked it so much he started refusing soy or almond milk too. This week, we had a follow up appointment with the Gastroenterologist. Plus an appointment for an allergy specialist.
- 1st appointment we discussed very serious and scary things. If I cannot get him to drink a protein/calcium filled drink (of any kind) we will be looking at a feeding tube because of weight loss. He is losing protein in his stools. We are set-up for an endoscopy this Friday. This will explore is upper and lower tracts and biopsies will be taken.
- 2nd appointment, he received 3 allergy panels plus 1 extra shot for almonds. A total of 31 tiny needs in the back . He was a trooper. Ten long minutes later, we discover he is very allergic to eggs (whites and yolks) and showed minor allergies to peanuts and peas. So now… no eggs, no peanuts, no peas or dairy. He is still on a dairy ban, because it can be an irritant. Everything except eggs, could be re-introduced should his situation improve and depending on his endoscopy and biopsy results.
So, I made arrangements for Hayden this Friday (which is his first ever Christmas program) His aunt volunteered to attend and video record. This helps me greatly mentally. Hayden is so excited and too young to understand what is happening with Henry. Over the next two days, I must begin a “light clean-out” of Henry’s system. 2 days of laxatives, followed by an pediatric saline enema the morning of the endoscopy. PLUS two more stool sample collections. He will not be able to eat or drink 4 hours prior to his procedure. This will be gut wrenching for me to watch, and have to do. Henry likes, and still wants to eat. He has not associated being sick with food. However that has become a problem in itself. The more frequent he gets sick, the more he acts starved and the less he is chewing his food. In the allergists office, he vomited full green beans. I lost it again yesterday, in the same grocery store that hosts my Starbucks kiosk. This time, I sobbed to the random pharmacist and store dietitian (who has agreed to aid me in his diet). Henry had thrown up on me, as soon as we walked in the store, Hayden was being 3-1/2 years old and was not being patient… and I was just done. I must seem so crazy to the people at that store now. All day, I thought about this post. I just needed to write it, release the emotions so I can be stronger for my family.
I am frustrated I can’t get Henry to drink that stupid protein beverage to prevent a potential need for a feeding tube.
I am irritated I have been feeding my baby something that possibly made him so sick.That we can’t find an answer. And that egg is listed as 15 other scientific words in ingredients lists.
I am mad that I can’t fix what is wrong for him. That Henry can’t enjoy a frozen custard (with me) slathered in peanut butter and chocolate from Culvers, and that he can’t continue to steal his brothers food. That he will be the kid that can’t have a cupcake at birthday party, unless I learn how to bake a special one for him.
I am sad, I missing Hayden’s first Christmas program. And that Henry will start his Friday with an enema (which I cannot prepare him for or explain to him.)
I am scared about expenses.The gluten snacks, the soy/almond milks, the non-egg, organic foods (that perish in a week) The $6.00 protein beverages packed 24 per case that he won’t drink, the labs, the endoscopy, the numerous drives to the specialists, the Epi-pen that I need to carry (plus finding out our deductible was not met). The excessive diapering, the clothes (that can no longer be cleaned) the endless cans of carpet cleaner and gallons of Pedialyte to keep him hydrated.
I am tired. Just plain exhausted from the constant clothes washing, bed changes, late night grocery treks, bathing (him and me). Emotionally spent.
I am absolutely terrified, that the endoscopy will not give us an answer, or an answer far worse than a mere egg allergy.
I am overwhelmed with all I need to learn about shopping and cooking. I know you can substitute eggs on many occasions and that it will get easier when we can add milk, peanut and peas into the mix. Still I am far from a good cook and have a lot to learn!
I feel selfish for all of the above feelings; when I have witnessed many sick children at the hospital. I admit to instant relief that Henry is still running around wreaking havoc in between meals.
I am grateful to my husband, whom I know is also deeply worried, and who works two jobs. Allowing me to clean up poop and vomit full-time.
I am relieved my sister n law is helping us on Friday.
I am appreciative of Melissa who lets me vent, and always says exactly what I need to hear, or read in a text message.
I am hopeful, after a “good” morning that maybe it is just the allergy (please let it be the eggs) however I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment. I have faith that we will get through this.
I am blessed beyond measure that I am “mommy” to two very loving, and noisy boys. I know, many people have rough patches or maybe are dealing with far greater burdens in life. Many kids outgrow allergies and I hope this to be the eventual end of mystery. I will not make a habit of such depressing posts, but I thank you for letting me get it out!
If you have any good non- egg, non dairy, non peanut, non pea recipes that are easy, budget friendly and kid approved- I would love if you shared!
PS- On the bright side… Peas are yucky, I will gladly not serve those again.
I am closing this post on a good note, with Hayden’s rendition of We Wish You a Merry Christmas. He is so proud of himself.
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!