I remember the first time he had an allergic reaction. As all Wisconsinites love to do during the summer months, we were Up North, and we could not figure out what was hurting his stomach. He ate as he normally did, and to be honest, he was not sleeping very well, so that was no indicator. To be honest, my husband and I thought that he was just a cry baby. He cried all the dang time, and then some. Now, he didn’t cry enough to be considered colic, but he cried enough that it made me want to cry because it was just never-ending, or so I thought.
But this week was different. We had driven the three hours to get up north with a 2.5-month-old baby, and we were not having a good time. Bless my Mother-In-Law because she just kept trying to help. Every little whine or cry, she wanted to grab him. She would hold out her arms to take hold of him, and I’d reluctantly hand him over. Maybe it was pride, but I disguised it with “he’s not going to stop. That’s just how he is.”
As the days up north got longer, the crying got worse, the sleeping got worse, and we experienced our first green stool. Now, I don’t know about you, but seeing a green stool from your crying, grunting child in the middle of the night is alarming. I knew it was more than just colic. Something was WRONG with his stomach. I literally know NOTHING about babies at this point. Let’s be honest, I still know very little, but I knew that green stool meant trouble.
On the drive home, I did a lot of research, and it all came back with an allergy. I was told dairy was the main allergen, and it was a good idea to make it the first to go. His pediatrician didn’t do any testing. He just told me dairy and called it a day. So, I reluctantly cut dairy.
Man, talk about a brand new baby. Almost overnight, he was happy, giggling, and rarely crying. I mean, come on, let’s be honest, he’s a baby, so he cried a bit, but wasn’t crying as much, so I felt like a winner, a champion, some would say, I was “one heck of a mom”!
No, it wasn’t easy. Checking every package of food I buy, missing out on treats, custard, and cheese curds, it’s been one heck of a journey!
I’ll be honest to say that it’s clear something has still been hurting my son’s tummy. Some weeks we go with only 3-4 stools a week, some we go with stools filled with mucus, some we go with nice chunky “breastfed baby” stools, but we have never had any consistency in stools, even though I’ve had consistency in my diet. I’ve cycled through avocado, eggs, and peanut butter, wondering which one is hurting his tummy the most, if he has an intolerance, and what I can do to help him.
However, now comes the tough part…
The anxiety I feel each time I allow my son to swallow even a microscopic baby spoonful of something that he’s never had before gives me anxiety. Will he have a reaction? Will he turn into the monster he was when he was small? Will he cry a lot? Will I be able to handle it all day? Will he smile as much?
It’s been a ticking time bomb of anxiety for me, and I know my cup is threatening to spill over the top with worry. The level-headedness that I’ve implored over the last 3 months is slowly leaving. I mean, can he just nurse forever? Maybe he will never need solids!
So, you know what I did? Instead of letting myself get to the point of no return, with sickness and worry over if my son’s throat will close with each new food, if he will be able to swallow the foods we explore, if his face will break out in hives… I’ve decided to get him tested for allergies. I may be taking it one step too far, but a girl’s gotta do what she has got to do!
Long story short, you’re doing the right thing. We all have worries about our children. When they go to school this year, we all worry they will get sick. When we send them to a friend’s house, we worry they will get homesick. When we send them out to play a new sport, we worry they will get hurt.
We are allowed to worry. We now wear our hearts outside of our bodies. Our hearts are beating in someone else’s chest now, instead of our own.
I say this to say that even if you feel a little crazy, over-anxious, or nervous when things happen to your little one, your feelings are valid. Your feelings are justified. And that will be my mantra when we waltz into the allergist office in a few weeks. My feelings are valid. My feelings are justified. & I’m one “heck of a mama.”