10 phrases allergy moms “love” to hear

  1. How allergic is your child?  When I tell someone my child has a food allergy, I’m telling them so that my child can avoid the allergen.  It doesn’t matter “how” allergic he is.  He doesn’t need the food, and we don’t need the agony of an allergic reaction.
  2. Is he really allergic or do you just not want him to have sweets? Of course I don’t want to constantly shove sweets down my child’s throat, but just because he can’t have certain foods does not mean I don’t let him have sweets.  Besides, why would you ask a mother (whether or not she has a child with food allergies) if you can give her child sweets?  Why can’t you offer my child an apple or even better a non-food item like stickers?
  3. I feel bad that he can’t have the same food as other kids.  I don’t want him to feel left out.  Most moms of children with food allergies come prepared with alternative options for their children.  While the children may feel a little left out from not getting to eat certain foods it is far better than the alternative of them eating the foods and having a reaction.
  4. Ugh…my life is so inconvenienced by your child’s food allergy.  Why do daycares, schools, airplanes and public buildings have to be peanut free?  First, if you seriously can’t wait until you get home to eat your peanut items, then maybe you have a bit of an issue?  Second, the severity of some allergies like peanuts differ from person to person.  Some people react just by touching an item that someone who had peanuts earlier touched.  It’s like with the flu.  If you have the flu virus you shouldn’t be bringing it out into public where it can hurt others.  Just keep your peanuts and your flu at home and to yourself.
  5. How long has it been since your child has tried this food? Maybe he’s built up a tolerance.  Yes, some people may grow out of their food allergies, but some of them may get worse.  Currently, there is no way to know either way.   There are some research efforts underway to see if there is a cure for food allergies.  No, we will not test his tolerance right now in a non-medical environment without his doctor’s consent just because you want to see if he reacts.  I can tell you that I am probably losing my tolerance for you.
  6. You must have eaten too much of that food during your pregnancy or while you were breastfeeding! You must be ignorant. Thank you for blaming me for my child’s medical condition though. Bless your heart. Do your own research and know that we blame ourselves enough for our children’s reactions without others trying to blame us too.
  7. Giving them a little bite won’t hurt. Right, and neither will letting them hold a rattlesnake. To allergy moms those two things are equal. Both could kill our child. Let me say that again to make it clear: ONE BITE COULD KILL MY CHILD. I’m not willing to take that chance. You shouldn’t be either. Killing people is frowned upon last time I checked.
  8. Oh, they’ll grow out of it. We actually want this. We desperately want our child to grow out of their food allergies. For them and for us. Unfortunately we don’t know if that will happen. Neither does my child’s allergist. I’m so glad you know though.
  9. It was processed in a plant/on a conveyor belt/on a counter top with the allergen, but it doesn’t have the allergen in it.  It should be safe. If it wasn’t potentially dangerous, then why do the products have to tell you they were processed near the allergen?  What if your favorite food item said processed by someone who had the flu or TB?  Would you feel comfortable chancing contamination?
  10. This one we will never hear said to our face. We’ve heard others say it about other allergy moms when they don’t realize we are listening or don’t realize we are also allergy moms. They’re just doing it for attention, I doubt their child even HAS a food allergy. Don’t be this person. This person is not a nice person to be. Please know that we are not seeking attention. Most of us HATE having to ask what ingredients are in everything when we are at a restaurant, a person’s house, on vacation, etc. I don’t like inconveniencing people. I hate it. I’m a southern girl to my core and I love making people feel at ease. I’m way out of my comfort zone when I have to seek people out to ask questions. I will do it for my child’s safety EVERY SINGLE TIME no matter how uncomfortable it makes me. I can assure you if I could take it away from them I would in a heartbeat.

This post is not intended for people who genuinely care about our children’s safety. If you are asking us questions that are intended to really help our child or if you are wanting to know details so that you can make them or give them a safe treat we welcome that. We always know your intentions as soon as you speak though. We can tell when you are a caring person and when you’re just trying to be a busybody or a tush.

~Hope & Lacey~

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“MH” Part II: NICU

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The first 24 hours after MH was born was miserable. I felt like I couldn’t breathe I was hurting so bad. Not from the pain of just having gone through 18 1/2 hours of labor or the fact that I had been cut open from hip to hip, but because I didn’t have my baby in my arms. My heart felt like it had been ripped out. I’m the mom who doesn’t let anyone take my babies out of the room without me or my husband going with them during our hospital stay after our babies are born. Now, I was having to trust strangers, very amazing and capable strangers, to care for my fighting baby girl. My husband was the first to hold our sweet baby. He went up to the NICU as often as he could while I wasn’t able to. I was a very sick mess for the first 24 hours after her birth. I finally made it up to the NICU to hold her and she was stable but fighting. She had transitioned from a c-pap to regular oxygen but still wasn’t doing the best. I honestly can’t remember all of the terms they used to describe what all was wrong, I just knew she was fighting. After my first visit with her they gave me fluids and a blood transfusion then unhooked me from my IV. I was able to shower, change clothes and blow dry my hair. I felt like a completely new person. During my second visit with her I was able to stay a lot longer and I was able to do kangaroo care with her. It was good for the both of us. She was beautiful. She had a million wires and IV’s hooked to her but she was beautiful. Each time I had to leave was gut wrenching. J went up there very often and I went as often as possible. My sole mission at that point was to provide as much of my milk to her as possible. I became a pumping machine! We got to feed her for the first time when she was a little over two days old. Tiny little drops through a syringe. 1cc of liquid gold. She slowly improved each day and on the Sunday after the Thursday that she was born I was discharged. Those few weeks before, during and after her birth were filled with days that seemed to be the worse days of my life.
I’d do it all over in a heartbeat to have my sweet girl.
Leaving her was hard. One of the hardest moments of my life. I was thrilled to see my kiddos at home though!! I had missed them so so bad!!! That Monday was bittersweet and miserable. I had desperately missed my kids so I was happy to spend time with them but I was honestly really worried and stressed because I couldn’t take care of MH. My parents came to sit with our kids so that we could go visit her around 3pm. We live an hour away from the hospital. That morning when we had called to check on her the nurses told us she was stable but had not improved. I had prayed all. day. long.

Prayer is a powerful thing.
When we got to her on the main NICU floor we were met by a nurse who asked if we were ready to take her to a transition room!!! We had NO IDEA that she was doing so well!!! Her oxygen was gone, she was down to only one IV line and she was very stable! After only a second she was being wheeled into her own room and I was told that either I or my husband could stay with her 24 hours a day if we chose to!!
I was staying. No one could have pulled me away. My husband was instantaneous in his decision. He knew I needed to stay with her, I needed it with every fiber of my being. It was the best news I could have ever heard.

We left for an hour to go get a few things at a local store because I hadn’t packed anything. I was planning on staying with her as long as she had to be there and I needed necessities and comfortable clothes to keep myself clean, comfortable and keep my milk supply strong for her. A couple of bags of toiletries, food, yoga pants, t-shirts and a giant mason jar water bottle later I was set. When we got back J was able to feed her her very first bottle!! He stayed as long as he could and then left to care for our other sweet kiddos. Then, it was just Mommy and MH. That was the first time I had been able to be alone with my sweet tiny girl.

It. Was. Blissful.

~Hope

“MH” Part I: Birth Story

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Throughout my four pregnancies before MH I never had any serious issues. My blood pressure was always good, so was everything else. I always had amazingly easy deliveries even through a couple of small complications during the birth of two of my sons. When I went in for a routine checkup at 19 weeks during my pregnancy with MH my blood pressure was very high. My doctor admitted me to the hospital for an overnight observation to check for more signs of pre-eclampsia. All of my tests came back fine, my blood pressure was normal for the full 24 hours after and we found out that day that we were having a girl! I went home with high hopes and thankful that it seemed to be just my nerves that caused the issue. Everything was fine for the next few weeks. Then at another routine appointment at 36 weeks my blood pressure spiked again and I was admitted again. This time the tests weren’t great. I had pre-eclampsia. I had to stay in the hospital under observation. My amazing husband stayed by my side the entire time. Our kiddos are very blessed to have awesome grandparents and close family friends that they stayed with during this time. I was induced at 37 weeks. The day before the ultrasound tech told me that MH should be perfectly healthy and she measured over 6lbs. My labor was 18 1/2 hours long. Sometime during the morning I remember feeling a huge movement that felt like she flipped but I didn’t give it much thought in the moment. When I finally reached 10cm my water still hadn’t broke. As the doctors and nurse checked my progress my nurse noticed that she wasn’t feeling the baby’s head, she was feeling the umbilical cord. I was immediately rushed to surgery for an emergency c-section. The big flip I felt was just that. MH was breach and I had a prolapsed cord. I lost a lot of blood during the procedure and felt myself going in and out the whole time. Once they got her out something was very wrong. I couldn’t her her crying and they didn’t immediately let me see her like they normally do. I honestly was so out of sorts that I didn’t fully understand everything that was going on. I became very sick and my blood pressure wouldn’t stabilize. My husband came to my side and I remember my anesthesiologist telling him to stay because he was making me stable. He is my rock. I finally heard MH crying and I knew there were a lot of people in the room. I didn’t know what was wrong. In recovery J, my husband, told me that MH had to be taken to the NICU. She was very small and had breathing problems among other medical issues. I was able to see her for a minute after recovery but I didn’t get to hold her. I know this isn’t food allergy related but it is MH related. To tell her story without explaining everything she went through, fought through, before her diagnosis would not give her the credit she deserves. She is my fighter.

~Hope

“Z”

I am not new to allergies. When I was little I had a few severe reactions to grapes, a few small reactions to popular antibiotics and I am still very allergic to cats. I grew out of my other allergies. It was never a big deal when I was a kid so I was not prepared for how my life was about to change after I became a mother. My journey as an allergy mom did not start with only food allergies. My journey started with my second oldest son, Z.
I have five amazing kiddos, three of which have or have had food allergies of different severities and very different reactions. Z is my sweet, slow and steady boy. He was the easiest of all of my babies and instantly took breastfeeding by storm. My first son had a lot of complications with breastfeeding and wasn’t able to. I was thrilled to have Z take to me so easily. Then we noticed instead of having normal movements that he would go 3-4 days without having even one poopy diaper. The first many rounds of doctors appointments didn’t help. After four months with no answers and him going up to nine days without having a dirty diaper I was told to stop breastfeeding and to try soy formula. It worked! I was so happy to have a baby that could poop regularly and go an entire day without terrible gas! Then three weeks later he started having the exact same issues as before. After three more months of trying EVERYTHING we finally got our answer!!!

Milk protein allergy.

His body could not digest milk proteins. So he had to be put on a very special formula until he was 18months old and couldn’t have any dairy until after he was 3. In the middle of all of that he also had very severe environmental allergies. He would break out in hives and have horrible asthma attacks any time he came into contact with cats, cat hair, horses, certain plants, dust, and so on. The list is very long. So my first four years of motherhood were a whirlwind! It was spent getting answers for Z and keeping him away from things and foods that would harm him, enjoying having two sweet boys who were only 17 months apart and best friends and having my sweet daughter MB come along. After Z turned 3 his milk protein allergy vanished and I no longer had to worry about ingredient lists for him. Little did I know that this part of my life was really easy compared to what was to come.

~Hope