Thursday, January 17, 2013

Patrick's Two Month Check Up: The Good and the Bad...

I'll start with the good news...

Patrick had his two month appointment today and has continued to follow in the footsteps of his big sisters by being a big baby.

He measured 25 inches long (which put him around the 95%), weighed 14 lbs 6 oz (which put him above the 90th percentile) and had a head circumference of 17 inches (75th percentile).

His poor little toe decided to turn a lovely shade of purple that I'm incredibly thankful I didn't notice until we were at the office and in the doctor's presence, so that I didn't make myself sick worrying about it's bruised color and whether or not blood was getting past the clearly visible line where the hair cut into his skin.

Then it was time to talk about the issue that's been worrying me this past week... allergies.  There's a suspicion that began to take root a little over a week ago when Patrick was nursing and suddenly broke out in hives.  His little face was pouffy and red and I found myself wracking my brain trying to think of allergy causes.  Was it milk?  I don't drink a lot of milk but on most days I drink one glass with dinner or lunch. But this seemed so sudden.  Still I decided to cut back on dairy for a few days and see what happened.

Unfortunately it happened again... and this time the culprit was rather clear.  I'd had an apple as a snack earlier in the day and being ever mindful of eating enough protein, had spread a layer of peanut butter over each half.  My mind went back a few days and I realized I'd done the same thing on that other day when the hives had also appeared.  And I don't eat a lot of peanut butter...

The hives reappeared, in lessening amounts, for the next couple of days.

I explained this to the doctor, who'd already had one of the medical students question us about allergies in the family...  confirming we have a history of bad reactions...  I'm very allergic to penicillin and sulfa.    The girls are both allergic to fragrances (scented soaps or fabric softeners) and there was Sadie's incident with flame retardants that lead to a horrible reaction that caused me to carry antihistamines in my purse for a month or two, until the car seat covers proved that they worked (I guess I'll be doing that again...). And Paul and I both have asthma, which is apparently a risk factor for children with peanut allergies.

After listening the doctor nodded and said the words I'd been hoping he wouldn't say... that it sounds to him like a peanut allergy and that with the other allergies in the family he's certainly at risk.  He said he couldn't say for sure at this point but it seems very likely (I'd been willing him to say something like:  "Oh that's crazy!  Baby's don't have peanut allergies when they're that little!  We never see that!  It's got to be something else!").

I don't think my face showed the internal freak out that was going on as I remembered working at summer camps and being showed out to use an epi-pen and hoping that I never, ever had to imitate the demonstration I'd just seen.  I haven't yet begun googling peanut allergies, but I'm still a) desperately hoping there's something else that he's allergic too and the peanut butter was just a coincidence or clinging to the hope that b) peanuts are perhaps one of those wacky allergies that some babies grow out of (after writing that last sentence I couldn't take it any more and googled and found this... and it doesn't make me feel any better.  at all.).

In fact, the more I've read since finishing the last paragraph, the more I worry... because according to each article, severe peanut allergies usually become evident in the first year of life.

Deep breath as I step away from google.  I'll be praying this is just a weird coincidence... as I empty my house of peanut products.

This should certainly make any candy eating temptations easier to avoid, since most of my favorite candies have warnings about peanuts on them...


  1. Oh dear! I hope it's something else. I don't know how much has been done on it, but I think I heard that in some cases, tiny increments of exposure to the allergen over long periods can help to build up resistance. Can't remember the name of the technique though.

  2. Go Patrick! Sounds like he is growing well!

    My friend's son had milk, egg, soy and I think peanut allergies as an infant... she had to stop nursing him because he was even allergic to her milk and wasn't gaining weight and was officially declared "failure to thrive". Happy to say he is now, I think, 3 1/2 years old and has outgrown, I believe, all his allergies. Did you ask the doctor if an infant peanut allergy can be outgrown? I know some can.

  3. Although most people think peanuts are a nut, they are in fact a legume. So, if Patrick is allergic to peanuts then he may very well also be allergic to beans and chick peas as they are also legumes. I'd be very careful about these as well. I hope they send you to an allergist when Patrick is a little bit early. Chances are he might be allergic to more than one thing.

    I don't have a food allergy but I have a life threatening allergy to stinging insects (bees, wasps, some ants, etc). I love the outdoors, but understand the risk that I take each time I venture outdoors. I always carry TWO epi-pens with me because 1 epi-pen is only good for about 15 minutes, and each following reaction is more severe within a shorter time. After an initial allergic reaction it is still possible to have reoccurring reactions for 48 hours.

  4. So sorry that you have to worry about this!


  5. The small incremental of the allergen thing is the same idea as getting allergy shorts every week which usually takes about 5 years before becoming very effective.

  6. In my family, I was allergic to eggs, my brother was allergic to peanuts, and my baby brother was allergic to grape kool-aid. We all grew out of our allergies. My oldest is allergic to bananas and the youngest to eggs. I'm hoping they too will outgrow their allergies.

  7. My granddaughter is allergic to eggs (violently so -- it causes breathing difficulties if she gets even a little bit of a baked good with eggs in it), and cashews. My daughter has had to stop eating eggs herself (because her daughter is still nursing), and the one consolation she offers herself is that at least it isn't a peanut allergy. I did see a piece of television recently that indicated that some kids are able to have peanuts carefully reintroduced when they are older. What you will become for the moment is an intense label reader (if you aren't already) because so many, many things are made in shared facilities with items that contain peanuts and for the peanut allergic it's important to avoid those items as well. So for my gd's allergic doesn't preclude shared facility items, although we're pretty careful to not buy pasta that indicates shared facilities. Interestingly, that means that at our local store I can buy the generic linguini, but not the name brand (we substitute linguini for egg noodles in tuna casserole).

    The only food allergy either of my kids ever got diagnosed with (they had tons of respiratory type allergies) was soy. My son tested positive for that at 6 after a winter of repeated ear infections. We cut the soy out of his diet for a year and were able to re-introduce it, but we've always been careful about large quantities of soy ever since. When my gd was about 2 they thought she was allergic to soy as well, so for nearly a year we avoided soy in her diet. In the current era that's a lot more difficult than it was in the '80's because soy is in so much processed food now. It just made us eat healthier and more home cooked meals and breads.

    Good luck to you, as you embark on the food allergy journey.

    BTW babies are not allergic to their mother's milk (although some doctors may blame it on that), but allergic to some element in their mother's diet. Most doctors think it's too much bother for mothers to deal with the dietary changes necessary to deal with an allergic infant and so just put the baby on formula. I have a friend who had such an allergic baby. She ended up having to go off eggs, dairy, and I believe wheat until her little girl was past a year. They were able to gradually introduce most of those, although she's since discovered that both her kids are sensitive to dairy and do better without it. I met a mom in La Leche League years ago who had a son who was so violently allergic that the mom had to go on a rice, pears, lamb, applesauce, and carrots diet. The little guy was only able to tolerate breast milk until he was a year old, then he was able to tolerate the rice, pears, lamb, applesauce and carrots. His diet consisted of those items (along with continued nursing) until he was three. Now there's a dedicated mom. I'm not sure I could have managed it myself.

  8. My firstborn had a peanut allergy, and couldn't eat peanuts or any nuts, but he outgrew it by age 6. Our allergist said if we were vigilant about keeping it away from him, there was a chance he may outgrow it. His was not severe, meaning his siblings could eat peanut butter right next to him and he was fine unless he actually ate it. I remember being very worried about it, but after dealing with it for 5 years, it really wasn't that bad. I carried an epi-pen and gave one to the school, and he learned very young to ask if anything had nuts in it.

  9. i am sorry to hear about this; but I have experienced the same thing. My son was diagnosed with allergies at age one, but he would have been diagnosed earlier if our pediatrician had sent us earlier. He was originally diagnosed with egg, garlic, and peanut allergies. By the time he was 2 years old, he had outgrown his egg allergy. Then he developed allergies to trees & grass, furry animals, yellow & green apples, brown pears, and several tree nuts. Even though peanuts are not nuts, being allergic to them does make one more likely to develop an allergy to tree nuts. Since then, he has outgrown the allergy to the garlic and brown pears; however, his animal, peanut, and tree nut continue to get worse; and he is still allergic to the yellow & green apples. He was also diagnosed with asthma around age 5. The things is, while these allergies are scary, you learn to live with them. You learn where you need to be more careful. You learn what to avoid. We read labels (and yes, you have to read them every time as recipes and processing can change), we keep nut products out of our house, we carry epi-pens. It takes a bit of learning and a lot of prayer; but it's manageable. I know how scary this possibility is; I will pray for all of you.


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