In the first few weeks of her life, Emma was a very unsettled baby who only slept about 20 minutes at a time. The only time she slept well, was after her first feed of the day, when she would sleep for about 2-3 hours. She was also not putting on much weight and her skin was red and blotchy.
After numerous plunket and doctors visits they couldnt find anything wrong with her, except for the fact that she had eczema. By four months we went to see a Dermatologist who told us it was not an allergy because she was purely breast feed and we had a family history of eczema, it was just one of those things. I get so mad when I think about all the medical professionals we saw in those first couple of years and how unhelpful they were. So we continued on doing what we had been doing, and introducing solids to our baby girl. She seemed to love food and tried all the new flavours and textures with real gusto. When I tried to wean her onto cows milk, she wouldnt have a bar of it. She didnt like eggs either, but we persevered with trying to get her to eat as much as she would, and feeling really bad that she wouldnt drink milk, coz little babies need it to grow right?
At a year old and getting fed up with our unhappy, skinny, eczema covered, non sleeping baby, we changed doctors and got a referral to Paeds at Kids First. They listened to our story and tested her for all kinds of things including Ceoliacs but although she had an elevated IeG level, eveything came back normal. They didnt do allergy testing on her, but referred us to the dieticians. That was interesting. They even encouraged me to give her peanut butter as a way to get her to put on weight. I told the dietician I was worried she might be allergic to nuts as she had vomited instantly when she had the tiniest piece of her fathers peanut butter on toast. The dietician requested to our doctor that we get her allergy tested. The doctors were less than helpful and I had to push to have her tested for peanuts, eggs and dairy. And guess what? She came back highly allergic to them all. My doctors advice was still not great, if she is eating them already, then it is okay to keep giving them to her, if not, dont start. The dietician on the other hand was of the other opinion and told us to eliminate them from her diet. Nuts were definitely a no go, and she didnt eat eggs, but she loved cheese and I was reluctant to remove it from her diet. After much negotiation, we reluctantly altered her diet and the result was almost instantaneous. The eczema from her torso cleared in a couple of days, her stomach settled down a bit, and we just stopped worrying about whether she was getting the right amount of nutrients or not.
Then our worst day happened. Heavily pregnant with number 3, I got caught up on the phone while the kids were eating lunch. Number 1 had a peanut butter sandwich. I left the room for a minute and returned when Emma started screaming. Her poor face had totally swollen up and going red and in her hands were the crusts No 1 hadnt eaten. I instantly new Emma had eaten peanut butter and this was an allergic reaction. I rang the doctor and drove her up straight away. they gave her an adrenalin injection and some antihistamine. It was frightening but she came through it. The scary thing was this was caused by just touching the nuts, I am so glad she didnt manage to swollow it or things may have been a lot worse.
This was when we decided we had to take this allergy thing seriously. We removed all nuts from our house and purchased an epipen. And that was when life with the allergy kid really began.