father’s day

Lately, nothing has gone according to plan around here. Last week, my husband was supposed to leave for campmeeting pitch Monday afternoon, and actually he did…but I called him back home (he hadn’t even arrived for his supper yet) to tell him I was taking myself to the hospital because of less than ideal pregnancy symptoms I was having. Thankfully, we have kind people in our community, and our good friends took Baby Guy on short notice (and without complaint) so I could go get checked out before the mister drove all the way back home. 

Here I must interrupt myself to relate the sad reality of motherhood vs. fatherhood (in my house at least). When my husband had said his goodbyes to Baby Guy and I earlier that afternoon-he was planning to be away for a couple of nights-our son clung to him as if to be left alone with his mother was the most horrifying and tragic thing that could be perpetrated against him. Weeping. Wailing. Gnashing of teeth. “Sad! Miss daddy!” he sobs. Fast forward two hours and I’m dropping him off with our friends (who are lovely people by the way, but who are not his mother), and he refuses to shed one tear and doesn’t even look back at me as he holds their hands and walks willingly away from me. Really?!

Anyway, everything is fine with baby-boy-to-be (and me), so I came home and we commenced preparations for campmeeting. Of course because my husband had missed so much campmeeting prep by this time we decided we’d all go together so he wouldn’t have to come back and get us. That meant that I’d be heading out a couple of days earlier than expected, and we’d be spending 11 consecutive nights in our tent.

Well, we’re 4 nights into it and I think there’s been a thunderstorm in every one of those, so far. I like camping just as much as the next girl (possibly more), but rain and camping are not my favorite combo. Yes, the pitter pat of raindrops on the tent do make for a nice sleep situation, but torrential downpours with deafening thunder and wind that periodically flattens the tent walls into your face do not. Also, please keep in mind that I am a giant pregnant lady, deep into the second trimester. My choices are dehydration or middle-of-the-night bathroom visits. The bathroom is approximately a billion feet from our tent, so the (much closer) outhouse is a necessity in these dire times. So far I have managed to only make these wee hour trips between downpours, but with 7 nights to go, time is not on my side. 

Our trusty tent does keep us dry, though, as long as we stay inside, so when we woke up this morning and the rain had stopped we became foolishly reckless. We chose to make breakfast outside. Pancakes with strawberries for Father’s Day! Here I’m just going to breeze by the awful truth that my husband made his own (as well as the rest of our) pancakes. They were delicious and we enjoyed them in spite of the sprinkles starting. However, by the time I’d begun gathering the dishes to wash, things were taking a turn. The rain was incredible and the wind was crazy. 

After pancakes, but before we fully comprehended the fury of the wind and rain.


In no time, my right pant leg was soaked and my left was beginning to follow suit. My husband was drenched and it was all we could do to keep our little boy from getting soaked too. I decided to go for the van, which we’d parked away from our campsite just in case we’d needed to leave the grounds on Sabbath. As I was walking the short distance down the road, a car came barreling through the huge puddle I was slogging through and left me dripping with mud all the way down my left side. I will admit to feeling some road rage as the car continued on its merry way without a look back. I wallowed in my misery as only a persecuted noticeably pregnant woman in a bright red raincoat (read highly visible to oncoming traffic) could. 

I drove up to the campsite where my husband buckled the boy in, grabbed the ever present potty bag, and hopped in the passenger seat. We escaped to a nearby Target, wherein mama got a brand new pair of maternity pants (and the dressing room attendant wrote me a note to give the cashier, explaining that I’d be wearing the new pants out of the store because my “original pants were wet.” I had a brief internal struggle with the ignominy of that incomplete and suggestive phrasing, but I let it go. 

Now dry and itching to celebrate, we headed to the grocery store to buy lunch fixings for our son, having neglected to bring any of his food with us when we made our break for it. Then, after a little walk around town we went out for some Chinese food, which I passed off as the Father’s Day gift for my man (since I’d gone to the hospital instead of shopping for Father’s Day while he was gone). 

If you ignore the fact that we came home to a mudpit and a wind that kept blowing our tent vestibule and cooking shelter down, it was a very nice day. 

My husband says he had a great Father’s Day, and I have to believe him, even though it was terrible in so many ways. I had a wonderful time with our little family this morning, and what makes my husband such a great dad is that he just loves spending time with our little boy, even if it means entertaining him in Target while I try on pants or carrying Baby Guy in one arm and pounding tent stakes down with the other because he’s too much of a softy to ignore the plaintive “hold you!” demands of our son. 

I’m blessed to have married a great dad. Happy Father’s Day to my little boy’s hero. We love you, Mister! Maybe next year we’ll get you a gift. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

potty time

Alright, here’s the thing: thanks to the lovely first trimester I had, I’m still running at least 3 months behind on everything, so writing life updates hasn’t been at the top of the priority list lately. I’ll try to catch you up briefly, but I can’t make any promises.

On the FPIES front, Baby Guy is doing well. We’ve just finished a 14 day trial of almond butter, and he has passed almonds (we think…the GI will make the final call on that pretty soon), which means that ditching formula for homemade almond milk is on the horizon! Assuming he will drink this almond milk, we’re thinking it will be a real win for the grocery budget.

The boy’s vocabulary has exploded, and although I had almost despaired of him ever learning his colors, he has made great progress in this area in the past week or so. He can count to eleven, and is beginning to recognize his favorite letters on signs all over town.

The big thing, though, is that about six (maybe seven now?) weeks ago-right around the eighteen month mark-Baby Guy decided he wanted to start using the potty instead of diapers.

He was really serious.

At first, we just sort of gave him opportunities to use the toilet in between diapers, but he began protesting diapers more often, so when we were at home I’d let him run around with no diaper on and he was pretty consistently using the toilet (with frequent reminders) and a few accidents here and there. I’d put a diaper on him anytime we’d leave the house and of course during nap and bed times (and anytime he wanted one). He wanted underwear pretty desperately, so I started putting a cotton prefold on him with no diaper cover once in awhile. It was the best I could do because training pants generally don’t come smaller than 2T, and my son’s waist and hips are not even close to 2T.

One day, about 2 weeks in, I got brave and took him to the store (right here in town) with no diaper on. I did stick a prefold under him in the carseat, just for a little bit of insurance, but we were out of the house successfully for about 30 minutes with no accident, so I started to get even braver. I bought an inexpensive toilet seat topper so that we could set him on the potty without fear of him falling in, and he loved it. We started taking it everywhere, and I quit forcing him to put a diaper on whenever we left the house. I gave him a choice every time, and just tried to trust him to tell me if he had to go.

I found some relatively inexpensive underwear on Amazon that actually fit a tiny little person like my son (I ordered the 6-12 month size, no joke). They’re nothing fancy, but he is so proud to wear them and they’re pretty adorable.

Honestly, about 2-3 weeks in he was successful even outside of the house almost all the time. He didn’t like public bathrooms at all, because they are “yowd.” But I could usually distract him from the loudness by getting him to count the tiles on the bathroom floors or something or other, and he’d get through it usually. There were a few times he was just too scared of the public toilets (even with his special seat topper), and he asked me to just put on his diaper instead, so I did. We figured that there’s no reason to force an eighteen month old to use the restroom constantly if he wasn’t comfortable doing so.

About 3-4 weeks in, he started choosing underwear instead of diapers for nap time, just once in awhile at first, and then every day.

Now, the only time he wears a diaper is overnight, and it’s dry in the morning more often than not. So far, we’ve never had a naptime accident, and we spent all day Monday out and about in Grand Rapids with no changes of clothes necessary.

I have read about a bajillion things about potty training at 18-19 months, and some people say it’s a horrible thing to do to your child and will lead to a certain horrible future of chronic constipation and constant UTIs, but please rest easy–we have not potty trained baby guy. This was his idea and we are pretty much letting him tell us what he’s comfortable with. Also, I consulted his GI about it and the good doctor assured me that my son was not being harmed in any way by this gentle “method” (if you can even call it that) of potty learning. He also assured me that regression is not out of the question, especially once baby number two makes an appearance.

This new stage has its pros and cons, of course. Onesies are not as convenient now that he’s in underwear, so we’re increasing our stash of toddler t-shirts for the summer. I’ve pretty much ditched the diaper bag in favor of the “potty bag” (a large wet/dry bag that I store the potty seat and extra clothes and snacks in). I have to always have an idea where the nearest bathroom is, or be willing to plop the potty seat out on the side of the road if there’s not a restroom handy. We have campmeeting soon, as well as some road trips that will be exciting, I’m sure. But, I no longer have to seek out changing tables, and instead of washing a load of diapers every other day, I can do it once a week (and only that often because I don’t want to wait longer than that). The dirty diapers we do get are only ever wet…I haven’t had a poopy diaper since the first week he tried the potty. That’s good enough for me. My biggest challenge at this point is finding pants that are long enough and will stay up around his teeny tiny waist without the aid of a diaper. Seriously guys, he’s wearing his 6 month shorts from last summer.

Just out mowing in his 6 month size shorts…


We are not discounting the possibility of the boy losing interest or just plain old regressing, but for now we’re basically diaper-free and loving it.

Posted in Cloth Diapers, FPIES, Potty Training | Tagged | 1 Comment

you say cookie, I say bread

This morning my husband made my son one of our tried and true breakfast recipes for him: banana blueberry fritters. Baby Guy loves these things, and lately he’s been rebelling against his daily oatmeal regimen, so we’re shaking things up a little. Unfortunately, in the month or two that we have exclusively breakfasting our little man on oats, he has apparently lost his taste for banana fritters, so the giant bowl of batter we thought would take us through a few breakfasts looked like it would be going to waste.

Until, that is, I thought of the brilliant idea of turning it into banana blueberry bread. I mean, Baby Guy will eat anything bready. He loves muffins, biscuits, naan, pizza dough, pancakes, and (obviously) bread. So I whipped up a loaf of quick bread this afternoon and it was all ready when suppertime came and my husband walked through the door.

Baby Guy drawing as I bake

He asked me what the bread was, and I told him. I did make a disclaimer about it not tasting like my usual banana bread because I’d decreased the amount of sugar in the recipe (yeah, I’m that kind of mom). Then, after he tasted it, I remembered that I’d also replaced half of the all purpose flour in the recipe with white whole wheat (not because I’m that kind of mom–I am–but because I was too lazy to open the brand new bag of all purpose flour that I’d gone out to buy this morning). I confessed my whole wheat flourings to my long-suffering husband, who assured me that the bread was good, though more “healthy granola” than my typical banana bread. He was eating a second piece at the time, so I believe that he enjoyed it even if you don’t.Upon further reflection, I have realized that I neglected to mention a number of other modifications I made to the recipe, which include using ground flaxseed and water instead of egg (Baby Guy can’t eat eggs, if you’ll recall), and subbing coconut oil in for vegetable oil (soybeans are in everything). Plus, this batch has blueberries in it (but I’m thinking he realized that without me having to say so).

All in all, the recipe is fairly unrecognizable, and I guess it’s just a hazard of being a healthy granola FPIES mom.

Now it’s confession time: My son ate the bread during supper with great gusto. The only thing that made me feel a little sorry for him was the fact that, although I kept correcting him, he insisted on referring to his bread as a ‘cookie.’ This sent me on a little bit of a guilt trip because on this very morning I received a package from my own mother with a real life chocolate chip cookie perfectly unsullied by flax, whole wheat, or any coconut products at all whatsoever, which I ate while the little man was napping. It was awesome, and what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right?

And tomorrow I’ll be happy to feed him another ‘cookie’ for breakfast.

Posted in FPIES | Tagged , | Leave a comment

in which she gets off the couch

Today I rejoined the land of the living. I’m hesitant to say that this is a permanent change, because after a day of light to moderate activity I am feeling pretty tuckered. But, it was definitely the best I’ve felt in a long time.

I went to two stores today. Two!

I went to the school today to talk to people, and I stood up while holding my son for a whole one of the conversations!

I didn’t take a nap when Baby Guy did, because I was working on stuff. This, admittedly, was all work done on the computer, so I didn’t technically have to move anything except my eyeballs and my fingers, but still. I stayed awake and accomplished something so it counts.
It’s good that I’m at least beginning to make my recovery from morning sickness doom, because my son is gaining energy exponentially every day, I think. He runs, he spins, he carries laundry from one place to another, and though he is pretty snuggly (a fact for which I am truly thankful), he doesn’t settle in for long term cuddles unless I’m reading (we did 192 pages straight on Monday morning!). In short, he is a normally functioning toddler who requires that his mother move from place to place and it would be best if I got with the program sooner rather than later.

In other toddler news: Baby Guy is starting to feel heavier (which may just mean I’ve lost muscle mass in my recent decline). I’d like to think, though, that he’s actually gaining weight, as he’s been eating very well and sleeping quite well, too.

As far as FPIES goes, we trialed eggs with him again, since before his diagnosis we’d tried them too close together with other new things, and weren’t sure which food/s he was reacting to. Though he didn’t have any typical FPIES reaction to the eggs, he did develop a horrible diaper rash–think open sores–a couple of days after we started trialing them. Consulting with the allergist about it (and with other FPIES families in the Facebook group I’m in) led us to quit eggs (again). Just like that, Baby Guy is back to being vegan, but he doesn’t seem to mind.

We healed up the rash as well as gave his little belly time to heal, and then we started our peanut butter trial just last week. This time we made it almost a week, but his diapers were getting grosser and then the open sores appeared again, so peanut butter is off the list, too. This wasn’t horribly shocking, since he’s reacted to multiple legumes already, but it was pretty sad to lose both eggs and peanut butter as protein sources for our little soy and dairy-free vegetarian boy. It’s been a few days since we cut out the peanut butter and his little buns are looking better already, so once that rash is gone we’ll give him a full week to heal his intestines and then we’ll probably move on to almonds. It’s pretty important to me to find a versatile protein as soon as we can because, as awesome as it is to feel like a protein ninja, adding secret flaxseed to everything the poor child eats is probably not going to cut it for his entire childhood. Plus, it would be nice if he could drink something other than $39 cans of formula.

So, my heart is a tiny bit broken over Baby Guy missing out on these new foods, especially peanut butter, since he LOVES it. But, that little bit of sadness is nothing compared to the joy the kid brings almost every single waking moment. He doesn’t ever complain about not being able to eat things, so that helps. And he has taken to loudly proclaiming, “YUM, NUM, NUM!!” when he’s eating something he particularly enjoys (naan, “pizza”, anything with blueberries). It’s awesome. He’s also repeating after us to say prayers now, which is a whole new level of amazing. The other day he even started adding in his own stuff, making sure we pray for him to be “friendly,” which is of great concern to him lately. He says “I love you” back to us when we say it now, too. And, tonight when I asked him his memory verse during family worship time he told me “obey,” which obviously isn’t the whole thing, but he definitely got the main idea. It helps that the lesson for this month is about David, who is Baby Guy’s greatest hero (after Daddy).

Anyway, my mama heart is full tonight. I’m thankful for a better day. I’m thankful for my precious boy. And I’m thankful for a Sabbath to enjoy God, family, friends, and endless renditions of “Only a Boy Named David.”

Posted in Allergies, FPIES, Morning Sickness, Pregnancy | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

the first trimester is not my friend

You may notice that no photographs accompany this post. Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, I know, but I’m going to paint you a word picture that will help you to understand why under no circumstances, a current photograph of me should be featured anywhere.

I’m pregnant, and my excuses for being delinquent in my posts all boil down to one main issue: so-called “morning” sickness has, once again, taken over my body. This happened when I was pregnant with Baby Guy, but I think it’s even worse this time. I have learned (for sure this time) that the first trimester is not my friend.

A couple of years ago when I first found out I was pregnant, I was pretty naive about the whole morning sickness thing. I knew there was a good chance I would have it, but I didn’t have a firm grasp on what it might entail. I honestly thought I’d wake up queasy, throw up a few times before lunch, and need to avoid strong odors for a couple of weeks. Well, on the first day of week 6 (ah, I remember it well) I discovered that 24 hours of nausea and extreme sensitivity to any odors was the real deal for me. Unfortunately I was teaching at the time, and by lunchtime I was so miserable that I placed a call to my midwife/OB team begging them for help. Yes, I lasted approximately 6 hours before resorting to professional assistance. My husband, being the good man that he is went out immediately and purchased all of the items they’d suggested might help me: Altoids, a B6 supplement and Unisom. He delivered the Altoids promptly to my classroom, where I downed them semi-continuously for as long as there were any left in the tin.

I went home that afternoon, took the Unisom and B6 (which you should not do unless your health provider advises you to do, by the way), and succumbed to blessed relief in the form of an almost comatose nap.

For the next two months I ate my food cold because the smell of anything was too much when it was hot. I took Unisom after work and during the night and went without it during the day because…you know…teaching stuff requires brain function. I avoided my computer screen as much as possible because it made me nauseous to read from it. I couldn’t watch my students walk across the room because it made me queasy to view that much movement. I banned hand sanitizer, chapstick, lotion, perfume, air freshener, cologne, and breath fresheners (Altoids excepted) first from my classroom, and then even from the hallways if students were planning to come to my classroom within the next period or two. I ate saltines and string cheese fairly steadily to keep my stomach from being too empty. I couldn’t drink water (it made me so nauseous), so I drank Ocean Spray white grapefruit juice exclusively for months.

I didn’t cook or clean because those chores just involve way too many smells. I couldn’t wear freshly laundered clothes until the detergent odor had faded, and I couldn’t be near my husband after he showered because his shampoo was too smelly. My own shampoo made me feel awful, too.

It was pretty bad.

Eventually it ended, the second trimester wasn’t bad; I became enormous, I redeveloped my love of mealtimes, and a few months later I had a happy, healthy little boy.

And then we thought, “Let’s have another!”

So the day after I found out I was pregnant with baby number two, baby numero uno came down with a stomach bug, followed by my husband, followed by two weeks of relatively good health, followed by Baby Guy coming down with the stomach bug AGAIN, but worse this time…while my mom and dad were here…and then I got it. My dad took it back home with him, and my mom extended her stay because she got taken out too. I didn’t get out of bed (and I use the term ‘bed’ loosely…it was really a sleeping pad on the floor of the family room) for 3 days. I was fairly certain I would never recover, and it turns out that I was kind of right because I’ve been nauseous ever since.

That was 2 months ago.

I’m off water still, so basically the only thing I drink is sparkling water with lime juice. White grapefruit juice just isn’t doing it for me this time, and nothing else sounds too good. The sparkling water with lime doesn’t feel awesome, but I can at least stave off dehydration with it, so it’s the beverage of choice this time around. I did about a month and a half of eating nachos almost exclusively. Right now I’m on a grilled cheese kick. It’s not that these foods make me feel especially good, it’s just that the idea of eating them makes me feel less like crying than any other foods. I can also handle soy empanadas, but those are a food truck commodity around here, and not available on a daily basis.

Let me just tell you that with my tendency to extensively read about issues that affect me, I have come across some truly terrible morning sickness remedies. There was one blog I read about a lady who swore by her trusty diet of liver to save her from this scourge of early pregnancy. I am not quite there. My vegetarianism has remained intact.

There are also reasonable remedies that are compatible with my vegetarian lifestyle, (like ginger tea) but I have rejected most of them this time because everything. sounds. awful.

Here’s what does (at least sort of) work for me this time around:

  • Pineapple Outshine bars help me feel better, to a modest extent.
  • Sleeping. Oh yes, sleep is sweet relief, and really the only thing that actually works.
  • Minty chewing gum (not spearmint, because I think that’s gross even on a good day) helps me get through a tough spot, but only works for a few minutes
  • Chimes ginger chews (they work while you’re chewing them…no more and no less)
  • My hero husband, who cooks everything that gets cooked around here, because he can handle the odors of heated food, unlike his trophy wife. He also takes Baby Guy off my hands as frequently as he is able so I can take a nap and forget my misery for awhile.

I am using Unisom once a day (again, with my doctor’s recommendation), before I go to bed in the evening, which helps me get a good night’s sleep, but it really doesn’t seem to control the nausea this time around other than to help me be drowsy enough to sleep through it. I was prescribed another medication for nausea which I’ve tried a couple of times, but it also seems to only help as far as it puts me to sleep. Once I wake up, even if it’s still in my system, the nausea doesn’t seem any better, so I haven’t been using the prescription.

A couple of weeks ago Baby Guy and I were home alone when I felt the strong urge to heave. I ran to the bathroom and didn’t feel I had the luxury of time to close the door behind me. Before I knew it, Baby Guy was there, standing over the toilet with me, peering in to see what was so interesting to me in there. I heaved, which he found to be incredibly delightful. He laughed and smiled at me as I came up for air, and when I went for it again, he joined me, making the best disgusting sounds he could muster and beaming proudly when we both looked up again. This lasted for 2-3 minutes until I could recover enough to get us both out of there. It was probably the most fun he’s had with me in ages.

Since then, he has stayed outside the bathroom when I’m in there (for the most part), but often claps, laughs, and says, “More! More!” when I am in the throes of agony. I don’t know if it helps, exactly, but it does give me something to laugh about later. I mean, there’s nothing quite like the feeling that your toddler thinks you’re awesome because you can make gross vomit sounds on a regular basis.

It’s only a matter of days before the second trimester will officially begin, and I’m praying that relief will come with it. If not, you can expect to hear from me sometime next January when I expect I will emerge from the fourth trimester quite scathed but hopefully triumphant (or at least alive).

Posted in Morning Sickness, Pregnancy | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

an update…a little late

*I wrote this post two months ago. Yes. two months ago. I have excuses, but I’ll tell you what they are in the next one. I will not wait two more months. I promise.

Here’s the update, circa January 24:

Other than the FPIES diagnosis and all of our holiday travels, a lot has changed lately. Baby Guy is making strides (literally and figuratively) at a rate that is alarming to his tired and not-so-young-anymore mama.

_BJM8400

Helping his mama get some potatoes ready for the oven

Really, though, it’s thrilling to witness his rapid development. He’s walking and running all over the place these days: climbing into his little rocking chair by himself, pulling stuff off the counters and dining room table, helping himself to bowls from the cupboard and stirring his magnets in them, and spreading his books all over the floor in order to choose just the right one.

He’s taller and oh-so-skinny, his hair is growing like crazy (we’re going to have to give him haircut #2 pretty soon), and this very morning he told me when he was going potty in his diaper. I was not expecting him to be aware of that so soon, and my small flame of hope for an early potty training has been fanned.

Baby Guy, thanks to his Sabbath school lessons (which we read an average of about 3 times per day when he gets his way), has been completely convinced that he needs to be a helper like Samuel and Little Jesus were, so he spends a lot of time going around saying, “huppa, huppa, huppa!” and trying to sweep, carrying newly folded laundry from one place to another, and once even went to get me the dust pan (unbidden) when I was “feep”-ing the floor the other day. He has also been asking us to pray dozens of times each day, and has taken to loudly proclaiming “Ah-muh” at the end of each prayer. Add to that the repeated requests for the Zacchaeus and David songs at each diaper change, and you can see why I suspect we might have a second preacher man in the house.

Music is another of the little guy’s loves, whether it is his dad’s record player, the xylophone on his activity table (technically I think it’s a glockenspiel), his kazoo and cymbals, or his little toy piano. He still loves it when we sing to him, and is pretty enthralled with the music at church, too. Also, any pictures of musical instruments in his books get a lot of attention, with shouts of “muu! muu!”

One relatively new thing that Baby Guy’s been doing is pretending. It started before Christmas, when we caught him pretending to water the tree like he’d seen me doing the night before. He also holds the remote control for our nonexistent dvd player between his ear and shoulder and chatters away to us on the “fofe.” That usually means that he’s handed one of us his actual play phone so the two of us can converse.

We’re making minimal progress on identifying shapes, colors, and letters. He’s got stars down (they’re in the nativity story…he also learned sheep, donkey, and baby from all of our Christmas books), but the others are all questionable. He’s pretty fantastic with identifying animals and objects in his books, though, and he can make quite a few animal sounds. I may never forgive Sandra Boynton for writing Moo, Baa, La La La, because I’m pretty sure that my son is going to believe that pigs say “la, la, la” for the rest of his life. I cannot convince that kid to oink to save my life.

Being the teacher that I am, I made a list of the words he regularly attempted and how he pronounced them at the 15 month mark, and there were more than I would have guessed! His pronunciation of most of these words leaves something to be desired, but he uses them consistently and I can tell (with contextual hints) what he’s talking about.

Baby Guy’s been sleeping like a champ, though we think he’s on the verge of dropping his morning nap. He’s been growing and playing and having a great time giving us a run for our money.

After my last post I thought it would be good to note that it hasn’t all been diaper changes and allergies over here, we’ve been having some fun, too!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 3 Comments

a slice of fpies

If you’ve been following my little family’s story, you know that my little guy has struggled with food allergies from almost the very beginning. He reacted to foods I was eating well before he was ingesting anything other than breast milk. He had intestinal reactions, including bloody, mucous-filled diapers and developed eczema all over his torso.

I decided (and ran it by the pediatrician) to cut dairy products from my diet, which really didn’t change much. So, next I eliminated soy, and we saw a GI who recommended we keep eliminating the top 8 allergens, one at a time, until Baby Guy’s symptoms went away.


*I’ve interspersed links to a few older posts from the beginning parts of this journey, in case you are interested in the earlier part of our story and haven’t read it before.


Getting rid of dairy, soy, and wheat solved the eczema, but nothing else. Since his diapers were looking worse and worse, we did stool testing, which didn’t give us much help, other than to rule out infections and a couple of other possible issues.

Anyway, because of the symptoms worsening, the GI advised me to stop breastfeeding and put the little guy on a hydrolyzed formula (Nutramigen). Transitioning from breast milk to formula was harrowing for a few days, but we made it through and eventually had success with the bottle.

Once Baby Guy was drinking his formula and all of the breast milk was out of his system, he started sleeping a bit better, his intestinal bleeding stopped, and things looked up for the most part. However, he started having terrible yeast diaper rashes.

Then, starting solids at 6 months didn’t go very smoothly, as Baby Guy refused to eat almost everything for weeks, even months. Then, once he actually did start eating better, he started in with the mystery hives.

After about 2 months of hives, we figured out that green peas were the culprits, so we eliminated them from Baby Guy’s diet, and he’s been free of that affliction ever since.

At 12 months, Baby Guy had blood allergy testing done, and they all came back negative. I felt like a crazy person. Thankfully, our pediatrician listens to us, and she referred us to an allergist, and just after Thanksgiving, we were able to see him. He confirmed the decision we’d made to discontinue Baby Guy’s dairy, peanut butter, and egg ingestion (we’d added those on the advice of a nutritionist, and hadn’t seen dramatic issues, but little things had started to change for the worse), and gave us an answer.

FPIES.

It’s pronounced F-Pies, and stands for food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome. It’s a rare type of allergy (though becoming less rare all the time) that doesn’t usually show up in either skin or blood tests. In fact, there is no test that can confirm FPIES, so food challenges are the best way to determine whether a child has it. Most kids grow out of FPIES by the age of 4, but not all.

My son does not have an extreme case of FPIES, by any means. The symptoms he’s shown are very mild compared to a typical case, which is part of the reason why, though I’d read about FPIES a million times in my late night research frenzies, I never seriously thought he had it. A typical FPIES reaction occurs from 2-6 hours after ingestion of a trigger food. Profuse vomiting (to the point of shock, in many cases), a drop in body temperature, high white blood cell count, and often diarrhea are all part of what is called an acute reaction.

Baby Guy has never had an acute reaction (for which I am unendingly thankful). His are referred to as chronic reactions, which involve diarrhea, sleep disturbances, intestinal bleeding, and poor weight gain. A lot of chronic reactions also involve some vomiting, but we haven’t had that problem.

So, as you can imagine, an FPIES diagnosis was a lot to wrap our minds around, but I’m going to be honest and tell you that I was a bit relieved that I wasn’t insane and imagining everything. The allergist was so kind and reassuring about the steps we’d taken throughout Baby Guy’s babyhood to feed him successfully, and he was and has continued to be so very helpful and patient with me, taking time to answer all of my questions.

There’s a lot more to say on this subject, and I’ll be writing more about it soon. I am so far from being an expert, or even moderately knowledgeable about FPIES, but I’m learning more each day, and I hope sharing our story might help another mom or dad who’s up at all hours googling symptoms and getting nowhere.

img_4721

Baby Guy stirring up some safe food cookies (and tasting them a little)

For us, FPIES isn’t something we have to focus on 100% of the time, because Baby Guy’s case isn’t extreme, and he’s never had a life-threatening reaction. For too many families, though, life-threatening reactions are a constant worry. Thanks for reading my very long post, and if you would, please include families who are living with FPIES in your thoughts and prayers.

Posted in Allergies, FPIES | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments