Monday, November 2, 2009

Got Milk part 2 (belated)

So, months and months ago, I wrote about our discovery that Kelly was allergic to milk. She had been cranky and crying, unable to sleep, etc. I mentioned that she was doing much better after the diagnosis, and she was indeed. What I didn't feel like delving into at that point was a discussion of the continued weight issues.

Kelly was a "chunky monkey", weighing about 8 lbs at birth, which was 1 1/2 lbs heavier than Ally. She was a barracuda of a nurser at first, which was excruciating for me, but she gained great! We were thrilled, because we had all kinds of weight gain issues with Ally. I was so thankful that we didn't have that problem this time around. Umm, maybe I said that too soon! She had not gained much weight (about 8 ounces) between the allergy diagnosis and her next checkup (maybe 2-3 weeks), but the allergist wasn't concerned. He said that the milk was still working its way out of her system, and that my milk supply was adjusting. For reference, at that age she should have been gaining 1/2 to 1 ounce a day.

We still had a lot of crying, and it wasn't just Kelly! I was starving! Not literally of course, because I was eating and trying to eat well. But watching two kids and dealing with a limited amount of time and food options was quickly wearing on me, both physically and emotionally. I was becoming cranky from the deprivation of "good" food, and was constantly trying to find something filling to eat. No offense to any vegetarians/vegans, but the soy stuff just doesn't cut it for me. Adding to that was the very unhappy baby who would not sleep anyway but with Mike or I.

I finally took her back to the doctor February 3rd because of the increased fussiness (OMG--I couldn't take it anymore!!!!) and lack of sleep. At that visit, she weighed only 13 lbs 5oz, which was a gain of only 14 ounces since December 19th. I was terrified by that number. I was afraid that they were to have to hospitalize her to "pump her up"!

I pretty much lost it with the dr. I explained that I was at my wits end and didn't know what else to do. I felt that I had done all that I could with regards to breastfeeding her a milk-free diet and since she would not take a bottle, that I didn't know what else to do. The dr informed me that some babies can still be irritated by breastmilk from a milk-free diet just by the fact that human milk has lactose in it. So she suggested that I completely wean Kelly to formula. We decided on Alimentum, since many babies who are allergic to milk are also allergic to soy. She also suggested that we have a RAST performed--basically a blood test for food allergies.

I feared the next few days, since she had always fought the bottle. I nursed her at lunch, and then planned a bottle for the evening. Mike and I decided to run out and get the bloodwork done after picking up Ally from preschool. We knew they were forecasting a little bit of snow, but not a big deal. Boy, were the forecasters wrong on that one! It was a holy mess. Accidents, stop-and-go traffic, insanity. We sat at a light trying to get to the hospital for 30 minutes! We honestly thought about walking--it would have been faster except for the possible falls! It took well over an hour to get there (should have taken 20 minutes) and those scenarios are why I keep nutrigrain bars and fruit snacks in the diaper bag. We were all hungry, so they came in handy! We actually were thankful for the hospital cafeteria, so we didn't have to go back out in the snow to eat. You know things are bad when you are looking forward to hospital food! :o)
Kelly handled the bloodwork as well as could be expected, and Ally was a great help in distracting her. I wound up nursing her that night in the cafeteria, since I hadn't had a chance to buy new bottles or formula. It was not the sweet bonding moment that I wanted for my last nursing session with Kelly. I was trying to be discreet while 2 teenage boys were at a booth right near us! Horribly uncomfortable and worried about getting home safely.

On a "thank goodness" note, Kelly didn't fight the abrupt change to bottles at all. She took them pretty well for me, right away. Maybe the formula settled better in her belly and she was grateful! And of course, I appreciated not being the only meal ticket in town at night--ha!

1 comment:

Kelsey said...

Good grief it sounds like you've really been through it. If you ever need to communicate (commiserate?) about food allergy stuff, you have my email!