Our trip to the ER

Introducing new flavours and textures to Scout’s diet has been a lot of fun. Even though I have been relatively cautious, the only bad reaction we had up until this point was vomiting brought on by bananas and when I added peas to her pureed squash. Other than that, she has been able to stomach a variety of fruit and vegetables, having had chicken and some mild spices added to her meals about a week ago. I trusted the journey and felt that it may be time to add a harder textured food as we move towards Scout being able to feed herself. She is two weeks away from turning seven months old and has already started grabbing the spoon when it approaches her mouth, all healthy signs (as I have read) that she is on track with her feeding habits. We’d given her a teaspoon of yoghurt to try dairy and it had gone well and so my decision to scramble an egg, which is part of the recipes in the Weaning Sense book that I have been using, was not only an attempt at another allergen but also quite exciting as it would be a new texture for her to try.

I scrambled a whole egg in a dry pan and sat Scout down, choosing to feed her with my fingers to help manage the new food. Of course I knew that egg was an allergen and, like any mom who reads before trying something new, I was aware that she may have a reaction but most articles say to watch out for a mild to moderate reaction and they seem to indicate that there will be a considerable amount of time to monitor your little one while looking out for allergy symptoms. I did not imagine that my child would actually be allergic to eggs (or I would not have given it to her) and proceeded, cautiously while expecting the best. And, if I am honest, I felt that I’d been really pedantic about many things in the past that had turned out fine, so I was not afraid to introduce this new food to my little poppet in hopes that it would go according to plan. As murphy would have it, however, my child would have a serious reaction that needed us to rush to the Emergency Room less ten minutes after the new feed.

I’d fed Scout less than a teaspoon amount of scrambled egg and observed a little bit of redness on her upper chin. I proceeded to breastfeed her (as I often do after a thicker or firmer texture to help get the food down) and noticed that she’s broken out in hives after the two-minute feed. She started crying and scratching beneath her chin, clear signs that she was uncomfortable. Showered, but not dressed, I said to Wes that I think it would be best if we took her to the pharmacy to have them examine her. Not only had I gotten dressed in record time but I grabbed her travel bag without checking for simple things, like a blanket or a change of clothing. The idea to take her to the pharmacy flew out the window as soon as we had gotten into the car, when I noticed that her face began swelling and her right eye began to puff up and close. Wes got a fright when he turned back to look at her and I eventually urged him to put on his hazards so that we could make our way through the Saturday afternoon traffic. I also called the hospital to say that my child was having an allergic reaction to food and they, thankfully, had a nurse waiting on our arrival who lead us straight through to the Trauma Unit where Scout would be examined.

[I have never been so grateful to live close to a hospital and, later, would wonder what mothers without access to immediate health care or transportation would do in a moment of an emergency.]

It all sounds so frantic and rushed and that is because it was. It took around 15 minutes for her face to swell and about 25 minutes after the start of her feed we were being taken care of. Thankfully, her airways had stayed open, which is what I kept listening for in the car, to tell if she was still breathing. I kept watching her mouth and cheeks for any signs of them turning blue but it was only the swelling that had gotten worse. At the hospital I was asked to remove her clothing and saw, then, that her body had broken out in a rash and that she was red from head to toe. The doctor on duty was a little unkind in her questioning where she implied that it was too soon for Scout to have had the egg but when I heard her on the telephone with my Paediatrician I heard that my decision to introduce the food was more than okay. There will always be a chance that your child may react badly to something new. We were kept for two hours so that they could observe her and Scout was given steroids and Allergex to manage the reaction. I was happy that we could go home (especially during the pandemic that is Covid-19) but I will tell you that I barely slept that night, waking often to check that she was breathing and that she was fine.

It took an entire day for the swelling to go down and on Sunday Scout was very cranky, only wanting her mom for comfort and she breasted twice as much as she usually does; it was my first real encounter with a sick child and by the end of the weekend I was exhausted!

The nervy part about it all is that I will need to try egg sometime in the future again. I joked and said that I am willing to pay a consultation fee and feed it to her at the doctor’s rooms! Funny as it is, I am ‘poep’ scared to try another allergen because the entire episode was really traumatising. I have not said much about Wes in this post and it is because he did his best to remain calm, even though he felt really panicked, too. He always says that it does not help having two stressed out parents and so he tries to remain calm for us and, in hind sight, I really appreciate his cool-headed approach. Not that I was screaming but it was enough to have me warm all over with anxiety.

Post our episode I have packed an emergency bag for Scout and I to be better prepared in case of an emergency. I have also stopped eating egg (as I am breastfeeding) and have noticed that the persistent rash under her chin has disappeared. We will be in contact with the paediatrician to discuss a way forward with feeding and introducing allergens; I am so thankful to have access to healthcare an really believe it is vital for every mom ad person in our country. I pray that our leaders can improve our healthcare system so that all moms can have peace of mind about their child’s health and well-being.

As a final word, I am so grateful to have amazing support in our parents, my friends and our extended family. They took care to check in on us throughout the weekend and I miss them more than ever because they are amazing aunts, uncles and grandparents to Scout despite not having seen her for months (with the exception of our parents who look after her while I am at work).

It was an eventful weekend, indeed! Have you had a similar experience?

Until my next post,

Bronny xx

9 Comments

  1. Tracy Vermeulen
    July 28, 2020 / 12:05 pm

    Hi,

    So my 7 week old also had an intense allergic reaction to my breastmilk about 4 weeks ago. Turns out she’s allergic to egg, wheat and dairy! So I’ve had to cut that out completely. My 4 year old son never reacted to anything whilst growing up besides mosquito bites!

    One thing I’ve learnt is if you want to test ANYTHING under the sun be it food or creams etc, the inside of their elbow, it’s the most sensitive area on their body. Place whatever there and wait. If she’s allergic, you’ll know immediately from this area. Also, to avoid the ER as the drs there don’t specialize in small children, always try new foods during the daytime and during the week when you can reach your paed.

    It’s never fun having a sick child or rushing to the ER (I’ve had a few trips with my son when he was 6 months plus).

    Just know, it’s all about being a mom, you learn something new every day ❤️

  2. Yoemna
    July 28, 2020 / 2:21 pm

    OMG I felt the trauma as I was reading this.thanks goodness your little precious girl is ok and back home safely and well taken care of. Thanks for sharing …I’m packing an emergency bag too and hopefully won’t need it anytime…. but best to be prepared ✌️🙏good luck going forward, your doing so well.

    • bronwyn
      Author
      August 4, 2020 / 5:50 am

      Thank you, Yoemna!
      We definitely need to be a little more prepared for emergencies.
      And thank you for the well wishes.
      Take care of your family.
      Bronny

  3. Landi Butler
    July 28, 2020 / 5:53 pm

    Wow thank you so much for sharing. I can only imagine how you felt in that moment and even after. I have a 5 month old and her getting sick or having an emergency is so scary for me. Will definitely also get an emergency bag ready.
    Love your blogs, I always learn something from it.

    • bronwyn
      Author
      August 4, 2020 / 5:49 am

      Thank you, Landi!
      And yes, we can always learn from one another. Hope you lacked that bag, mine still needs more attention to have a little more than the basics in there.
      Bronny

  4. Micaela Inderjith
    July 28, 2020 / 6:16 pm

    Wow Mommy,…

    I know exactly how you felt and what you went through.
    When my daughter was just 3 months old and I had been back at work, 1 particular afternoon we decided to give formula a try while I was at work. At the time I had just started my pumping journey and was not educated enough and so did not have an adequate stash for her. Thank God it was my mum who was looking after her for that week and tried out just 60ml of Infacare formula and within 10 minutes I had received a picture of my little girl with a swollen eye and hives all over her body. Rushed home and then to the emergency room for her to be given steroids and allergy medication. It also took all afternoon for the swelling and rash to go down. Thankfully like Scout my little ones airways were still opened. But to see her in such agony was terrible. We were sent home and told she had an extreme cows milk allergy and to exclusively breastfeed with me cutting out all dairy. I become so obsessive and stressed out that nothing helped with my supply and it dipped to an extent I could not come back from. Emotionally and mentally I was so afraid of everything I ate and of everything we had in our home that was made of cows milk. After a few months we decided to go into hospital for a few days to start trying out different formulas to ensure that she did not have any other reactions. I promise you that going in and staying in hospital for a good week to try out the spy formula was the best decision I made. Our pead actually recommended we do that due to how bad her reaction was. Thankfully she had no reaction to the soy milk and I made sure to eliminate cows milk from our diets at home as much as possible. I also kept Acpelone and Allergex at home, in the car and even in her bag to ensure that if she doesn’t encounter anything with cows milk by accident. I watched everything she ate and was extremely strict with her day care and our family regarding what they could feed her or give her once she began solids. She is now 21 months and only tried dairy milk yogurt and ice cream a few weeks ago for the very 1st time. She thankfully had no sign reaction or allergy. I took things slowly and started introducing certain products like biscuits with cows milk (started with the basic Marie biscuit) when she was around 18 months. It was a hard time for us all. But I promise you that it becomes second nature once you know the reaction your little had. When people (especially family with strong opinions) think I’m being over dramatic I just show them a picture of what she looked like and then they understand why we are so cautious. Going to little kids parties was hard, trying to throw her a 1st birthday with all the sweets and trims was hard without the regular stuff but I assure you, you make do and the health of your baby comes first.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and know that you are not alone. Stay strong Mamma.

    • bronwyn
      Author
      August 4, 2020 / 5:48 am

      Hi, Micaela.
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience- it is always great to hear from mothers who have gone through something similar. I can relate to you being nervous about eating anything that contains the allergen, because that’s how I feel now. Thanks for sharing tha inner elbow tip. We will be meeting with our paediatrician this week to discuss the way forward because I suspect she’s allergic to more than egg, judging by her eczema flare ups.
      But there will be light at the end of the tunnel and I’m glad your little one has outgrown their food troubles.
      I appreciate your readership and engagement.
      Take care,
      Bronny

  5. September 1, 2020 / 7:26 pm

    Hi Bronwyn

    I love your writing style, and I must just tell you that my experience with my 18 month old was the same when she had her first allergic reaction at 7 months. We didn’t rush to the hospital, but fortunately it wasn’t necessary. My little Shelby is also allergic to eggs, dairy and peanuts. Wheat and soy were also on the list previously, but fortunately after seeing an amazing Allergist, Dr Trikamjee, we were able to manage her allergies better. I actually started blogging too in order to share our experiences as there is so little info out there that is relatable. So thank you for sharing, it helps to read something that is so real and honest.

    All the best with little Scout’s allergies.

    Warmest wishes
    Lisa-Marie

    • bronwyn
      Author
      September 8, 2020 / 9:52 am

      I have heard amazing things about Dr Trikamjee and she was recommended to s as well. There is so little information and so sharing our experiences is often the only support for other moms.

      Thank you!
      and all the best with your lovely girls.

      Bronny

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