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,