Yesterday was like any ordinary day. My girls woke me up. I drank my coffee. They played. We kissed Ben goodbye. We ate breakfast. Walked the Nut to camp. Pie took a nap. We went to a friend’s for lunch and a playdate.
Suddenly it all changed on a dime.
I ordered two eggs scrambled on a roll. I shared several pieces of the egg with Pie. I had begun her on yolks weeks ago and she’s a few bites of whole eggs since.
Within a few minutes I noticed a red rash around her mouth. My friend confirmed. She began to grow fussy, but I attributed it to her nearing nap time. I packed us up to head home. En route I called the pediatrician. She said because it was just a rash, no vomiting or apparent wheezing, I should just give her a dose of Benadryl asap.
At the same time Pie became inconsolable. By the time we enetered our apartment she was full-on crazy. I dug out the Benadryl and measured 3/4 of a teaspoon. I gave her a bit through her tears. Then a bit more. She promptly threw up all over the both of us.
I took her into the bathroom, stripped us both down, and got into the bath. It’s typically one of her favorite places in the world, but she wouldn’t stop crying. I snuggled her. I sang. In a moment of desperation and instinct that only a nursing mother’s body knows, I even offered her my breast. The same one she weaned from months ago. She didn’t give it a glance.
I took her out of the tub, wrapped her up, and made a bottle.She finally calmed enoughto drink and she actually started to doze. I laid her down and ran out to call Ben as I stared at Pie on the monitor. Then I called her doctor back to be sure it was okay to let her fall asleep. While I was on the phone, Pie began to cry and then cough and then choke. I ran in to her and she was covered with vomit. I grabbed her up and she threw up all over both of us again. She left a trail from her bed to the bathroom, screaming all the while. Her doctor said it could be a sign of a severe allergic reaction and that we should go to an emergency room. I got into the tub with her a second time, this time without pausing to remove my clothes. I gave her a quick rinse, threw some stuff onto the stroller, and then ran out the door. My clothes were wet and pukey, she was naked and wrapped in a dragon towel. I literally ran, carrying her and pushing the stroller, the three blocks to our neighborhood hospital.
By the time I crested the hill to the ER’s entrance, sweating and panting, I realized Pie wasn’t crying anymore. She actually looked like her normal, happy, not rashy self. I signed in with a security guard and waited to be called. I noted her name, her age of 9 months, and that she was suffering an allergic reaction. I felt like she had PRIORITY stamped on her bare tush. Thirty minutes later (and after being advised by the security guard to “hold your baby up to the window and maybe they’ll see her quicker”) we were still stranded in the waiting room, not having seen a single nurse or doctor or staff member of any sort aside from said security guard. I walked outside to call the pediatrician back.
Pie was looking and behaving normally, so she told me I could just come straight to her office, a ten minute walk. Upon arrival, she gave Pie a thorough exam, ordered some blood panels, and prescribed EpiPens.
And just like that, I’m the mama of a kid with a food allergy. A sneaky little food that likes to hide itself in many places. Places that my family loves, like cake and pasta and… French toast.
I so know I’m not alone here, but it’s still a scary place to find yourself.
Anyone care to share your own stories with me?