Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Results Are In...

Since birth, Avery has had skin problems.

When he was a few months old and started to move around a bit, he lost his soft baby skin and has since been plagued by a rough, red, blotchy rash on his arms, legs, and the back of his neck. His pediatrician diagnosed him with 'seborrheic dermatitis' (pretty much a form of 'cradle cap' -dry skin- that affects other parts of the body) and said it should clear up on its own by the time he turned one. Until recently, we were able to deal with the rash pretty easily by slathering Avery in lotion numerous times a day and bathing him with a skin calming wash. Then the itching began. For both Avery and his mama this was like a form of slow torture. Avery got frustrated because he can't quite soothe the itch by scratching (the scratching only making the rash that much worse) and his mama was going mad watching this cycle continue.

When we took a trip to Tennessee for 4 days in May, Avery's rash miraculously cleared up for the time that we were gone. Then we returned home and within 24 hours and it had returned. This got us thinking that there may be something else causing Avery's skin irritation - something clearly environmental and something in our house. We brought this up to his pediatrician at his one year appointment and allergy testing was suggested. This was somewhat of a foreign concept to me as neither Justin or myself are allergic to anything, so the fact that our child may have one didn't seem very likely but I was willing to do just about anything to get some answers.

So to the allergist we went.
Spot #29 is the control (it was supposed to cause
a reaction). Spot #3 on the left is peanuts
and spot #19 is dog.

We'd heard horror stories about this scratch testing business, so I was a little apprehensive about going through with it (but like I said, we NEEDED some answers). To my surprise, Avery handled it very well, only crying for a few seconds and then was back to his happy self (it was comparable to how he reacts to shots). 

He was tested for 12 common allergens: 6 high-risk foods, dog, cat, and 2 types of dust mites. We then wandered around the office/waiting room with a semi-naked baby (who was extremely good-natured due to the fact that he was semi-naked :) for 15 minutes or so to see how he reacted to the irritants. After a few minutes, we started to notice one of the spots clearly showing a reaction. When we wandered or way back to the nurse, she informed us this spot was... *drum roll*...  PEANUTS. Of all things. (He also reacted slightly to dog. Thankfully, not enough to cause us to find a new home for Bella.)

We are now the parents of a child with a peanut allergy. Deep breath. I will resist the urge to place my child in a bubble for the rest of his childhood and/or never leave our home to venture into the dirty, peanut-infested world. Deep breath.
I wouldn't in a million years have guessed peanuts. #1 because we don't really eat many peanut products and #2 because I don't know a single person in our family blood line with a peanut allergy. (seriously, what IS it with the crazy increase in peanut allergies in recent years?!) The allergist assumes that his exposure is from my breast milk and/or from coming into indirect contact somewhere in our house. Since his reaction to the test was so severe, he sent us home with an Epipen and instructions to clear our home of all things nuts. (all peanuts AND tree nuts for now, until we can better narrow it down) Since he's never actually ingested any peanuts/peanut butter, we really have no idea what would happen. His rash may just flare or he may have trouble breathing. Yes. Peanuts may cause my baby to have trouble breathing. (...Deep breath...)

So, as we allow this information to sink in, I'm doing my best to do some research, read food labels, watch what Avery eats/touches, wipe down everything, and am doing my best to not become a crazy worried, over-protective, peanut-fighting mama ninja who views every outing as a possible catastrophe.

I give parents of children with allergies (or other conditions that are affected by environments they can't always control) a ton of credit. Parents have enough to worry about without having to think about the fact that coming into contact with a little nut may potentially cause babies to stop breathing (Ok. Enough doom and gloom already, there are FAR worse things we could be facing.)

Anyone out there dealing with a child with a nut allergy? I guess only 20% of babies grow out of it, so it may be a lifelong thing for Avery but my hope is that it continues to be mild and only irritate his skin (and our Epipen remains unused.)

On a good note, Avery's skin has been beautifully clear and smooth for the last couple of days! I hope this is a sign of how it will be now that we've pinpointed the problem :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Last week, we made a day trip to Chicago to spend a day at the beach with Aunt Janessa and Eric! (It was a surprise to Janessa!) Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate with those plans but we still had an awesome day exploring Navy Pier and Millennium Park (our first time to both!) and any time spent with Aunt Janessa is always a blast. 

Avery had the best time walking the pier, dancing in the park, and flirting with himself (and a fancy little girl in pink) at Cloud Gate! It made my whole week to see our little man having so much fun toddling around such a big city :) 
His favorite thing?  The manhole cover!