My family

My family
My Family

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Taking care of the A's

For the past month Adam's knee has been hurting.  It started as nothing serious, it just hurt.  Finally after much convincing he went to see an orthopedic last Tuesday.  The doctor gave him crutches and told him to stay off of his knee. 

Last Thursday Adam had an mri to confirm or deny any tears in the knee.  Thankfully, the results showed nothing was torn.

So for the last week I have been busy taking care of Adam, Austin, and the baby inside my belly.  It has been a lot of extra work taking over Adam's husband duties.  I realize there are so many tasks that Adam takes care of - I truly appreciate everything he does. 

Adam has always given Austin a bath.  It has just been one thing they do together.  I have enjoyed taking over bath time.

However, I do not enjoy taking out the trash - but somebody has to do it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Food Allergies...Part 3

January 2010 - St. Louis Children's Hospital
Department of Allergy

Weeks preceding Austin's allergy appointment, we received paperwork in the mail.  Included was the normal basic information, as well as several pages of intense questions about his life from conception till now.  We also received a page entitled "What to Expect at your Allergy Appointment".  I truly appreciated this sheet.  It outlined the skin tests that would need to be performed and how to prepare for them (no benadryl for days preceding the appointment).  This page also stated that these appointments typically last 3-4 hours.  Yikes, how were we to keep a 1 year old occupied and happy for that time period.  And, nap time was smack dab in the middle of the appointment.  Oh well, this appointment was very necessary for Austin and we (I) would have to adapt.

The appointment began with normal stat checks with the nurse.  Austin was in a panic.  Just two weeks prior, he had his 1 year big boy appointment at the pediatrician, which included several shots and a finger prick.  Poor guy is beginning to remember what happens in a doctor's office.

Dr. Bloomberg came in to visit with Austin and us.  He was a delightful man.  He was even dressed in a bow tie - fun!  Dr. Bloomberg specializes in pediatric allergy and asthma.  He spend hours in the room with us, asking questions, answering questions, and sharing information.  He explained in detail how the skin test would be performed and slipped out while the nurse came in to perform the test.

Austin had 3 panels placed on his back.  It was difficult for Adam and me to put him through the test.  But knowing that Austin has a food allergy and could potentially be harmed if he ingested an unknown allergen - we braved the test.  The actual placement of the panels on his back did not hurt him.  The nurse did not use harsh pressure.  She simply just touched the panel to his back for a second and then removed it.  The test lasted about 15 minutes.  In that time, we just had to try to keep Austin from scratching his back.  But he was allowed to play freely in the exam room, even eat some snacks.  His back looked terrible, red and inflamed.  However, he really did not seem to mind at all.

After 15 minutes the nurse and Dr. Bloomberg came back in to measure his bumps.  The test confirmed a positive allergy to egg and peanuts.  We were given packets of information to teach us how to read food labels and live with food allergies. 

Austin will go back in July for more allergy testing.  Dr. Bloomberg is watching his egg allergy closely.  A majority of children do outgrow egg allergy by the age of 5.  Austin is also on a watch list for asthma.  Some children with eczema and egg allergy then go on to develop asthma as they age.  He will most likely not outgrow his peanut allergy, as far as we understand, peanut allergies do not follow typical patterns and are difficult to track.

For now we are armed with an epi pen and benadryl at all times.  I am overly cautious regarding everything Austin eats.  We do have accidents - just had one last week, and it was my fault.  Thankfully, we realized the egg in the noodles before the situation turned serious.  I am learning to keep egg free banana muffins in the freezer to take with us to birthday parties - so, Austin can eat "birthday cake" too.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Food Allergies...Part 2

Today I want to continue sharing Austin's story about his food allergies.

I will pick up where my last post ended.

On Monday, we took Austin to see his pediatrician.  She ordered a blood allergy test.  She also went into much more detail preparing us for the road we were traveling.  At the time Austin did not weigh enough to be able to receive an epi pen injection, in the event of a future reaction.  His pediatrician explained that after the blood test results were in, she would be referring Austin to a pediatric allergist. 

This blood test was a vein draw, Austin would need to go to a lab to have it done.  Very scary for a 10 month old.  Feeling very uncomfortable about taking my baby to an adult lab, we drove to St. Louis Children's Hospital to their outpatient lab.  My thoughts were that the techs at Childrens are used to sticking young children and would probably get the vein on the first attempt.  Meaning - less trauma for my little guy and me.

Austin did cry when he was stuck - so did I.  He was very strong and did well.  Now we just had to wait for the results.  The wait was long - over a week. 

Finally the results were in.  We were shocked.  Not only was he allergic to eggs, but also wheat and peanuts.  Doctors use the RAST scale when discussing the severity of food allergies.  Austin's results on the RAST scale were:
Eggs - level 3 (severe)
Wheat - level 2 (moderate)
Peanut - level 1 (slight)

An appointment was made with a pediatric allergist at STL Children's for the beginning of January.  Yes, 4 months for an appointment.  Until then Austin was to stay clear of any foods containing these ingredients.  I am now the crazy mom digging through the trash to investigate the ingredients of foods. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Food Allergies...Part 1

October 16, 2010 is a day that I will never forget.

Austin was 10 months old.  He was enjoying his new found freedom of feeding himself - quite messy, but a milestone.  After much research and discussion with our pediatrician, we decided to begin introducing "highly allergic" foods into his diet.  I was breastfeeding, which would provide him with antibodies to protect him from a severe reaction to any of these foods.  Since Adam, nor I had food allergies, we had no reason to fear an allergic reaction.

In the morning Adam made breakfast, scrambled eggs with cheese.  Austin immediately inhaled every bite of egg we placed before him - he loved them.  Only seconds after ingesting the eggs, his mouth, cheeks, nose, and chin were covered in dark, red hives.  Austin had on occasion, broke out in a light, red rash around his mouth after eating random foods.  Only if I had known at the time, this is the bodies 1st sign of an allergic reaction.  Today's rash was far worst than anything that had happened previously.

Due to the severity of the hives, Adam administered benadryl.  Had Austin not received this dose, I fear the experience would have been much worst.  As the seconds past, Austin began coughing.  I offered him water to drink - he would refuse.  Within minutes he began vomiting the little water he had taken in.  Finally he became lethargic.  At this moment, I realize he must be having an allergic reaction, we need to call the pediatrician.  It was a Saturday, so I quickly dialed the after hours nurse line at Children's Hospital.
While I waited for the pediatrician to call us with further instructions, it was getting to be time for Austin to nurse and take his morning nap.  Since he was so lethargic, I decided I would just nurse him and hold him while he slept to keep an eye on him.  As I tried to nurse him, he refused.  Minutes later he vomited again.  I took him to the bathtub to clean him up.  In less than 1 hour the entire ordeal was over.  After the eggs were out of his system, he was back to himself, just as if nothing had ever happened.

The whole situation happened very quickly.  When it was all over, I just told myself, "his system was too immature for eggs, wait and try them again after his birthday" or "maybe he is allergic to eggs, I will talk to the doctor and see what she thinks".  Later that morning I had a very eye opening conversation with our pediatrician.  She informed me that he had indeed had a "severe allergic reaction".  Austin would need to come in for blood allergy testing and he would most likely need an epi pen.

At this time, I felt like a horrible mother.  Why had we not rushed him to the hospital?  What were we thinking?  In retrospect, the events took place in under an hour - while Austin was exhibiting symptoms of anaphylaxis, we just didn't realize it. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just Neat

Adam's birthday is 4/4
My birthday is 8/8

Austin's birthday is 12/12

Just a unique fact about our family!

*Note:  Unfortunately our new baby arriving this July will likely not have a birth date like ours.  She is due July 26, so unless she is a few weeks early - time will only tell.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Biggest Adventure Yet

This is the story of my labor and delivery of my son Austin.  I am sharing this because several events occurred that I was not prepared for.  My type A personality does not adjust well to spontaneity.  Looking back, I realize that I really thought labor and delivery would be just as described in childbirth classes - textbook.  Women have been delivering babies for years - it was a natural process for the female body.  The child birth educator did not go on to discuss all of the possibilities that "could" happen.  So, let me share my experience and the events that "could" happen, that actually did.

I was blessed to begin labor on a Friday evening - just perfect - I would have the baby on the weekend and our family would be able to be there once the baby arrived.  This was truly special because we opted to not find out the gender of our first child.  So I anxiously spend my Friday evening contracting and preparing our home for the baby, since the long wait was finally coming to an end.  

I was too excited to sleep so I just stayed up - waiting.  Finally I woke Adam to tell him that we needed to head to the hospital - at 2am - no traffic!  Once there the nurses hooked my belly up to monitors and we quickly learned that our baby's heart rate was dropping during the contractions - first sign of trouble.  I was told to get some rest.  Not the best advice to tell a woman in labor after she learns her baby is in danger.

In the morning the doctor came in to break my water to get the show on the road.  For reasons still unknown I had no amniotic fluid - none.  Seriously where did that water go?  This term is called dry birth - which can be extremely dangerous and painful for mother and baby.  Luckily medicine has come very far from the pioneer days and they have methods to counteract this problem.  

As our family arrived at the hospital room I began to run a fever.  At this point, the whole process really went downhill.  My hormones were raging, not understanding why everything was not going according to plan.  Why was my fever so high?  Why could they not get the fever down?  Why was the baby's heart rate still dropping?  Would the baby be okay after not having enough amniotic fluid?  And, why was the epidural not working?  And most important - when would this be over?  I just really want to have my baby to see if it is a boy or a girl.

Later Saturday afternoon the doctor decided that this whole process was not going well and they needed to get the baby out - c-section.  Once in the operating room, Adam and I were greeted by the NICU staff.  They explained that I had an infection (high fever) and that the baby had contracted the infection as well and would need to be transported to the NICU.  I was so overwhelmed with emotions, drugs and high fever that I could not truly comprehend what was happening.  

At 5:38pm Austin Joseph was born...7lbs 14oz and 22 inches long.  

Soon after delivery they took him away to the NICU.  I send Adam to be with him.  

Adam and I had experience with the NICU from our twin nieces who were born premature and spend months in the unit.  But they were premature - my Austin was full term.  I was unaware that complications like infection can occur, sending a full term baby into the NICU.  Once in recovery I wanted to see my baby and hold my baby.  We had been together for 40 weeks - now we were ripped apart.  I had these great visions of nursing my newborn immediately after delivery.  Those dreams - gone.  As a new mother, I had raging hormones and "needed" to be with my child.  My child needed me.  

I did not get to see Austin in the NICU until he was over 5 hours old.  Those might have been the hardest hours of my life.  I was determined to breastfeed and knew from reading how vital it was to nurse within the first hours of birth.  Little did I know that our breastfeeding issues were just beginning (this is another post entirely).

The first 48 hours of Austin's life he spent in the NICU.  This time was a blessing in disguise.  I was forced to rest - which I needed to speed my recovery.  I also was forced to get up out of bed to go see him - every couple hours, which was great for my recovery.  We also received great lessons on infant care thanks to the wonderful nurses.  When Austin was finally released into my room, Adam and I were well rested and blessed to have our family all together.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Everything we do in life has a purpose.  The purpose of this blog is a place for me to tell my experiences, in hopes of helping others. 

The primary subject I want to focus on is parenting. 

Fifteen months ago I became a mother.  This was a life-long dream of mine and on December 12, 2009, my dream became a reality with the birth of my son Austin.  In these short 15 months, I have experienced more than I ever imagined.  Below is a short list of our obstacles - I plan to discuss these challenges in future posts.

1.  NICU - I never imagined my full term baby would be admitted to the NICU
2.  Tongue tie
3.  Breastfeeding
4.  Sleep - mostly lack thereof
5.  Eczema
6.  Food allergies

I will leave with why I chose to name my blog "Adventures Raising "A" Family".  My name is Affton.  I married a man named Adam.  We have a crazy dog named Astro.  We have a wonderful son named Austin.  We are expecting a new precious baby girl in July and her name will be Aubrey.  Yes, we are "that" family. 

I chose the word adventure because of a quote that I love and feel is true in many situations.  This quote was very fitting while I was pregnant with Austin.  It also holds true for this blog...

"A Grand Adventure is About to Begin" - Winnie the Pooh