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.