Part Three – Why My Body Feels Like a Like a Ticking Time Bomb

Part Three - Why My Body Feels Like a Ticking Time Bomb

This is part three of my story of being pregnant with placenta previa. You can check out Part One and Part Two.

Since my last placenta post, I have stayed in hospital. I was in a hospital nearly 2 hours away from home but thankfully, so thankfully, I was transferred to a big tertiary teaching hospital about an hour from my house. Closer to home. Closer to Legoman and Possum. And this hospital has everything that could possibly be needed in an emergency. It has a NICU and and an ICU. The ward nurses are also well versed in looking after mums going through exactly the same thing as me. They have even buddied me up with another “bleeder”. Hurray for having placenta previa!

I have basically spent the week reading this book, colouring in this book, watching Community and doing a bit of crochet. If you’re as bored as I am, you can check out my Instagram account as I take photos of the little rays of sunshine in my day.

As I live an hour away from this big hospital, and my local hospital has now said no to delivering our baby, I am here in hospital until delivery. As crappy as it is being so far away from home and having to eat hospital food every day, I actually feel very calm. It is incredibly reassuring knowing that if anything goes wrong, I hit a big button on the wall and people will literally come running. And not random people, but highly trained medical people. Bonus!

I saw the doctor this morning and actually signed the consent form for the C-section. And was told our baby will be born between 20-26th July!!! Exciting!! A date to focus on, the time our baby will be born, the time when this whole ordeal will be over with. This also gives me a bit of energy to start having conversations with midwives and lactation consultants about making plans for delivery day. I am planning on expressing before the birth so that in the event of me needing a general anaesthetic, bub can still be fed my milk. I am also going to make it very clear and written down, that I want skin to skin ideally between bub and myself as soon as possible. Failing that with Legoman if I am needing further intervention during surgery. And there is quite a real risk of that. 1 in 10 placenta previa surgical deliveries need further intervention, as I was told by my doctor. So it is wise for us to plan ahead.

After getting the exciting news of knowing the week baby will be born, my placenta obviously also got a bit excited and decided to get all silly and bleed again. For the fourth time. In 4 weeks. I felt sad and annoyed. As soon as you have a solid few days without bleeding you lure yourself into a false sense of security. Thinking the last bleed you’d had will be just that, the last bleed you’ll have. And then another one comes along. I am so grateful that they have all been small. Very grateful. And I am so grateful to already be in hospital. All that needed to happen was to tell the nurses, have a CTG, have my obs taken and go back onto the oh so sexy task of pad watch. Not many pregnant women have to buy pads multiple times DURING their pregnancy.¬†I’m normally a cloth pad kind of gal but planet earth gets to suffer with me on this one.

So the journey continues. Taking it all day by day. Hoping for the best and hoping for no more bleeds.

Got some ideas on how I can spend my time? I’d love to hear! Post a comment below ūüôā

Mama, you are held…

mama, you are held

There seems to be a lot going on in the lives of those I care about right now. A lot. Too much really. It takes a crazy amount of strength to be a mother. To birth your child and to birth yourself. I wrote this for my best friend, at her blessingway before she gave birth to her beautiful child. I wanted her to remember how strong she is and that she will always be held. We both needed to revisit it today. We both cried to read it. I hope it gives you some strength, courage and hope. You are not falling mama, you are held.

People say birth is a miracle
I disagree
A miracle is an event only achieved by God
This is not birth
Birth is a mighty deed
One which you and I were always intended to be part of
One which we were made to experience
One which is so in keeping with how this entire universe is put together
Pretty full on thought really!
Part of me wishes it were a miracle and you could kick back and let God do all the work
But the knowing in me says the work is to be done.
For this mighty deed is yours
And yours alone
But you are not alone
You are held
By every woman here with you now,
You are held
By every woman in your life,
You are held
By your loving husband,
You are held
By the ground beneath your feet,
You are held
By the power in your body,
You are held
By the invisible arms of love,
You are held

And you will continue to be held beyond the mighty deed of birth as you start to begin the mighty deed of parenting.
But then you will have two tiny, fierce, wonderful arms who will hold you like you’ve never been held before.
You may be small,
But you are mighty.

***Follow me on Pinterest and Facebook***

Sign up with your email to receive new posts straight to your inbox. Lots of delicious recipes, family food ideas and free printables.

Part Two – Why My Body Feels Like A Ticking Time Bomb

Part Two- Why My Body Feels Like A Ticking Time Bomb

This is Part Two. You can read Part One of my story here. 

I’m lying in a hospital bed. Again. I’m now 33 weeks pregnant and last night at 6pm I had my second bleed due to placenta previa. Thankfully this second bleed was a much more calm affair than my first. Legoman was home for starters!! I could tell my little Possum that mummy needed to go sleep at the hospital. The gorgeous thing said “I love you mummy. I will carry your dressing gown for you.” She’s so resilient and brave. I’m so amazed by her.

At 6pm I went to change into my pajamas (I’m pregnant, it’s allowed!). I went to the toilet and found blood on my underwear. There was no sudden gush this time. I had time. We called the midwife (who was probably about to have her dinner!) and called my mother in law to take me to the hospital. Legoman helped Possum get ready for bed. There was no panic. No tears. Just a sense of “here we go again”.

I was expecting them to bundle me up and send me off to the big hospital again, but I was pleasantly surprised when they said I could stay at my little regional hospital. My own room! Close to home! Room with a view!

There was no talk of delivering baby. Thank goodness.

There was the reminder though that I have used up two of my three strikes. Next bleed and there is no going home until bub is born. I could handle those kind of consequences if I had any control or choice over these bleeds. Instead I feel cheated. Dobbed in for something I didn’t do.

You see I have none of the risk factors for placenta previa. None of them!

My placenta is big and fat and healthy. Bub is big and healthy. It’s head down and ready to go. It knows what should be happening. I know what should be happening. This is not what should be happening.

I’m 12 hours into 24 hours of bed rest. Then home time. To wait.

No more work.

*** I started writing this this morning. Around lunch time my family left to go home after visiting me for the morning. All was looking well. The doctor came in to say I could go home! Hurray! After he left, I went to the toilet, washed my hands and then felt it. Felt the gush. Again. I looked and I had fresh red blood on my pad.

Shit.

No going home for me today.

Shit.

I called for the midwife and told her. Back onto bed rest. Back onto the CTG to monitor bub. Doctor back in and I’m told I will be transferred in an ambulance to a larger hospital. Again.

Shit.

My Possum is expecting me home this afternoon and I won’t be coming home.

People keep asking “Is there something I can get you?” and I feel like saying “A BRAND NEW F******G PLACENTA!!!”.

As I lay in bed and waited for my transfer, I cried. Out of exhaustion. Out of frustration. Out of sadness. Out of anger. My midwife sat with me while I cried.

The closest big hospital has no beds for premature babies so instead I will be transferred to another hospital which is a further 40 minutes away from my house. I will be nearly 2 hours away from my home, my husband and my daughter. And I don’t know how long I will be there for.

That’s the thing with placenta previa. You ask a question and the response you get back is “Well that depends”. There are no straight answers. No predictable outcomes. No normal turn of events.

I take comfort in knowing every day helps baby get bigger and stronger and more ready to be out in the world. I take comfort in knowing I live somewhere with amazing medical care. I take comfort in knowing my daughter is well loved and well looked after while I am in hospital. I take comfort in knowing baby is doing well in my belly.

But this waiting game continues and it’s a game I don’t want to play anymore.

***Follow me on Pinterest and Facebook!!***

Sign up with your email to receive new posts straight to your inbox! Lots of delicious recipes, family food ideas and free printables!

Why My Body Feels Like A Ticking Time Bomb

Why My Body Feels Like A Ticking Time Bomb

Pregnancy is meant to be a time of joyful anticipation. As due date approaches, the “I wonder when” is thought often and with a little smile. Butterflies start to flutter in the very round, full tummies of women around the world as they eagerly await the arrival of their little bundle of joy.

I’m not feeling it.

I am certainly waiting. But not for the arrival of a little person. Or the feeling of those first contractions.

I am waiting to feel a warm gush. To see an unwanted red stain. To have that wave of panic set in again.

This is what it feels like to have placenta previa. You feel like a ticking time bomb.

You wait and wait, for that bleed you’ve been told is likely. You wonder when it might happen. You wonder how big is it going to be. You wonder if it will be the catalyst to you ending up in hospital for weeks. Or maybe it will be the moment your baby is brought into the world, weeks too soon. Will you be alone when it happens? Will you be doing the grocery shopping? Will you be at work? Will it be the rude awakening from a good night’s sleep?

I am currently 32 weeks pregnant. 2 weeks ago at 11pm, as I lay in bed, I felt that warm gush. A familiar feeling to any woman over the age of 13. It’s a feeling you’re not meant to have when you’re pregnant. I jumped out of bed, pulled down my pyjama pants to find a large blood stain on my underwear and through to my pyjama pants. Panic set in.

Legoman was away in the bush, out of phone reception. I was home alone with our 2 year old toddler. She was sound asleep in her room. I called my best friend (who thankfully and wonderfully lives one block away), who was already awake with her 10 month old. She was on her way. I broke down on the phone and she straight away came to my house. I tried calling my midwife, no answer. I tried calling the hospital, an answering machine. I tried my husband in desperation, voicemail. My midwife called me back just as my best friend opened my front door. She held me as I attempted to pack a bag. My amazing midwife was on her way to pick me up.

I was shaking so much at this point. Still feeling the bleeding, not knowing what would happen next.

I kept thinking that my daughter would wake up and I won’t be there. Neither will her daddy. It was the first night I had ever had away from her. Not the circumstances that milestone should happen in.

At hospital they cannulated me, told me I couldn’t eat or drink and gave me the first dose of steroids, in case my baby needed to be delivered. In case my baby needed to be delivered. That was not what I wanted to hear. My husband wasn’t there. This couldn’t be happening.

An ambulance took me to a bigger hospital where I was taken into Delivery Suite. All this time, my wonderful little baby was wriggling around and doing amazingly well. This helped me to stay calm and focused. An ultrasound at 3:30am confirmed that baby was fine and the bleeding had also slowed right down. Everyone started to relax. I could eat again. I could attempt to sleep.

5:30am came and I was woken up by the woman in the room next to me going through the final throws of labour. A few loud screams of “GET IT OUT OF ME!!!” had me giggling in bed, knowing how¬†very close she was to meeting her little person. 10 minutes later the cries of a new life welcomed a quite calm. Life goes on.

6am saw me calling my parents to firstly tell them (but hopefully not alarm them) that I was in hospital. I also needed them 1.5 hours drive away at my house to look after my daughter. Off they went.

7am – phone call from my best friend to say good morning to my daughter. She was handling the surprise of waking up to Aunty very well. The promise of croissants in the kitchen got her out of bed.

10am – up to antenatal ward now that the red blood had stopped. But the cannula remained in my arm until I was discharged, just in case.

3pm – I finally got to speak to my husband. He was calm, way too calm.

6pm – I got to see Legoman.

The next 24 hours involved lots of visitors, waiting, Pad checks (those poor nurses) and nervous exhaustion. I also had to call my work and tell them I wouldn’t be in as I was in hospital. I was discharged home once the brown spotting had stopped and a more thorough ultrasound showed baby was fine and my placenta was still too low. The cannula came out (thank goodness) and I was put on “pelvic rest”. Which basically means nothing goes in. A friend at work thinks this is a brilliant idea and wishes someone would issue her a medical certificate that she can show her husband!

I got through the first bleed. And now I wait for a second one. No one can tell me what the chances are that I will get a second bleed. No one can tell me if my placenta will move enough to avoid a c-section. All I keep hearing is “Every placenta previa is different”. Helpful.

Hearing the stories of other women in a similar situation has been amazing support. I have joined a couple of Facebook groups and a forum where women support each other through these exhausting, emotional pregnancies. There is so much power in sharing our stories. One common thread is we are all hopeful. Hopeful to reach close to our due dates. Hopeful for no more bleeds. Hopeful our child comes into the world in a calm way and not through an emergency. Hopeful for those very first cuddles.

I would love to hear from you if you have had placenta previa or are going through a similar experience at the moment. Together we can all get through this.

After my bleed I made an Emergency Phone Numbers list to stick on our fridge and to share with family and friends. I am hoping we never have to use it. You can grab a copy for yourself here.

***Follow me on Pinterest and Facebook!!***

Sign up with your email to receive new posts straight to your inbox! Lots of delicious recipes, family food ideas and free printables!

Make Friends With Your Kitchen

Make Friends With Your Kitchen
As a working mother, it can feel overwhelming having to feed my little clan. Plus I have standards darn it! Which means no takeaway and minimal processed food, because really not only is home made better for you and cheaper, a lot of the time it’s more delicious too!

Chatting to my mummy pals, basically what we all want is for meal times to be calm, simple and hopefully even enjoyable.

I have made a list for you of some hints and tips to help make your kitchen your friend. Hopefully a life long friend that you share with your family rather than a friend you only talk to because you have to.

Make Friends With Your Kitchen

1. Have a plan. Meal planning has been a huge life saver for me and my family. Huge. I started when my daughter (now 2!) started having solids. I realised I couldn’t have a panic every day at 5pm trying to figure out what we were going to have for dinner. That just ain’t sustainable. Instead, I sit down once a week and write a meal plan. I shop once a week knowing exactly what we need. To learn more about meal planning click here. To download my free meal planning printable click here.

2. Have a clear working space. This is probably the thing I struggle with the most. I love cooking and hate cleaning. However, the wise mature me has learnt that doing the dishes makes me happy. Eventually. I try to have a clean kitchen before going to bed, but failing that (some nights it is too much) then after breakfast the kitchen gets a full clean. Come crazy dinner time you’ve got clear space and all equipment is clean and ready to go.

3. Keep it simple. Yes we could all make every single thing from scratch using organic ingredients. But really. Who has the time or money? Know your limits. Don’t plan a banquet feast on a day you have something on. Allow for tired days. Buy snacks. Have an idea of your emergency family favorite meals.

4. Clean as you go. When you start cooking, fill the sink with hot soapy water. Even if you just throw things in, it will make cleaning up easier later. Plus you will have an easy way of washing your hands.

5. Share the load. I love to cook but I love that I don’t have to do it every night even more!! I am so grateful that Legoman cooks dinner twice a week (2 of my 3 workdays). He is home with our daughter those days and so meals are his job. Does he love cooking? No. Does he love us? Surely does. This has helped me not be such a control freak in the kitchen too. Don’t have a hubby? Do a bulk cook up with girlfriends or plan to have meal swaps with families close by.

I hope these simple tips help you make friends with your kitchen. Not sure what to cook for dinner tonight? Try my delicious Roast Chicken with Garlic, Sage and Thyme or perhaps my Pumpkin, Leek and Millet Oven baked Risotto.

***Follow me on Pinterest and Facebook!!***

Sign up with your email to receive new posts straight to your inbox! Lots of delicious recipes, family food ideas and free printables!

Baby Led Weaning Shopping List

Baby Led Weaning Shopping List Essentials

Are you new to Baby Led Weaning? Not quite sure what things to have on hand for your little one? Use this handy shopping list at your next grocery shop!

Life with little ones can be so much easier when you’re prepared. I learnt this lesson when Possum started solids. It’s basically what led me to try meal planning!

Here I was in the kitchen everyday at 5pm with a hungry tot and absolutely no idea what to feed her let alone Legoman and myself! That’s not a happy head space to be in everyday. Since then meal planning has saved our hungry tummies and tired brains many times over.

But the other little trick that worked was getting to know what foods were easy, quick and nutritious for Possum to have. I would make sure these would go on our shopping list each week so that I knew there was always something in the house Possum could eat if she wasn’t too keen on whatever it was we were eating at that meal.

Here is a shopping list of great foods for baby led weaning so that you can have a quick reference and help your day run a little smoother. Is there anything you would add? I would love to hear and I can add to the list.

  • Banana – and here is a little trick to make it easy for bub to hold: use your little finger pushed into the end of a peeled banana to split into three segments. Game changer!
  • Sweet potato – makes sweet potato wedges super easily. Cut into wedges and roast at 180¬įC for 30 minutes or until starting to brown.
  • Field mushrooms – possum loooooooved to demolish a roasted field mushroom for dinner. Roast at 180¬į, smooth side down, with some olive oil for around 20-30 minutes. Cut in half to serve.
  • Cucumber – or cubumber as Possum now calls it. Cut into sixths for easy to hold chunks. We never bothered to peel it.
  • Oats – mix 3 Tbsp oats with 3 Tbsp water in a rounded dish then microwave for 2 minutes. Easy! Comes out as a very easy to hold oat biscuit.
  • Pear – allergy friendly and easy to munch.
  • Avocado – the perfect foot for baby led weaning! So much messy fun! Cut into chunks and have the bath (and camera) ready!
  • Yoghurt – plain full fat yoghurt. Offer on a preloaded spoon or put in a bowl and embrace the mess! A great substitution for sour cream in recipes too!

Now our Possum is two! We are really pleased to have gone down the Baby Led Weaning path. It was such a fun and enjoyable way to introduce food into her world. We are due with bub #2 in August and I am certainly going to choose to do Baby Led Weaning again. You can read a bit more about our Baby Led Weaning experiences here and here.

How’s Baby Led Weaning going for our family?

***Follow me on Pinterest and Facebook!!***

Sign up with your email to receive new posts straight to your inbox! Lots of delicious recipes, family food ideas and free printables!

Looking for some recipes for your little one? Here are some Baby Led Weaning winners:

How to have a stress free toddler birthday party + free party planner printable

How to have a stress free toddler party + free party planner printable

In case you missed it, my beautiful daughter turned 2 this week! So of course we had a lovely little party for her over the weekend. And I have to say the whole event was relatively stress free.

How was having a gaggle of toddlers and family around stress free? Well let me tell you why…

  1. Don’t have the party at your house.¬†Possum’s first birthday was at our house. This meant the house had to be clean. Need I say more. This year we went to the park, literally around the corner from our house. It has kick arse swings, two slides, toilets and under cover picnic areas. Perfect. There was plenty of room for happy toddlers to run around, grass for younger bubs to roll around on and plenty of breathing room for this pregnant mumma.
  2. Delegate, delegate, delegate.¬†Repeat after me. “I don’t have to do everything, I don’t have to do everything”. This is what friends and family are for. Grandparents are wonderful in so many ways. Their amazing cooking, cleaning and entertaining skills can all be put to good use when planning a party. For example my mother in law cleaned up the undercover picnic areas for us the morning of the party. Amazing. My parents came to our house to help do morning dishes, entertain Possum and my Mum was wonderful and whipped up some cream cheese icing at the last minute for Possum’s birthday cake. My sister loves shiny pretty things and is wonderfully creative. So her job was decorations. I literally said “balloons and streamers in rainbow colours”. I arrived to find home made paper chains, balloons, streamers, glittery shapes and a happy birthday banner. Way more than my brain could even compute!
  3. Keep things simple.¬†Toddlers are wonderful little creatures and get crazy excited at even the littlest of things. Like having party hats and a cake. They don’t need a live band, 20 animal petting zoo AND a decorator cake. The little ones had so much fun dancing around the park with streamers, hiding in bushes and watching balloons make farting noises as they zoomed through the air. Nice and simple.
  4. Get someone else to take photos.¬†Kind of like your wedding day, you want to enjoy the fact you have kept a tiny little person alive for so long despite horrible sleep, a diet of food scraps and cold tea and a complete and utter sense of having no idea what the hell you are doing. Celebrate! But do get someone else to capture your happy faces. Make sure that person understands your camera and are happy to be the camera person for the day. Reassure them you don’t want Ansel Adams images, just your typical family happy snaps.
  5. Skip the presents.¬†I don’t mean all together, but just from party guests. I think Possum’s Grandparents would have a meltdown if we said no gifts from them! Ask guests to bring a plate of food to share instead. This is a double win. Your party gets catered plus you don’t have to deal with bringing even more¬†stuff into your home. Also, many kids/adults have food allergies and sensitivities. Bring a plate allows families to bring known safe food. It also saves you having to make gluten free, dairy free, nut free, egg free anything.
  6. Have an amazing husband. I am beyond grateful for having a husband who is great with logistics and event planning. He used to organise logistics for ultra marathons and the such, so a toddler birthday party is easy! Lovely little touches he thought of were things like having a camping stove to make the nanas and grandmas hot cups of tea, packing camping chairs and picnic blankets, having camping plates rather than throw aways. So thank you so much Legoman for not only being an awesome father but also a wonderful husband! xx
  7. Have a plan.¬†It’s a good idea to have at least a vague idea of what you need/want for this party. To make this easier for you I have made a free party planner printable. Stick it on the fridge (next to your free printable meal planner!) and add to it as you think of things. Click Pea Fritters Party Planner Free Printable¬†to download.

I truly hope you have a wonderful day celebrating your little person! Have a friend who you think might find this post and free party planner printable helpful? Simply share this post on Facebook, Pinterest or email!

***Want to be kept up to date with all new Pea Fritters posts? Follow on WordPress or sign up with your email to receive posts straight to your inbox!

Why your first pregnancy is luxurious

Why your first pregnancy is luxurious

I am pregnant. I feel that summarises a second pregnancy to a tee. I just am. The end. Yes I have a belly. How many weeks am I? Um, let me think….

Rewind 2 years and 9 months and it was a very different story. I bathed in my state of fertility. I carried my belly with the pride of a first time pregnant mum. I luxuriated in my state of pregnancy.

I went to pregnancy yoga, every week. Yes, every week. And was on time. And had clothes without stains.

I also went to the pool. Every week. After work. And never felt rushed to get home for bed time, bath time, dinner time, cranky afternoon time.

Oh and I did African dancing. Of course! Until I was 7 months pregnant! How the hell did I do that???

Did I feel like going to a pregnancy massage? Sure! I will be there in a jiffy! Now? I had a friend call and say she needed a case study to complete her pregnancy massage certification and would it be okay if she gave me two free 90 minutes massage. Best call ever! But then reality hit home. Baby sitting. Where was I going to find baby sitting? Trying to book a time suddenly became like trying to organise a UN Peace Summit. But I have one booked, and boy oh boy am I looking forward to it! 4 more days, just 4 more days.

First time around there was also this endless time (or what seems like it now) to just sit and be pregnant. To really tune in and appreciate the magic that is happening in your belly. I remember every week checking to see what developments were going on. Knowing when bub could start smelling, tasting. How big it got each week. I had every pregnancy app under the sun and would check them all every Monday, even though they all said basically the same thing.

I have actually deleted all the pregnancy apps from my phone this time around because they are taking up valuable space that could be used for the 208839524975634975 photos and videos I have of Possum!

My real life bubby (well she will be 2 next week!) is now what consumes my world. I don’t need to read a book or check an app to know what she is doing because it’s all happening right in front of my eyes! And the day to day learning and discovery that she is doing astounds me more than the measurements of my belly baby. And that doesn’t bother me one bit. Because I know once this belly baby is born, that’s when the wonder will grow even more!

So this pregnancy is just that. A waiting game, until I get to meet this little person inside me and let life truly explode with joy and wonder. In the mean time, I will tolerate wearing hand me down maternity clothes that kind of fit. I will sleep as best I can because my toddler still wakes in the night occasionally. I will not squeeze too much in my week to prove that pregnancy and babies won’t change me. Because it already has. I have no points to prove. I have succumb joyfully to the life of a mother.

***Like my blog? Follow via WordPress or sign up to get new posts sent straight to your inbox!***

***Come join in the fun over on my Facebook Page! Lots of posts about food, family and fun.***

What Happens At An Allergy Skin Prick Test, With a Toddler

What Happens At An Allergy Skin Prick Test

Last week I posted about my family’s journey to learning Possum has multiple food allergies. I shared the post with a Baby Led Weaning group I’m part of on Facebook as there are always concerned mummas posting about allergies on there. The response was so lovely! Alot of gratitude for sharing our story and our experiences, as it helped shed light on their own situation. Some mum’s were also asking some specific questions about the allergy testing itself, so I thought I would go into a little more details about what actually happened when I took Possum for her testing.

We had started an elimination diet the week before Possum’s first birthday (stupid timing in retrospect). I was following the RPA low food chemical elimination diet as well as making it gluten and dairy free. Possum’s symptoms were so all over the place I didn’t think it was a “true” allergy but more of an intolerance, hence choosing this option. Basically we were living off rice crackers, cabbage, tinned pears and sprouts. I think that week was the hungriest and crankiest I have ever been. I was already meal planning but the level of planning that comes with a strict elimination diet, especially for yourself and a toddler, is just insane! I printed out a diet and symptom diary so that every day I could monitor what we ate and what any reactions were. You are meant to follow the elimination for at least 3 weeks so that your body can rid itself of any built up proteins from problem foods. I lasted a week. Possum’s first birthday party was both wonderful because we were celebrating our amazing daughter turning 1 but also because I could eat real food again!!!!!!! Ah sweet relief!

The main thing I learnt during that week was Possum had a clear reaction to egg on the first night, coming out in a fine rash all over her trunk and back after eating egg and rice pie. The other thing was that Possum was sleeping better on the diet. Clearly she was reacting to some foods, but I knew we didn’t have the full picture.

I went to the GP and told her what we had been doing. She was a little sceptical when I was telling her about the diet and Possum’s symptoms. However she has been Legoman’s doctor since he was a kid and has seen him go through all sorts of treatment for his allergies (mushrooms, moulds, certains grasses and pollens). So she wrote me a referral to the Specialist Allergy Clinic at the large teaching hospital in our area.

After waiting a couple of months for an appointment, the day finally came to go see the specialist. I explained Possum’s symptoms in as much detail as a worried mother does as well as outlining all the facets of allergies that are present in both my family and Legoman’s family too. The doctor thought there were clearly some allergy issues present but was also quite concerned about Possum’s poor weight gain. Since starting solids she had dropped from the 50th centile to the 15th, despite having 12 breastfeeds a day and eating 3 meals and snacks. He had said technically she was Failure To Thrive. That broke my heart!

The doctor went on to explain what would happen next. Possum would need a blood test to screen for Coeliac disease and to check all her blood levels. She would also need to see a dietician to help with weight gain. And finally she would also need to have a skin prick allergy test at the hospital, screening all major allergens, which was over 30 in total.

I remember leaving the appointment feeling really worried about how the hell was I going to get my gorgeous yet very vocal little girl to have a blood test AND have her skin pricked over 30 times with stuff that may seriously irritate her system.

I had spoken to friends and heard some horror stories about skin testing but knew the daily stress on her body of eating the wrong things was far worse than any test she needed.

We went to our local pathology office to get the blood test. Sitting in the waiting room there was a family with 5 kids there, 3 of whom were getting blood tests. It made me feel much ¬†more comfortable about the staff sticking a needle into Possum. I demanded Legoman be there with us as I just couldn’t be the person holding her when they took blood. I hate needles on myself let alone my beautiful daughter. They called us in and the two pathology nurses were so wonderful. Possum cottoned on quickly that something was going on and didn’t want a bar of it. Legoman held her firmly on his lap and the nurse was quick and fuss free with inserting the needle. That moment Possum locked eyes with me as if to say “Why are you letting this happen?” and burst into tears. But once the needle was there she actually stopped fighting and settled down. They took the blood, removed the needle and a gave her a hand knitted teddy. Teddy cuddles and a quick breastfeed and she was everyone’s friend again. Apparently nothing had happened!

Phew, so hurdle number one was over and done with.

Next was to wait for the call regarding the skin testing.

The day came and Possum (15 months at this point) and I packed our things to head to the big hospital. I felt a little more at ease as I used to work at this hospital and specifically on the Children’s Ward for about 3 years. I had explained to Possum what would happen, saying the nurses would draw on her back and do lots of spots on her back too. I made a very conscious effort to stay calm and happy while we were there and to explain everything that was happening in clear and simple terms.

There were two nurses, one of which was in charge. This nurse explained to us exactly what would happen and showed the list of allergens they would be testing for. On seeing Possum they were worried that they wouldn’t get them all on her back as she was so tiny! The nurse then went and got an iPad for Possum to watch Play School while they were doing the test. We don’t have TV at our house so this alone was pretty exciting for Possum.

We undressed Possum from the waist up and lay her on her tummy on a bed, with me sitting at her head with the iPad. First the nurses drew on her back so they could identify which spot was which allergen after the testing was done. Possum tolerated that just fine.

They two nurses then used droppers to place a single drop of each allergen along Possum’s back. They were working very quickly as you have limited time to keep a toddler lying still, even with Play School! Possum was still tolerating everything amazingly well.

Then using a different little metal spike for each allergen, the nurses went along and pricked her skin ever so slightly, once for every substance. This was when Possum started to go “hold on a second!”. But it wasn’t until they were 2/3 done that she started to need real distracting. But we got there, and a quick breastfeed later she was happy again. We then just had to wait 20 minutes before the results were “read” off her back. So more Play School! Hurray! And a lovely chat with the nurses.

Before we knew it the time was up and Possum was still happy! The nurse explained that now she was going to draw around any raised areas on Possum’s back which indicated some level of heightened immune response. The nurse then used stick tape (highly technical!) to “copy” the shape she drew onto the results sheet. The shapes then got measured.

The nurse explained that she herself couldn’t give a diagnostic explanation of the results but that multiple things had come up as mildly positive. None of them were life threatening (best news ever). And that we would be seeing the Specialist the next week for full results.

The amazing thing was Possum then asked the nurse, not me, to get her top back on!

So the next week, back to the hospital to go see the Specialist. The good news was her blood results were totally normal and healthy (hurray we could still have bread and pasta). The bad and good news was that yes indeed she did have multiple food allergies.

They are egg, fish/seafood, sesame, hazelnut and pecan.

We were to eliminate all the problem foods from both our diets, see him again in 6 months time and have annual skin prick testing.

Well the worst was done, and I was amazed and shocked with how well our little Poppet had handled the whole thing.

And life started to improve from there. Nappy rash cleared, sleep settled into somewhat of a manageable rhythm and the most wonderful thing was Possum grew! A lot! 4cm in one month!

So now Possum is turning 2 in 2 weeks, we have been booked for an egg food challenge twice, but both times it has been cancelled on the day as the Children’s Ward has no free beds. But I am hoping, so much, that we get the all clear to eat egg again. They will repeat the skin prick test at the same visit. Fingers and toes are crossed…

What has been your food allergy experience? I would love you to share your story.

***Like my blog? Follow on WordPress or via email***

***Come join in the fun on my Facebook Page! Lots of posts about food, parenting and general funny stuff.***

How I Found Out My Daughter Has An Egg Allergy

How I found out my daughter has an egg allergy

When I think of children and allergies I think puffy faces, difficulty breathing, severe rashes and Epi-pens. My family’s experience of food allergies has been a very very different one to that. I want to share with you our story.

My daughter was born at 40 weeks and 5 days in a pretty amazing but intense birth. We were lucky enough to not need any intervention during the delivery and after a bumpy start, we were able to start our breastfeeding journey. She was a happy little feeder but things took a turn for the worse when at 10 weeks of age, I was diagnosed with a massive breast abscess. It measured 7cm x 8xm x 4xm and required immediate hospital admission and needle drainage. Disgustingly and amazingly they removed a total of 125ml of pus from my left breast over 3 separate aspirations. During this time I was on a long and heavy dose of antibiotics.

It wasn’t until I started to feel well again, that I realised just how sick I was. My happy little feeder wasn’t bothered as I had been breastfeeding her pretty much non stop for the past month as I just didn’t have the energy to do anything else! She was fat and happy!

Fast forward to when Possum (my daughter) is around 6 months of age. I was standing in the kitchen, Possum on my hip, munching on some strawberries. Possum reached out, grabbed the strawberry from my hand and ate it! And so began our Baby Led Weaning journey.

I had read lots of info regarding babies and allergies as Legoman (hubby) and both our families have multiple allergies and figured our children would most likely have at least one allergy too. The info I had read and in discussion with our GP, supported the idea of early introduction of foods likely to cause allergies. So we basically didn’t limit what “type” of food she was offered but rather just made sure it was a suitable size, shape and texture for her.

One of her first foods was egg yolk. I had read of its wonderful nutrition for bubs and it was a lovely soft texture and easy to hold onto. I would fry up an egg and peel away the white to offer the yolk. One day, when Possum was about 7 months old, I offered her an egg yolk as I had done multiple times before, only to have her sit far back in her high chair as if she was trying to move away from it. I was a bit confused and just sat with her for a little while. After a couple of minutes she gobbled up the whole thing very happily! I thought nothing more of it and soon after put her down for a nap. She went to sleep well, and an hour later I heard funny sounds coming from her cot. I walked in to find her covered in vomit and looking distressed. I immediately picked her up only to have her vomit down my back. She sounded really snotty but was breathing well. But not crying at all. I tried breastfeeding her, only to have her vomit all the milk straight back up as well. I was starting to panic. My daughter was not a vomity kind of baby. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Possum then kept vomiting another 4 or so times, fluid pouring out of her. I called Legoman, packed the car and drove her to the local hospital. But by the time we got there, she was her happy normal self again. Utterly confused, the three of us went to a local park to have a bit of quiet time and fresh air.

After discussing it with Legoman, we both just put it down to a bad egg and didn’t think too much more of it. Just to be safe, we didn’t offer her any more egg for another a week or so, and when we did there was absolutely no reaction.

Other things were starting to happen though. Possum went from waking once in the night, to twice, to three times, four then five. She was very clingy and easily upset. Her weight seemed to level out. My once butterball of a baby was starting to look lanky. When I took her to the doctor she had dropped from the 50th centile on the growth charts to the 15th. For a baby feeding as much as she was, something wasn’t right. We had a couple more episodes of vomiting in her sleep, which weren’t associated with egg or any other consistent foods. She also then developed a horrendous nappy rash, which had large raised pock marks. A doctors visit and a couple of swabs later, nothing was identified as a cause. It wasn’t until a girlfriend said “That’s what happens to my girls when they eat something they are allergic to” that a penny dropped.

Possum had food allergies. But what the hell were they??

Ambitiously I took it upon myself to put Possum and myself on the RPA elimination diet, which looks at reducing intake of natural food chemical ie amines, salicylates and glutamates. This diet was also gluten and dairy free, but included egg.

Dinner on Day 1 was a simple egg and white rice pie. All it was, was egg, rice and chives. I don’t know if it was because she was starving but Possum gobbled up a lot of the pie for dinner. When I undressed her for her evening bath, her entire trunk and back was covered in a very fine rash. I posted a photo to social media and the consensus was an allergic reaction. So no more egg, not until we saw a specialist.

I abandoned the elimination diet after a week as it was unbearably hard and I found myself hungry and angry most of the time. It was also the week of Possum’s first birthday.

So off to the GP for a referral to an allergy clinic.

Possum had a blood test, perfectly normal.

Then we attended a large teaching hospital for Possum to receive skin prick testing for over 30 different allergens. This is when we got our answer!

Possum has allergies to egg yolk, sesame, fish, hazelnut and pecan.

All foods which she and I had been eating regularly.

Immediately both Possum and I took all these things out of our diets. Her sleep improved. Her mood improved and she started to grow. And grow a lot! 4cm in one month!

I felt a huge amount of relief to finally know what was causing my daughter’s body so much distress. I felt frustrated and sad that these foods were no longer going to be part of our family’s diet. I felt hopeful that one day she would outgrow some of them.

She is due for her egg challenge now at nearly 2 years of age. It has been booked twice only to be cancelled at the last minute by the hospital due to no beds. So we keep on waiting to hear what may happen.

Possum has been amazingly calm and accepting of her dietary limitations. No tantrums and no fuss. I think it helps that she and I have the same rules for each other (as a breastfeeding mum I don’t eat her allergens as they can be passed on to her through my breastmilk). It can make birthday parties, going out to eat and general play dates hard. We always pack plenty of our own food incase there isn’t something suitable and meal planning has¬†eased alot of stress. We have learnt to read ingredients on EVERYTHING, as quite often allergens are snuck into foods unsuspectingly.

I am grateful Possum’s allergies are not anaphylactic. But the chronic stress her body was experiencing was a horrible thing to witness.

I hope our story has given a different perspective on what having a child with food allergies can be like. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a message below.

***Like my blog? Have new posts delivered to your inbox! Just Follow on WordPress!***

***Come join in the fun at my Facebook Page! Lots of info on food, baby led weaning and family fun!***