Monday, July 30, 2012

Annoying products 2

We've been dealing with life-threatening food allergies for nearly 3 years now and every now and then I am tempted to relax a little bit. Afterall, all the other kids around us and all the other parents around us seem to be able to relax more... or so it seems right?!

Well, whenever I am struck with these thoughts, something comes along to jolt me back into vigilance... I was going to type vigilante mode since that's what it FEELS like at times! But no, vigilance is what is needed, not some battle-seeking vigilante mode.

We were at a medical facility - the one place where you would think should be reasonably safe for a child... but then I noticed a bottle of bacteria killing lotion on the bench for everyone to use. These days all the hospitals seem to have them, and actively encourage you to use it to prevent the spreading of bacteria. We had just been in one of the offices where I had used some to clean my hands after an urgent nappy change of our new little bub. That office was dark and I was in a rush so I hadn't read any labels. But in the reception area, I realised with horror that this container had MACADAMIA OIL added! How absolutely ridiculous! Can nothing be made without the presence of nuts?!?! Can you imagine if this was used in hospitals?? Every nurse and doctor would be putting it on their hands, then touching every handrail, every door handle, every piece of equipement... Aaargh!

The other source of food contaminant was in a loaf of bread... I know - so simple. Our son does eat white bread since he's outgrown his wheat allergy. We tend to buy just one brand of bread, made in a large facility, to minimise contamination. Afterall, we're still not sure about his sensitivity to sesame, we know linseed gives diarreah, and all other nuts are on the anaphylactic list. I've stayed away from wholegrain breads since the possibility of an allergic reaction increases with the number of ingredients. Seems neurotic, I know, but then I get given a loaf of bread... looks white... looks fine, until you read the fine print: oat fibre. Yup, in an attempt to increase the fibre content I guess, the producer has added finely ground oats - so the kids can't see it I suppose. Our son is still allergic to oats! So stay strong I tell myself... stay neurotic! I need to!

So that's our latest list of annoying products - the lesson for us? Stay on alert at all times, never stop reading product labels each and every time you buy something, and never let your guard down. Sound tiring? Yes, a little but it's worth it.

Thanks Tiffany for the cartoon, and bringing a lighter side to living with food anaphylaxis.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Welcome Baby Cameron!

Welcome to our family little baby Cameron!
Our not so little cherub is 6 weeks old now and very much a part of our family! We waited and waited for him to come by himself, but after 39 weeks, it was time to come out. I'd been experiencing so many Braxton Hicks leading up to his birth, I was convinced he would come early. But as it turned out, once I adhered to doctor's orders of strict bed rest after my pre-eclampsia diagnosis, those contractions decreased a lot. He was born by cesarean section, and weighed in at a hefty 3.8kg! That was more than 0.5kg heavier than our first born.

And so it begins, the endless comparisons between first and second child... get used to it buddy!

Actually, even at the age of 3, our first born hardly has hints of chinese heritage, but this little guy could maybe be chinese! How surprising, that the same parents produce such different little kiddies.

Then of course there is the question of allergies - well we just don't know do we??!?

As a precaution this time around, we were adamant that Cameron would not be given any dairy formula as a top up in hospital. We tried to convince the attending Paediatrician to write us a script for Elecare, a hydrolysed formula for babies with severe allergies to dairy and soy, but were unsuccessful. In Australia, it appears that a formal diagnosis is needed before we can get government subsidies for this type of formula. Unfortunately the Elecare we had for our first son had all expired and had to be thrown in the bin... what a waste :-( Wow, my sympathy goes out to parents in the US where I believe you have to pay privately for this formula. When we bought a tin of it privately, it cost us 6 times the price it would have been under the government subsidy... Believe me my North American readers, our Australian Medicare system where everybody pays a little bit extra in tax to pay for our health system is well worth the money!

My main focus while at hospital was to get that milk in! Never before has breastfeeding been more important to us - There was a lot of bed rest, a lot of eating, and a little bit of expressing when I could be bothered. Fortunately, everything worked out well, and my milk came in a day earlier than before and there was no need to specially treat our son's jaundice. It was interesting to see the nurse's reactions whenever they read our details with strict instructions of "NO FORMULA" written across all the paperwork.

Now that we're home, baby Cameron is growing well - we're always on the look out for tell tale signs of an allergy and have been extra vigilant with washing hands etc. I really don't know what lies ahead for him in the years to come, but there is a rather long list of doctor's appointments to be made. I am certain though that there will be a lot of love, laughter and excitement in the years to come.

Welcome home...

(Ps. please forgive my rather disjointed thought sequences for the next few months... sleep deprivation is taking its toll!)