Amelia has been sick for a very long time, nearly half a year when I count the days. The long and short of it? Chronic respiratory and digestive issues as well as poor weight gain, causes not entirely known. In the past few months, she has been medicated, x-rayed, tested for parasites and foreign diseases... pretty much everything short of more invasive measures. We have been told her issues were potentially caused by everything from teething to cystic fibrosis (that was a scary 48 hours, but her test processed quickly and came back very negative.)
There was a while, it seemed, that we lived at the doctor's office, making several trips a week. When her pediatrician couldn't help us, we were sent to a pediatric gastroenterologist in Kalamazoo. The specialist has had us avoid soy and dairy (common sensitivities for babies) for the past couple of months to see if it would help. It has been really difficult, especially since Amelia loved cheese, and soy is in every product imaginable these days. We've made it work for us with almond milk, coconut yogurt, whole foods, and all sorts of vegan recipes and treats.
Little by little, things have gotten better. Her digestive system slowed down enough for her blistering diaper rash to heal, and her respiratory problems aren't as severe either. I wouldn't say she is 100% back to normal, but then what is normal when it comes to babies, anyway? Babies shoot poop up their backs and think rocks are edible.
Last week, after yet another doctor's visit, we finally got the okay from the specialist to begin incorporating small amounts of dairy and soy back into her diet. We started this past weekend, mixing about an ounce of cow's milk into her usual almond-coconut blend. We've noticed a slight shift, but overall she's doing really well! Hopefully we are on the right track. Since I'm still nursing her and dairy can stay in a mama's system for a full two weeks, I will be avoiding it for a bit longer to make sure Amelia's system can fully handle dairy (but oh do I dream of the day when I can have cheese pizza for dinner and ice cream for dessert!)
Originally, I wasn't going to share this part of our life on GH. I'm still not sure this story is mine to tell - something I struggle with as a mom on social media. But the more I've been thinking about it, the more I realize that I turn to the internet a lot when Amelia is sick. Although one quick Google search of an illness can send you down a dark spiraling path of rare diseases, complicated medical sites and scary images, it can also uncover stories of families who are going through the same issues, and hearing about those experiences can be invaluable. So perhaps our story will help you or someone you know. Sometimes I really do hate the internet, but mostly I am reminded of the good that it can bring, too.