Sunday, October 10, 2010

The First Diagnosis

The next couple weeks we were back and forth between the pediatrician and the GI several times. I was pleased at the amount of communication that went on between the two. I went on a drastic elimination diet in an attempt to see improvement in her vomiting and diarrhea. I had already eliminated dairy and soy, and over the next couple weeks I had eliminated all of the top allergens as well, and was down to eating mostly vegetables. There was no improvement in Elianna. Diapers were less bright red, but she was still extremely lethargic, crying and vomiting a lot, and not meeting milestones. We had received the diagnosis of milk/soy protein intolerance. (*note: they now know that the soy protein is extremely similar in structure to the diary protein, thus dairy protein issues should include the elimination of soy as well) The GI had sent us home with a can of over the counter Nutramigen Lipil, and encouraged me to give it a shot. I took one look at the back of the can and cried. How could these ingredients be better for her than breast milk? It made no sense. And the price tag on this formula was going to be a hardship.

I felt affirmed when the pediatrician thought it bizarre to tell me to stop EBF, and was on the phone again with the GI. The result was the pediatrician telling me that I had to eat, and that she was only getting worse. Sometime around 12 weeks Elianna filled her diaper yet again with blood, and I was on the phone with the GI to tell them there was no improvement with my elimination diet. The nurse called back and very firmly informed me that if I did not start the formula THAT night, Elianna would be too anemic and must be hospitalized. I became angry as she said to me, "I know this sounds counter-intuitive, and makes no sense, but you need to trust us on this one. You have to start her tonight." I hung up the phone and cried. I made a bottle, handed it to Jason, and went for a walk.

When I returned, the house was quiet, and Elianna was on the floor in the living room. She had drank the entire bottle. I walked over and took a cautious look. She was moving, smiling, and extremely active. So active that I immediately thought she was having an adverse reaction to the formula and was having some type of seizure. In my panic, Jason put his arm around me and said "honey, look at her. She is happy after eating, she is smiling, and she is active like we have never seen her before". He was right! I did not even recognize her because she was not vomiting, screaming in pain, or laying like a lump. Amazing!

Within 48 hours her diapers no longer included visible blood, and her behavior improved (less fussiness and signs of pain). Her diapers resembled that of an EBF baby, so to me things were looking fantastic. The GI had been correct, and she could not even digest the protein structure in my breast milk. We had found an answer (for now). Hallelujah!

(The insurance company refused to pay for her formula because she had not been hospitalized, and so we began footing the expense which ranged between $500 - $800 a month to feed her.)

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