Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day reflections

A friend recently posted this status on her Facebook account: ♥ I've carried a baby within my body. I've slept with a baby on my chest. I have kissed boo boos, mended broken hearts, been puked on, peed on and pooped on & spent sleepless nights in a rocking chair. But I wouldn't have it any other way. My body isn't magazine perfect, but when I look into the mirror I see a mom, and there is no greater honor or blessing. Make this your status if you're proud to be a mom ♥  I wanted to add a line about being the mom of an allergic child but Facebook has a character limit so here are my reflections and a bit of our story....

I will never forget the call I received from the Doctor. "Are you sitting down?  I'm sorry to tell you, you have a very allergic child. Do you have a pen? She tested positive for Peanut, tree nut, egg, soy, dairy, peas, chickpeas and all legumes."  I was in shock.  I felt sick.  I had NO idea what this meant for my child.  The doctor gave me the website address for FAAN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) and recommended some books and hung up.  Shortly thereafter,  I went in for Epi Pen training.  Sitting in the office with my 18 month old baby on my lap as the nurse explained how to inject her with medication was surreal.  The fear, anxiety and stress was overwhelming.  The first time I went into a grocery store to shop for food for her I left crying.  I went through all the phases people go through when faced with a serious medical diagnosis-fear, anger, anxiety and finally acceptance. I recall telling my sister "Well, if she could die from her allergies, I want to be sure she has as many wonderful life experiences as possible, just in case."  I bought books about allergies, joined online web groups, researched, found a pediatric allergist and armed myself with as much knowledge as I could.  I set rules, taught myself to make bread, bagels,  & croissants and vowed I would keep her safe AND be sure she enjoyed her life.  Alexa will be 6 next week and thankfully we have only had one ER visit and one dose of Epinephrine during this time.  However, when I hear stories about children who are in comas or have died from their allergic reactions, it reminds me how lucky we are.  Her allergens can hide in the most innocent of items but I'm thankful everyday for my precious girl (and my wonderful son).  I'm thankful for each day she is healthy and happy and does not have to worry about her allergies or feel excluded or different.  I now feel more confident about feeding her, eating out, and leaving her in the care of others but I remain watchful and can never fully relax.  I hope other mom's can relate to this story and realize that being a parent can be a challenging job but also amazing and incredibly rewarding.  Just look at that face of this beautiful girl!! I pray everyday for a cure or treatment for her allergies so that she may just go out and enjoy her life without worry of hidden dangers.  This week is Food Allergy Awareness Week.   It would mean the world to us if you would please share this post with your friends in honor of our allergic girl.  

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