As an expecting mother I envisioned the way I wanted to raise my children and have a professional career. I wanted to instill some of the same family traditions that I had taken part in as well as start new traditions. I thought about having themed birthday parties, trying healthy recipes and traveling the world. I contemplated childcare situations and future education for my precious kids. I envisioned taking 3 months off, then gently going back part time and building up to full time after the second birthday. I really thought all of this was a perfect game plan.
Then there was the birth of our third baby. Everything went smoothly and she was a healthy 9lb 2oz baby girl born at home. My envisioned game plan was still in place. At 2 months old she started having horrible eczema and really bad reflux symptoms which were not improving. As a mother, especially a naturopath, I felt like I was failing at discovering the underlining issue. She had imaging and was being seen by a fantastic pediatrician, with no answers. When she was 4 months old, we decided to give her an excellent product for eczema and reflux. She immediately had anaphylaxis to the product. We rushed her to the local hospital and onto being transported to the Children's hospital. At the first hospital her blood work came back extremely abnormal. We were in the hospital for 8 days before being released without a definite diagnosis. Months later she was given the diagnoses of Hereditary Spherocytosis and Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE).
During these months leading up to the proper diagnoses, our family's world was unraveling. My naturopathic office was having to be put on hold, my life evolved around driving to the children's hospital multiple times per week for testing and treatment. My husband and I spent countless hours researching the diseases as well as natural treatments. The medical doctors did not always agree or understand our approaches. It was extremely exhausting fighting for my rights to breastfeed my child, and not to do the harsh medications and feeding tubes. My husband changed careers and relocated during this exhausting time, which left me tending to the stress of an ill child. I managed working limited hours for months. Some patients were understanding, but not all. After a scary allergic reaction that required airlift to the Children's hospital due to respiratory distress, our flight nurses and ER doctors advised that we needed to move closer to the hospital. This expedited our relocation to Spokane, WA.
Life as we once knew it changed. Everything changed. We can not be careless anymore or free spirited about where we go. With the Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE) she has anaphylaxis to most foods, along with severe environmental allergies. Planning a trip requires knowing where the EpiPen is located and how close the nearest hospital is to us. Childcare is extremely difficult to come by due to the possibility of another child dropping a crumb on the floor and she picking it up. Things that most people never think about are now in our awareness each day.
All of those plans I had years ago are just reminders that life doesn't always go as expected. I am now having to be extremely creative with birthday celebrations and holidays. We live life to the fullest and are grateful for our little girl. She is doing amazing and I will write on that in the future. My daughter's health conditions are definitely influencing the way I practice medicine and my appreciation for caregivers. Life has changed and we now embrace our new life.