Thursday, January 17, 2013

A new home, a new baby

I haven't posted to the blog in a really long time and I feel terrible that I haven't even checked the comments in months! I just assume there's probably nobody out there reading about our quirky journey with food allergies and diet, but then I checked in and I had four amazing comments from people out there who are fighting the good fight, trying to find answers for their children. I am always in awe of people on this journey, and somehow much more readily able to see the awesomeness of their work than the awesomeness of mine. But we are all in this together, healing our children and hopefully staying sane in the process :)

I find it funny that my last post was on September 10 and in it I was musing about what the next chapter held for me, whether I was being called to write about our story or whether I should have another child. This is so funny to me because six days later we conceived our second child, who we just found out yesterday is going to be a boy. I am beyond excited. I have wanted this little sibling for Ellie for a long time, probably even before I had her, and yet it felt wrong to bring another child into the family because of how much she needed from us.

Because of course parenting a kid with unidentified food issues isn't just challenging because of the cooking and the doctors appointments and the research - it's challenging to parent a kid who feels crummy all the time. A kid who can't sleep because she has a tummy ache - again. A kid who needs you so deeply that she can't handle you talking to another person right now. A kid who is wired for no apparent reason and having potty accidents because I fed her the wrong food. So a second child was off the table for a long time. It was really hard for me, and a sacrifice we made for Ellie and her health. But then we started Ketotifen and had a glorious stretch of good health and my husband and I decided it was time to go for it.

So here I am, 19 weeks pregnant and sitting in our home in Los Angeles.

Ha! So in addition to getting pregnant in the fall, we also moved from Portland to LA. It's been a very busy season of life.

I could write about so many things that have happened. I could write about how tricky it is to manage Hashimoto's during a pregnancy, or how hard (impossible, I found) it is to stay grain-free during the first trimester when just the thought of meat kind of made me want to barf. I could write about how we've lost $200 of Ellie's Ketotifen during the holidays and how we've been without it for about five out of the past six weeks and how hellish that's been. (And validating, that things were a mess before we started it and they really did get so much better when she got on it.) I could write about how I still screw up as a parent on a regular basis, like when I fed Ellie a snack with seaweed in it the other day, completely forgetting that it's extremely high in salicylates, and then criticized her for wetting her pants at the park. Oh, God, isn't it so hard to forgive yourself when you so royally screw up like that?

But honestly my focus has completely shifted. I don't think about Ellie's food issues and her diet very much at all lately. With the loss of Ketotifen (I am waiting, extremely impatiently, for another batch to arrive from England) I really do need to be paying more attention because the Ketotifen was a little bit like having a blank check. Within certain parameters I have set up (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, sugar-free) I was really able to feed her just about anything. Now, not so much. And yet now I find it so hard to pull my attention back to her diet. I have baby brain, I suppose. I also think my capacity to focus so intensely on her diet just ran its course and I had to relax to stay sane.

Instead my focus has moved on to things like figuring out whether four people can sleep in a king-sized bed, or how on earth you take care of a tiny baby penis, or how I need to start knitting blue and green things, or whether I can get away with putting this little boy in his sister's pink all-in-one diapers. My focus has shifted to finding our tribe here in LA and meeting lots and lots of new people. I am a natural introvert and I have been challenging myself to "get out there" and meet people for Ellie's sake. My focus has also shifted to researching and thinking about homeschooling, which I feel more and more drawn to as Ellie gets older. (She is three-and-a-half now!) As she said to me the other day, "Mama, I am three-and-a-half and I think I can make this decision on my own." Yikes. But we're connecting with the homeschooling community here in LA and finding it to be full of fantastic people. So we're off on a new adventure and most certainly well into our new chapter. It is exciting, daunting and full of possibility.


  1. Hello, thank you for writing all you have about ketotifen and I am so glad it has helped your daughter. My son has colitis and extreme salicylate/amine sensitivity. He is on SCD but the sensitivities are making it impossible. Could you say where you get the ketotifen in England and what the extra ingredients are (if any) We are in Germany and although our wonderful GI has agreed to let us try Ketotifen, all they have here is a syrup or tablets with corn starch and lactose. Any information would be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Angela,

      I'm so glad our discovery of Ketotifen might be helpful to you and others. We order ours through because it is not sold in the US for internal consumption (there are ketotifen eye drops here for seasonal allergies). The first few times we ordered it was sourced from Turkey but for whatever reason this time it was going to come from England. It takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r for it to get here and there's no "express shipping" option, which is absolutely horrible when your kid is experiencing tummy aches day in and day out and you can do anything but wait. So hard!

      I found the same thing that you're finding - being on a grain-free diet while limiting salicilates (and I didn't even have to worry about amines!) is nearly impossible. We reached a point where we had to add gluten-free grains just to have something to feed Ellie and it really worked for her, so I'm grateful for that. I mean, if your kid can't eat many fruits and vegetables, how are you supposed to also cut out grains? Also, we have been able to successfully add in limited goat yogurt and cheese, which has been a great help.

      Good luck, and feel free to post with follow-up questions!


    2. PS I forgot to mention we order it in tablet form and my daughter just chews the pills before meals.

  2. Hi Annie,
    Even though my issues are nowhere close to yours, I do enjoy reading your blog on a regular basis.
    Congrats on the pregnancy!! I have two boys and both are uncircumsized and so far we've had no issues (they're 8.5 and 3 now). Of course it helps that DH is from Europe so he's uncirced as well! Yes, 4 people can (and at our house, regularly do) sleep in a king size bed. It's an investment worth making!! I loved cosleeping with both of my boys. I just now transitioned my 3 YO to his own bed but he still comes over about half the time sometime around 3 am. All the best!

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I'm so glad to hear someone else has successfully co-slept with four! We are just so happy co-sleeping with Ellie, I can't imagine kicking her out anytime soon.