It all started when I got pregnant. Well, it started way before that but let us for the time being ignore all that part!
I was 33 years old and had gotten used to the life where only my husband and I was involved mostly. A life where I was used to going to work, coming back home and chilling out! My life had a routine. Always wake up at 5 am and in bed at 10:30 and that is how I had lived most of my life till then!
I always wanted to adopt a child. But hubby dear was not in agreement. So there you go, we decided to have a baby and a baby was on its way! I am one of those happy and cheerful people and I hardly show any fears on my face!
I also went, well, it is something most women do – have a baby. What is scary about it? What should I read up about it? So I took it a bit easy. Which was probably the first in a series of mistakes! I also listen to people around me – my second mistake!
Things went fine, that is what I thought. OK, well, I had all day sickness in the first trimester. But other than that, I travelled to India, went on a holiday to Srinagar, Amritsar, Kochi, etc. Came back to Dublin and everything was normal. I went for my 5K lunch time walks, went swimming, ate healthy and did everything I thought was right!
Just six weeks before my due date, hubby dear decided it was a great idea to go play league cricket and break his leg! Well, of course, he did not choose to do it, but it happened and we had to deal with it! Me with my big belly and no help, running around between hospital and home and taking care of everything including shopping and all other outside work. Thankfully I was working from home most of the time so it was not that bad.
My due date came and went and people were calling me constantly to find out if my baby had arrived! After being overdue for something like 12 days, I got the first hint of pain. My parents had arrived for help by then. I was told it was false pain and had to wait. Finally, everyone gave up, broke my waters and waited for nearly 24 hours for the baby to come out and then he was given antibiotics because it was that long since the water broke! Till date I regret having my waters broken, giving him antibiotics and not doing delayed cord clamping.
Breastfeeding came naturally so at least there was no problem there! But listening to my parents who asked me to give water to the baby was another big mistake. I had cough because of the “gas and air” that I used as pain relief and my long labour had given me incontinence! I was frustrated and ended up taking antibiotics, which screwed up a lot of things I think, specially with respect to my son’s allergies! Add that to my list of mistakes!
Starting solids early was another one of those mistakes! Again listened to my family and did that mistake. If I had read up a bit or checked online I would have known not to start solids till he was six months. Because I started early there was a bit of traditional weaning involved too. I would have loved it to be baby led weaning all the way. But again, I hardly knew anything about it!
I went to India when my baby was hardly two months old and I had to struggle with a lot of things. If I did it all over again now, I would have just stayed back in Ireland and enjoyed the sleep, feed and do your own work and ignore the rest of the world routine! But sometimes we learn from our mistakes and sometimes we don’t!
When Abhi was 6 months old – exactly six months old a very tired me gave a very tired, hungry and cranky baby some yogurt and as a result we were in the emergency an hour later! Within a month, we had discovered that he had life threatening allergies to peanut, egg and milk. I was trying to cheer myself saying
I was trying to cheer myself saying at least I knew it now and can deal with it! The next few months were spent on doing my research on allergies! A worried mother does better research than FBI of course! I learnt about mold and how that affected allergies. I spoke to every single person who I thought might know something about allergies. I found that allergens need not necessarily be ingested, sometimes even touch can create problems. I discovered the hard way that my son was one of them for whom even just touching milk would give rashes and hives! Decided to make my home allergen free, gave up all dairy, egg and peanuts and started afresh!
Tried explaining people about being allergen free home, had to argue, fight and give up! In the meanwhile son had a few reactions that should have made me rush to emergency but hubby decided a dose of medicine should do and we would wait it out! I spent entire days and nights holding him in my hand and hoping he will be fine.
Slowly cut down my friends circle and I continued to work from home and continued to breastfeed. His skin (eczema) got better but allergies remained. Simple things like vaccines were a problem. I had to get him admitted in hospital for his MMR vaccine because MMR has egg protein! I learnt to read and re-read labels and ingredients and also learnt the tough way again not to take anything for granted! Who knew popcorn would have milk powder in it?
As all this was going on I noticed certain things that made me think things were not alright. My son would play with the car, not like a normal child but with it upside down and spinning its wheels. I noticed he was super sensitive to sound and crowd. I took it for granted it was because of his allergies that he was sensitive to crowd. Because I was way too busy handling his allergies I put this in the back burner. He was intelligent and was passing tests for milestones twice his age anyway! So I was not too bothered! Yet another mistake.
Roughly 15 months after his birth, I gave up my job and decided to sit at home full time as my second baby was on its way! This time, I decided to be super careful about anything so that my second child would be allergy free!