Monday, July 9, 2007

Hives are for the bees

This morning, I took off Maggie's jammies to discover hives all across her back and tummy. Poor baby was covered and scratching like crazy! As it was the first day of our new employee, I could not take time off to take her to the doctor. So, slightly stressed (and so out of sorts that I ended up taking the WRONG laptop to work today--ARGH!), I called Andrew to schedule a doctor's appointment. Instead of taking her to the babysitter's, I took a cute little hive baby to Andrew's work. We did the baby exchange (note the joys of being a working parent!) and I headed off to work. Late of course since I had to rearrange a few things and make phone calls. Good first impression for the new employee--good thing she volunteered with us for months now and she knows us!

An allergic reaction to food most likely, the doctor said. But what? She ate nothing out of the ordinary, or so I thought. I called my mom who took her to dinner last night to give me the run down of what she ate for dinner. Just pasta, spinach dip, applesauce, and some chicken. All normal stuff. Well, my mom called back a few hours later to say she remembered my grandmother feeding her pasta with clam and shrimp. So, we think it is a shellfish allergy! Poor baby--we've avoided shellfish up until now. Given that her daddy is allergic to all raw vegetables and fresh fruit (yes, you read that correctly--ALL fresh fruit and veggies are even worse), we are very cautious on trying new foods. Mom Mom feels terrible that something she gave Maggie caused her this problem. I am in no way mad at the situation, we were bound to find out at some point.

You know, you would think that by this point, Andrew and I would have gotten more comfortable with common childhood problems for Maggie. But, sadly, no we haven't. Instead, we get nervous every time. When will our time come when the floor falls out from under us again? We have a feeling of impending doom every time we go to the doctor for something other than a well visit for her. Poor Maggie--she's had her blood tested six times in the last year and a half! I need the results because I need to know she doesn't have cancer. I need to know that whatever is causing a random fever or rash isn't going to kill her in five months.

Morbid? Maybe, but after what we have been through, we can't help it. One week, our healthy happy baby had a sinus infection, five months later she died in my arms of a rare cancer. That kind of fear never leaves you. We can't look at a rash of hives and think allergic reaction. We look at it and make the leap to something much worse. We dread a doctor walking into a room and closing the door. If you have ever seen two pediatrician's enter a room and close the door, you know you're in for bad news.

I'm happy to report that a little benadryl made the hives go away and we now know that shellfish is the culprit. We are breathing a little easier than we were this morning to know she is ok. The fear and anxiety has subsided a bit, but we know it will flare up the next time she coughs, gets a little more tired, bruises, or especially has a fever. Maybe when she's twenty we'll stop testing her blood. Maybe.


Kiwi said...

I'm glad that Maggie if feeling better. Ya know, my 3-yr old has had some kind of break out right around her waist for a couple of weeks now. We first thought that it was masquito bites bc she had been outside playing, but now reading your post, i'm wondering if she isn't allergic to something...hmm. Anyway, sorry to get sidetracked.
I have been following your family's story for a long time now, and I can certainly see why you'd be leary. I think any normal parent, who's been through anything like what you guys have been would be too.
Maggie is precious, and you and Andrew are such great parents.

Hope you have a great, stress-free week :)

Jenni said...

Jenny, sorry Maggie had a reaction to shellfish, at least you found the cause quickly. The things we have in common are growing...same name, daughter born in the same time and..........yes a husband with allergies to fresh fruit and vegetable!! Can't believe there is somebody with the same allergy as my husband!! it's a pain cooking for him...that's why I let him do it all ;) lol!

Anonymous said...

Hey girl - you know you can call (yes call!) me anytime and vent. I hope the fear subsides just a little each and every time that you have a "normal" health scare with Maggie...that is my wish for you. Love you!

Carolein said...


You have every right to be on alert. Luckily my son hasn't had any reactions to anything we've given him yet. That little Maggie is so precious. Thinking of you guys always!


Kristen said...

Food allergies are such a pain. My niece is allergic to peanuts, and it scares me so. I'm so glad to hear little Maggie (and her parents) are feeling better.

Elle said...

It's scary not knowing what an allergic reaction may be caused by. I know when mine were little, I was paranoid every time they tried something new.

I don't think you are being "morbid". I think after all you have been through with Allie, you are just looking out for Maggie. You want to do everything you can to protect her. I can't imagine having gone through all that you guys have. If it brings you peace of mind to have these things checked out - what is the harm in it?

Hope Maggie is feeling better soon!!! I'm in shock your hubby is allergic to ALL fresh fruits and veggies. Must make it hard for you to cook meals.

LaDeeda Photography said...

I wish you didn't have to live with the fear of Maggie getting cancer with every illness she experiences. Although not in your shoes, I understand it.

Your post was so touching because of understanding motherly love. Sorry about the allergy to shellfish but at least you know about it now.

Have a great week!

Dana said...

I'm so glad Maggie is feeling better, and that you were able to pinpoint the likely food causing the issues.

My heart aches for you guys whenever you describe what you go through when Maggie gets sick. I can't even say "I can imagine what it feels like" because I can't. But, I do feel for you and wish I could give you a big hug!!

On another note, we were in TX (Dallas/Arlington for a wedding, then went to Forth Worth at the stockyards before catching our plane back on Sunday) and I thought of you guys. It was my first time in TX, I didn't realize how BIG the cities were!! Anyway, just an aside, I'll stop babbling now!


Saint Richard said...

Too bad on the shellfish allergy. Oh, the wonderful meals she'll miss out on. Shrimp tacos, Clams Casino, Lobster Ravioli.

Now a fresh fruit and veggie allergy...that just sounds like something I tried to pull with my Mom...Uh, no, mom...*cough cough*...I think I might be allergic to cauliflower *cough cough* jk

I know that we had this discussion when you visited. It's heartbreaking that you must endure that worry every time Maggie coughs, or god forbid, comes down with a fever. I truly hope that some day you will be able to give her a little bit of Motrin, and sit her in front of the TV and simply believe that it will go away.

justmommy said...

Poor thing. I'm happy to hear it ws nothing too serious. Thank goodness for Benedryl. Missy is allergic to shellfish. I know she'll have to watch Aiden and Brandon for that as well. I can't imagine that constant feeling of the worst with every illness. Think of you often. Love the new blog, have I mentioned that? :)


LW said...

Well, I can so relate on the food allergy issue. Matt is allergic to eggs and peanuts so it's very stressful even without your added experience. I can't imagine how you feel. Everytime he coughs or starts hives I worry about him having a severe reaction that could be deadly because he's never been exposed to peanuts so we don't know the reaction. It's no fun. Hopefully both Maggie and Matt will outgrow their allergies since a lot of kids do. Wow, Andrew is allergic to veggies and fruit. Ugh.



Sharon Lawson said...

Have I told you lately how much I love you? I know you think you're almost invisible to me at times, 'cause the sun rises and sets by Maggie (no denying that!).. but the truth is, I am SO very proud of you! I want you to know that! You couldn't have turned out to be a better person... you're a great mom, and a great daughter and I feel lucky to be your mom. You've had two remarkable baby girls who I love forever and when and if you have another baby - I'll be estastic. But, when and if that happens is totally up to you and Andrew. I have not and will not bug you about having another. It'll happen if it's meant to happen. Maggie's at a fun age. We'll continue to enjoy her every minute! What a character!
P.S. Mom Mom feels so bad about giving Mag the pasta. I really think that's what did it. Rest assured, that won't be happening again! She obviously has a severe sensitivity to it, because my mom really gave her only a few pasta noodles (that's why I didn't even remember it until I wracked my brain). Just having the noodles served with the shrimp was obviously enough to cause the problem. I'm glad she didn't get an actual piece of shrimp. I shutter to think that it could have been worse.
Love ya! Mom