Last week we had a routine check up at the hospital with Elsie’s paediatrician. Usually we marvel at how well she’s doing, despite the reflux and allergies. Despite her rocky beginnings. Despite the agonising months we spent fearing the worse. This time though, we came away with a trebled dose of medication for the reflux and a steroid inhaler for restricted airways possibly related to asthma, possibly allergies. It felt like a step backwards. A falter where other babies were moving onwards and upwards. A stumble in the path where other babies were sailing.
I shouldn’t compare. But I do. Elsie’s doctor feels that she is prone to multiple allergies (not life threatening, merely annoying and uncomfortable) but there are also asthma links to consider too. Being just 17 months old she is too young to be diagnosed as asthmatic, and so it’s just another diagnosis we cannot get our hands on just yet. Another answer eluding us for the time being. But as we always remind ourselves, we are so lucky it isn’t so much worse. So, so lucky.
So we’re dealing with possibilities. Potentials for. Chances of. A dairy allergy is really only 95% certain. Same goes for soya, and then there is the potential for egg and wheat allergies too. Since she is dairy and soya free, the doctor agrees that there could be other food stuffs that are causing reactions in her little body, but testing is just not accurate enough. Nor is it entirely necessary, since she’s so healthy.
And that’s what we hold on to. She’s doing so well. Born just under the 2nd centile, she is now resting neatly on the 50th! She is meeting all of her milestones and is she is one seriously happy little girl. So there’s just no need to stick needles in her arms once a month. And we cannot cut much else from her diet at the moment as she is already on a very restricted plan as it is.
So we’re treating what we can. Despite reassurances that most babies grow out of reflux by the age of 12 months or so, I knew Elsie would be different. This stumble won’t make us fall. Instead of weaning her from her medication, we’re increasing her dose. That’s frustrating. But it is what it is. We are now also about to start steroid treatment for her cough, which has been present pretty much since birth. She also wheezes, and we’re hoping the inhaler is going to help with that: ultimately, I want more sleep… So watch this space!
Unfortunately as she’s been exposed to chicken pox recently we can’t begin the steroid inhaler treatment just yet, so for now we wait. And we’re getting better at waiting too.
How much of this is down to IUGR I really don’t know. I was given steroids for her lungs before she was born, because the doctors weren’t happy to leave her inside any longer than 37 weeks. Those last weeks would have been essential for her lung development, but I’ve been assured that the steroids helped to mature her lungs so the fact she was born early has no bearing on what is happening now. But still. The curse of IUGR means that you question it all.
Lots of IUGR babies struggle with reflux due to immature digestive systems. From what I’ve read, premature babies can be more prone to asthma, and IUGR can be a factor in this- and though Elsie was born at 37 weeks, this gestation is not the same for an IUGR baby. Those final few weeks make all the difference when your baby is struggling to grow inside.
So the questions whirl on around us and all we can really do is wait it out, again. Take each day as it comes and hope that her symptoms eventually start to ease. Because nothing worth doing is ever going to be easy. But it’s always going to be worth it.
I’d love your support in the 2016 blogging awards. Being nominated is a wonderful way to raise awareness of issues that matter, and with your support I can help give a voice to families who have experienced an IUGR pregnancy. This will lead to better understanding for health care professionals when it comes to helping and supporting women and families. It will also lead to better understanding for us all, so that women like me can access support and information when it is so vitally needed. Thank you!
Please click the links below to nominate me in the following categories: Inspire, Writer, Reader’s Choice, Best baby, Best Writer.