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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

the worst day of my life

Where have I been?!  Who knows.... probably busy chasing a toddler and a very mobile infant.  Whew, parenthood is no joke.  Lots of laughs, and tons of joy, but it's not for the faint of heart!  Between the boys and working full-time, things have been a little, well, busy.  So much has happened, I couldn't even try to fit it into a recap post; it's just too much.  Regardless, I wanted to get back into blogging for one big reason - allergies.  Food allergies, to be exact.

In the last four-ish months, our family has been greatly affected by the crazy world of food allergies.  I never thought much about food allergies in kids, primarily because I was blissfully unaware of how hard life could be when affected by them, but also simply because they didn't affect me.  Not my family.  Not my kids.

On Saturday, April 25 I came home from a work trip...exhausted.  We grabbed a quick late lunch on our way home from the airport and I told BL I was going to do a simple dinner and put the kids to bed right after dinner.  Did I mention I was lazy tired?!

Haynes was old enough to try eggs, and Max loves his "cheesy eggys" so that's what I whipped up for dinner.  Knowing this was a highly allergenic food, I stripped him down to his diaper so I could see his skin.  At the very worst, I thought he would get a little rash if the eggs didn't agree with him.  I was tired and not thinking things through, because I have always followed the "new things in the morning" rule in case of a reaction.  Remember, my plan was to put them to bed right after dinner... {I still shutter a bit thinking of what would have happened if his reaction didn't come on quick}

Haynes loved the eggs, gobbled them all right up and smiled the whole way!  About 15 minutes after he started eating, he was done and ready for his bottle.  I grabbed him out of his seat and noticed some splotchy areas on his chest and neck, so I asked BL to come in and verify that it wasn't my eyes.  He agreed, and I said "well, I guess he has a little allergy or something?" so I grabbed my phone and called the most knowledgeable person I know...my mom :) I remember asking about what an allergic reaction to eggs could look like, and as I was talking I noticed his lymph nodes behind his ears were growing, and already the size of a small blueberry.  I abruptly got off the phone with my mom and called urgent care to make sure they would stay open for us, and I packed up the baby to head out the door.  I had just been gone for 6 days and my 2 year old was screaming bloody murder that I was leaving him again.  I was crying, he was crying, baby was swelling and BL was praying.

I want to stop here and say that I now know I should have called 9-1-1 and let help come to us.  I had no clue.  If you're child is having a bad reaction and swelling quickly, don't hesitate, call 9-1-1.

The baby and I made our 15-minute drive to urgent care and I was checking to make sure he was breathing every chance I got.  Thinking "why in the hell am I driving and not calling 9-1-1?!" but honestly didn't think they could get me there any faster.

Children's Healthcare Urgent Care was super fast to get us in and so helpful in my panicked state.  They informed me that his airways looked clear and they would give him Benedryl and a shot of epineperine to counteract the reaction, and then we would ride in an ambulance to Children's Healthcare down in Atlanta so he could be monitored for a few hours.  This was standard for them and they saw no reason to worry.

About 10 minutes after the first shot of EPI, I told the nurse he wasn't improving and I would like to see the doctor again.  She came in and checked him out...his ears, his hands, his face...all swelling more.  He couldn't keep a paci in either, which made me think his tongue was swelling as well.  They gave him another shot of epinephrine and put in an IV.

I remember this moment so vividly, and will never be able to erase it from my memory.  My tiny little nugget, swollen and miserable, screaming his head off on that huge hospital bed.   Then, in one moment, he stopped crying and looked up at me {I am sobbing thinking about that look}, and his eyes rolled back in his head and his heart rate monitor went crazy.  My poor sweet baby.  I couldn't do anything but watch the doctor and nurses get him stable and breathing normally, and it was honestly the most terrifying moment of my life.  I pled with God not to take my baby, and I remember saying "This isn't what is supposed to happen, God! Not like this!"

As they were continuing to work on Haynes and keep him stable, a sweet nurse came up to me, trembling herself, and said they had changed our mode of transportation from ambulance to a helicopter, and we would be leaving as soon as they could get the helicopter there.  "It's really that bad?" I said.  "It's really that bad." she replied.   I just sobbed.  I made the call to BL, who was at home with our toddler, and to my mom so she could come meet me while he arranged childcare for Max.

What happened next was a blur; I vaguely remember the two paramedics from the original ambulance who came in to get Haynes ready for his journey to the children's hospital.  Soon after, I heard the helicopter come in and land, and in walk three men in flight suits who took Haynes and explained to me what was about to happen.  When we walked outside, I realized how many people went into making this whole thing possible, and then my appreciation for our public service members grew even more!! You see, there isn't a helipad at the Urgent Care.  There was the one ambulance I mentioned, but then also two fire trucks and one police car there to block off the road so the helicopter could land, and then take off again.  All for my baby.  I am a very fortunate and rare parent who was able to ride along with my child; I have learned since then that it is few and far between when parents are allowed to take that journey.  Thank you Jesus for that sweet gift.  As I told the pilot, it wasn't the way I wanted my first arial tour of Atlanta, but I was so glad to be there with my boy.

When we landed, everyone was ready for us, the team at Egleston was phenomenal!  I am so thankful for their role in Haynes' recovery.   He was stable and the swelling was finally starting to decrease.  Long story short (ha!), they kept us over night and monitored Haynes closely to be sure he would not have a second flare up once the EPI wore off.  My mom was there for most of the night, and BL arrived once we got him off to my brother and sister-in-law (THANK YOU!!!).  It was an exhausting night, to say the least.  We were trained on an epi pen, given a prescription and sent home with instructions to "try nothing new" until we saw an allergist.

So now what?  Well, I will write another post about our trip to the allergist and what else we discovered... Pretty sure this is enough for one day.  For now, I will say it's good to be back on the blog, and I hope and pray this will become a place where I can share knowledge and tips people have shared with me.  A place were mommas (or dads or friends) can read and not feel alone; not feel the isolation of food allergies.

Until next time, make it a great day. Choose happiness.



  1. Oh I'm so sorry to hear this happened to you and Haynes. I can't imagine how scary it was! So glad he is fine though :) and welcome back to blogging friend! You were missed :)

  2. Oh my goodness! My heart aches for you because I know that had to be horrible to go through! I'm glad you're back to blogging, though. :-)

  3. This brought me to tears. So terrifying to read. So thankful he got the help he needed so quickly. Sending a momma hug your way and prayers that our sweet babies will not come into contact with the foods they are allergic to. 💜💜💜


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