Thursday, November 5, 2009

Just when you think you know what your doing, something changes

I have many pictures to upload from last week/weekend, and will get around to it one of these days. For now, though, M. and I are being exhausted by a little girl who is waking up multiple times a night. Not because I jinxed myself by telling the Blogosphere what a wonderful baby she is (wonderful baby she definitely is), but because her good humor is being challenged by an intestinal malady.

What type of intestinal malady, you might ask? Hmm. Well, it started as what we thought was some run-of-the-mill diarrhea on Monday (preceeded by a couple of messy blow-outs the day before). My mind immediately turned to swine flu, and I waited with baited breath for the fever, vomiting, congestion, etc that I was sure was headed our way, a mere week before the kids are scheduled to be vaccinated (hope I'm not jinxing myself on that one, ye keepers of the much desired but rarely obtained swine flu vaccine!! (Shakes fist)). But no other symptoms, aside from a lovely blushing rose-colored rash on her hiney and some fussiness, materialized. We kept Lucy home from daycare for the requisite 24 hours, and when things didn't look better on the loose stool front Wednesday morning, kept her home again. Since Tuesday night was fraught with middle-of-the-night wake-ups and fussiness, we also planned a trip to the doctor.

M. and I envisioned the typical doctor's appointment with an over-reacting parent. Temperature, ears, throat, lungs are all checked, to no avail. Parents are told, "It's just a virus, dummy, wait it out and hydrate," or "Loose stools are a common sign of teething, dummy, wait it out and hydrate." Perhaps with a slightly less condescending tone, of course. Never did we imagine what we (M., really, since he was on SAHD duty while I was at work) would be told that Lucy has a protein intolerance. Yes, you heard that right, suddenly, at over 6 months old, apparently Lucy can no longer tolerate the milk protein in her formula.

We are a bit dumfounded. Other than Lucy's initial problems with infrequent pooping when she was a newborn, we have had no reason to suspect that she had any problems with her formula (Enfamil Gentlease). For months she has been sleeping well, very happy, very few bouts of diaper rash, only one runny nose - basically no symptoms of an intolerance (different from an allergy, by the way, though I'm not exactly sure how). So we think the doctor may be jumping the gun a little. The diagnosis is based on some blood that was found in Lucy's stool. My first thought is that the blood could be from ALL THE POOPING she's been doing, but what do I know, right?

According to the doctor this could be temporary. We are putting Lucy on Alimentum (hydrolized) formula, and if things get better apparently we can try her back on her regular formula in a few weeks (once her intestines are healed). We also have the fun of collecting stool samples for testing over the next few days (I suppose I shouldn't complain since it's just a swipe of the dirty diaper, but still, ew).

Again, I am skeptical. Anything I have ever read about protein intolerance is that "temporary" = "a couple of years." As in, maybe when your kid is 2 or 3 they can handle drinking cow's milk. Not 4 weeks temporary. And I'm not sure why she would seem so healthy, and then suddenly present with an intolerance. Also, why, exactly, are we ruling out a viral or bacterial infection just because there was blood in Lucy's stool? (I guess the doctor is also basing this on the lack of any other symptoms - like vomiting? - that often co-present.) So, yeah, lots of questions remain. We'll just see how things go. We are following the doctor's suggestion because at this point, we just want Lucy to be comfortable again. If it has a chance of working, we'll try it.

On a different note, this is apparently my 100th post. Woo hoo!


  1. Yay for your 100th post! Boo that it's about a problem with Lucy. I agree that the doctor seems to have jumped the gun a bit with a diagnosis. You should push her a little to find out why she so quickly ruled out any other potential (and temporary!) issue.

  2. Nate had blood in his stool once. He had a round of antibiotics that caused diarrhea. A day or two later we introduced a new food (sweet potatoes). Our ped told us after a stomach disequilibrium to not introduce anything new to his stomach for 72 hours and it never happened again.

    Alex had a dairy intolerance for his entire first year. Whenever he was given dairy formula, his poop was bright yellow and runny. He acted totally fine, but his butt basically leaked yellow stuff every time he had even one drop of dairy. We tested him with an allergist and had the allergist supervise the introduction of dairy at multiple instances.

  3. I actually have heard of milk protein intolerance, and if that is indeed what is plaguing Lucy, hydrolyzed formula may not solve it. (It is still made from cow's milk proteins, they are just further broken down than in regular formula.) So if milk protein intolerance is her actual diagnosis, she will need a formula like Neocate. It is possible that she has had small amounts of blood in her stool that have been going undetected.

    Anyway, I hope that is not the issue for her! It could be, as you say, something more related to the fact that she's had a lot of pooping going on. Hope she feels better soon!