Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

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I recall a conversation with a good friend while I was pregnant and she said something to the affect that “you’ll find your calling once you become a Mom.”  She was a blogger herself and added  “that’s how a lot of bloggers get started, they become passionate about something and use blogging to connect with others, to feel a sense of community, and to educate others.”

That good friend was right.

I thought about blogging when I first became a Mom, after all I was up at all times of nights reading other Mom blogs.  But honestly I was too mentally and physically exhausted in those early days of my daughters life to take on another thing with just 3-4 hours of sleep a night.

We felt helpless as we watched our daughter kick her legs up and down all night and try to get comfortable; as she scratched so much at her face, her neck, her arms and even found a way to scratch each of her legs with her other leg that we would almost pin her down in the bed to hold her arms down to stop the scratching and praying that she would go asleep;  when her soiled diapers were so runny that I would put a towel under her bum while she napped so I didn’t have to clean the sheets or pillows again; when we preformed belly massages and gas relieving tricks multiple times each night to try to get her comfortable.  The nights where I would be up nursing her 10-12 times just so she’d fall back asleep and allow us an hour of sleep ourselves.

We would struggle to get her to feel comfortable and to get her to sleep, and we would do anything.  I recall one night she fell back asleep on the changing table and we were so fearful that moving her back to the crib would cause her to wake up that my husband and I took shifts sitting right beside her watching her sleep and making sure she wouldn’t fall off of the table.  (p.s. I am not recommending you do this, it is unsafe, but that was a particularly challenging week for us and we stayed awake sitting next to her watching her sleep for 3 hours in a row that night!  Was the changing table the solution?!  Sadly, no.)

Whoever coined the phrase ‘sleep like a baby,’ well I’d like to have a few words with them…!

I am not looking for a pity party, we all have our struggles when a new baby enters your life, but our rough 5-6-7-8-9 months… were just that, rough.  Those months seem like a blur until the defining moment when we actually were able to see some local specialists that confirmed we “weren’t crazy,” and there was something indeed “wrong” with her daughter.

She has severe life-threatening food allergies and FPIES… and, I feel like I am to blame for putting her through so much pain and discomfort in her early months.

During all those nights when my husband and I would hold our daughter or I’d nurse her back to sleep, we would read.  We would read the symptoms she was having as we tried to figure out what was wrong with her.  After reading how diary could be causing her gas, I eliminated dairy from my diet.  After reading about other gas and reflux-causing foods I eliminated them, including broccoli, tomatoes, onions, and citrus.

In a last ditch effort, when she was just over 4 months old, on August 15th (yes, I remember this day fondly,) I went wheat, gluten and egg-free.  I wasn’t sure how to make this work so I then in-turn added more soy (found in many gluten-free processed foods) into my diet.  That was a big mistake.  She got worse.

We look back on those early months mostly with anger at ourselves.  How could we have let her suffer for that long.  We tried different doctors at our pediatricians office, but kept hearing “it’s normal, she’ll grow out of these issues.”

This is where my good friend was right.  I want to learn more about her food allergies and FPIES.  This is what I am passionate about.  I don’t want her to ever suffer like she did as a newborn.  I want to help her.  I want to help others.  I want to provide support.  I want to do “something” – but what?

Recently I have been trying to connect with some local families that are also dealing with food allergies and FPIES and found that there really is not local support group in our area.  I am now working on establishing a local support group in our area (Montgomery and Bucks County, PA.)  This is the start of my “something.”

I started Busy Bee Kate has my personal blog and got pretty wrapped up immediately in a ton of DIY projects for the Upcycle Challenge.  It was a fun community project to be involved in and taking first place, well, that was an added bonus, but I feel like I need to get back to the root of why I started blogging- to be more personal, to open up about food allergies and FPIES, to educate others, and to see where that road would take me.

We are grateful for answers and now it is time to move on.  Today is the day where I stop putting blame on myself.   Today is the day where I help another family struggling.  Today is the day where I connect with someone new.  Today is the day when I am me.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Thanks for listening.

Love, Kate

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