Harrison will be 6 weeks on Monday and we have already been to the doctor 6 times. Considering we were in the hospital nearly the first full week of his life, that makes 6 visits to the Pediatrician in 5 weeks. What is going on!?
Well, the first visit was just the standard check up after being released from the hospital. When he was discharged, he had lost some weight (totally normal in newborns) and was clocking in at 8 lbs 6 oz. By his first appointment 4 days later, he was almost back to his birth weight at 8 lbs 14 ounces. That was great news and per the pediatrician, really rare. But I wasn’t surprised. Harrison has been a great eater from day one. Some days he tries to eat from his own hand until he realizes he’s not getting anything from it. Can’t blame a kid for trying though!
By his third week, his umbilical cord had not fallen off yet. In the hospital they told us to expect 7-10 days, so of course I was getting a little antsy, but online some people said their baby’s cord stayed firmly attached until 4 weeks. The hospital told us not to use any alcohol since the modern science says it doesn’t help the cord fall off any faster, but of course when I called the pediatrician, they said, “have you tried swabbing it with alcohol?” So we tried the alcohol but the truth was the cord was starting to stink- to the point where it made me want to vomit! So they had me bring him in and put some silver nitrate on it. The doctor said the cord was really thick so it could still be another 3-4 days before it came off, but by the next morning, the cord had fallen off into his onsie, revealing a still slightly grimy but positively adorable (at least in my eyes) innie belly button. It got cuter as the goo dried up and went away, but I was so relieved to have the smell of rotting flesh gone!
Annnnnnd then came the RSV. I had actually noticed what I thought to be a wheezing noise about a week after we came home from the hospital. It was slight, and only when Harrison was laying in certain positions (like in his car seat or occasionally when he was on his back). Flipping him to his stomach on my chest would instantly resolve the noise. On Friday the 26th of January, I called the nurse who said that I should not bring him in unless he has a fever or is struggling to breathe because they had so many sick kids with the flu in the office and they didn’t want to risk him catching it so young. So I just kept an eye on him over the weekend. On Sunday we consulted a few of our medical friends- some said he was perfectly fine, others recommended that he be seen. Monday came and went and he still didn’t have a fever so I just kept an eye on him. But Tuesday his temperature had gone up to 100.2. Normally the Pediatrician says they need to know about anything 100.4 or higher, but of course it was high enough for me to be concerned (also what if it had been higher earlier and I just didn’t know?). I brought him in to see the doctor. At first he said it looked like he might have an ear infection, which was a relief to me because I was so scared of the flu or RSV. But the blood count looked good and he wanted to check for RSV in an abundance of caution. I felt so bad watching him first get pricked in the finger and then swabbed up his nose! But the little guy was a trooper. As we were waiting, I heard the doctor in the hall say something along the lines of, “he doesn’t look like he’s in any distress.” So I figured he was going to come in and tell me that all the tests were good and that I was just overreacting as a first time mom. But he came in and said very straightforwardly that he had RSV (A respiratory illness that can be very serious in young kids as it can lead to things like pneumonia). Having done all my research, I was pretty much terrified of RSV in newborns. I’d heard horror stories of babies being in the hospital for days or even weeks being suctioned and monitored closely. But Harrison’s oxygen was at a 99 and his lungs sounded clear. Per the doctor he wheeziness that I was hearing was not from the lungs but rather from congestion in his nose. His pediatrician called the hospitalist and they agreed that Harrison didn’t need to be admitted despite his age and that I should just keep a close watch on him. He also said the irritation in his ear was likely RSV related and not an ear infection. His doctor wanted to follow up the next day. So back we came for our 4th trip (when the photo above was taken). His doctor was out that day so we saw one of his partners. She said everything looked good- clear lungs, oxygen at 98, no more redness in ear. So everything looked to be on the up and up but she said that it could stick around for a few weeks. We had received one of those FridaBaby NoseFrida snot suckers as a gift so I just used it to clear him out when he sounded a little congested. He hasn’t had any fever since then, although the congestion has been lingering. These little immune systems are so fragile and have to work extra hard to fight off all of these sicknesses floating around!
For his 5th visit, it was just his one month check up. He weighed 11 pounds 3 ounces and was 22 3/4 inches long! He was in the 85th% for weight and 88% for height. Other than the lingering congestion, the only other apparent issue was a blocked tear duct. I had noticed actual tears for the first time the day before (so sad!) but I also noticed some goo coming from one of his eyes. His doctor showed me how to massage the tear duct to try to open it up. So far, no luck, and now it looks like both of them are blocked! But apparently this can come and go for 9 months or so, and they don’t really intervene until around a year (where they basically go in and slice the tear ducts open! Yikes!)
Yesterday marked our sixth visit. On Sunday I noticed a very small amount of blood in his stool- small spots in a few places, and his poo was loose, bright green and mucusy. Of course no one ever wants to see blood in their baby’s stool. Monday morning, I called the nurse and she said it was likely a result of his sinuses being dried out from the RSV suctioning and that I should just give him some saline drops to help moisten everything back up. By Wednesday night there was a bit more blood (still not a ton, but a streak about an inch and a half long). I called the pediatrician’s office back and they had me bring him in. He said it was likely blood from a fissure, but that didn’t explain why his stool was so loose. So my job last night was to collect the poo and bring it in so they can test for salmonella! I don’t know where in the world he could have gotten salmonella from! His doctor said it wouldn’t be from breast milk but you would be surprised where it could come from- that he could get it just from someone holding him. Nick is a lunatic about wiping the whole house down with disinfectant, so it certainly wouldn’t be from lack of diligence to keep everything clean, but what the heck? Can we just go one week without an issue? Doctor thinks it is highly unlikely that it is salmonella but has to test in an abundance of caution. He also advised me to cut back on milk in case Harrison has milk protein sensitivity (different than lactose intolerance) and there’s not a test for it so it’s really just trial and error. Basically, the milk protein that I ingest passes through through the breast milk to him and if he has a sensitivity, it can manifest itself in the symptoms we have been seeing. Looking at the milk protein allergy pictures online, I think that’s an appropriate diagnosis especially because I’ve also started to see some mild acne on his face. Side note, he’s TWELVE pounds! So he can’t be doing that badly. But it’s all a game of google and guessing for me. I just follow the doctor’s advice.
Fortunately he isn’t having me cut it out entirely. I am addicted to dairy. I am a wine and cheese, ice cream for breakfast, coffee with my cream kind of girl. And here I am expected to cut back! I mean, you’re asking me to choose between cheese and my kid. It’s a close call (ha-ha) but I guess I have to go with the well-being of the baby, right? On top of that, I have a coconut allergy (I won’t die but it does make me extremely sick to my stomach) so my substitutions are more limited.
After the doctor we made a pit stop at Whole Foods where I picked up some almond and cashew yogurts, almond milk, and an almond-coconut creamer (along with a sorbet and a cashew yogurt for emergencies, of course).
I was a bit worried about tolerating the creamer but it was only a small amount in my coffee and I seem to have held up okay. But it didn’t measure up to what I’m used to! I usually use heavy cream… so the coconut-almond creamer was woefully inadequate. But I can make do with it. The cashewgurt was not my favorite. It has a very distinct cashew taste on the back end and mixing it with strawberries was just an odd effect. The vanilla may be better? I definitely preferred the almond milk yogurt. But the frozen chocolate cashewmilk was a winner! It tastes exactly like the chocolate fudgsicles we used to have as kids. I can definitely make that work. My hope is that if I sub these things out that I typically use dairy products for on a daily basis, I can enjoy my dairy on occasion in baked goods (supposedly cooking/baking slightly decreases the effect of the milk protein) or a nice meal Anything is probably better than the 6 yogurts and pint of ice cream I’d normally go through in a day! Any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I have a very weak will power when it comes to food!
I’m hoping we get the results of the salmonella today and that he’s all clear on that end. Even though his pediatrician is awesome I am so over making the trek there and sitting in the waiting room plagued with illness.