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Apollo Visits the ENT at Seattle Children’s Hospital

I only gave the bare facts about Apollo’s appointment when I blogged on Thursday. I wanted to update those of you who were praying. Now I’ll share a few more details.

The Children’s Hospital is amazingly organized and efficient from the moment you walk through the door, whether you are visiting someone or seeing a doctor. 

When we got called back to have Apollo weighed and measured the nurse noticed is name and asked if he was “a fourteenth”. We said yes. She told us how much she liked his name, said she’d never seen Roman numerals used and how cool she thought it was that he was the fourteenth. Apollo weighed in at rather dismal 16 pounds 6 ounces (two ounces less than he weighed on March 26th when he turned nine months…)

When the resident arrived in the exam room he said, “Is this Apollo?” and we said yes. He then turned to Chuck and said, “And your name is Apollo, too?” Confused, Chuck said, “No, my name is Charles”. The resident paused for a moment then said, “But thought he was the fourteenth…” Apparently, word travels fast down at SCH…then we explained he was our fourteenth child, not the fourteenth generation of Apollos…

After being examined by the resident, we saw the ENT. He was very nice. He listened to Apollo’s symptoms then told us he was going to stick a camera down his nose to check everything out. He told us he had the “smallest best camera in the world“. When he stuck the camera down, the images showed up bright and clear on a flat screen TV. It was a far cry from when Mordecai had the same procedure done here locally, eight years ago. The ENT had to numb up his nasal passages with spray first, the procedure took longer and the images were not nearly as clear.

Then he told us everything was developed properly, but there was inflammation…he’s definitely in pain and something is causing damage to those areas…he thinks it may be reflux, which is a great starting point. I’m more than happy to have something to try. Apollo and I are now dairy free (this is new to me, if you have any suggestions, websites, lists of what we  can/cannot eat, please let me know) and I hope to get some reflux medicine on Monday to see if that will give him some relief. 

I’m not totally convinced this is the answer to our problem (but happy to have a starting point). For one thing, most babies outgrow reflux by a year…he’s over ten months and still suffering and not gaining weight. Keeping him upright vs. lying down as a tiny baby never made a difference. He certainly spends most of his time upright now…I don’t know, I’d love to think this is his problem and we can now “fix” it, but very discouraged once again by his lack of weight gain. He’s put on less than two and a half pounds in the last six months… and it’s hard to listen to his breathing/crying now, knowing it is indeed causing him pain (verified by the swelling/irritation).

After that, the doctor then had to exclaim over him being “the fourteenth” and was delighted to learn he was the fourteenth child. 

We got home from Seattle about 3 o’clock. I had a headache the size of Texas but still needed to make dinner and care for my family. Keep in mind, I only had 3-4 hours of sleep (and not consecutive) the night before due to the birth and Apollo’s night  waking). Apollo of course, had napped in the truck and was then bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the rest of the evening. 

I got called at seven to head out to another birth. That baby (look for photos tomorrow!) was born at 8:30. I tend to hang around longer after home births because in the hospital they do the weighing, newborn exam, etc, right away. At home, they may wait and hour or two to even start. I like to capture photos of those things for the family. 

I finally headed out about eleven o’clock…only to be pulled over by the police. Our license plates, it seems, have expired. Never mind that the paperwork we have states they expire 5/11/11…the policeman told me as soon as we receive the new ones in the mail, our old ones are cancelled…so my plates were expired. My head was hurting so bad, I could barely put together a coherent sentence. I’m surprised he didn’t make me ‘walk the line”.

Ah, well, he was nice and didn’t give me a ticket. He did ask where I was headed, and I told him I was going home after photographing a birth…I imagine he was a bit confused since I was driving toward the hospital instead of away

At any rate, I am home, dairy-free, trying to recover from a crazy, crazy week. Thank you all for your kind words, suggestions, prayers, etc. Keep ’em coming!

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17 Comments

  1. Elizabeth

    Amazing weekend! Hope you’ll have a chance to catch your breath! Do you have one of those mom dates scheduled? Grump dates? (I can’t remember what your clever name for them is)
    We’re been diary free basically since my siblings came home. (it’s normal for West Africans to have a dairy intolerance since they don’t grow up with it in their diet) My dad also has an intolerance to it so my mom moved the whole family that direction. There are wonderful substitutes for milk out there, but you obviously have to get used to a different texture and taste. Our favorite is almond milk. Rice milk is a good one if you want it thinner, but it’s also sweeter. You want to stay away from soy though even though you can find ALOT of non milk things where they use soy as a substitute. (if you google it you can find articles that explain why much better than I can) I think being dairy free has been beneficial for everyone, even me who does not necessarily have an intolerance. The animal protein content in cows milk is extremely high (since it was made for a big animal) so I think our bodies just digest rice, almond, and even coconut milk better.
    Hope it helps Apollo!

  2. Alex

    Definitely check out vegan (no animal products) cookbooks. I like Vegan Brunch (by Isa Moskowitz). It has a lot of dairy-free recipes (using soy, rice, or almond milk). In a pinch, you can also just substitute water for milk, but the texture will be a little different. She has a great berry muffin and coffee chip muffin recipe.
    Be on the lookout for casein, lactose, and whey in margarine and baked goods. Even some soy or almond cheese have casein (a milk protein) in them to make them melt better.
    You can get powdered soymilk, which is a lot cheaper and lasts forever. Look in the natural foods section of your grocery store.
    I hope Apollo feels better soon! Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about going dairy free.

  3. Dianne

    My little one (7 months) does not have reflux but does have a milk protein allergy so I have had to eliminate all dairy from my diet. It has been hard to get used to (I love a glass of milk with supper!) but it has made a huge difference for my son so that does make it easier.
    I have found that almond milk is a great substitute for baking. Since almond milk can be expensive if used in large quantities I will often double up on my baking (some dairy free, some with dairy) so that the almond milk goes further. I’ve also had to work really hard at increasing the protein in my diet. Breastfeeding + no dairy = rapid weightloss for mama. I’m pretty much always hungry so I eat a lot!
    I’ve recently discovered a new blog that looks interesting. It is http://www.mspimama.com and she posts recipes that are dairy and soy free.
    I hope this helps! If nothing else, know that you are not alone. 🙂

  4. Michelle

    Renee, my daughter, who is 13 now, was diagnosed with reflux at four weeks. We thought she had developed a cold when she was only a couple of days old since it sounded like she was terribly stuffy. Her reflux was unusual in that it went up to her nasal cavity instead of causing her to vomit. To make a long story short, she was on two prescription medications which did wonders for her. If we missed either med by even an hour, her symptoms were immediate. We tried taking her off meds at 9 months and then again at 12 months. She had to stay on them until she was 14 months old. While it is unusual, it is possible to have reflux in childen older than 9 months. I hope this is helpful, but even more, hope you are able to find out what’s causing your adorable boy such difficulties. Michelle

  5. Mrs. Taft

    I’ve long suspected reflux, I’m pretty sure I mentioned it a long time ago…at least I hope I did, or I’d feel pretty bad! I’m more of a lurker than a commenter, so I don’t know if I ever voiced that particular concern…My Ginger had reflux, and it lasted til just beyond her first birthday, so I tend to spot it even where it’s not. 😉
    It takes about two weeks for dairy proteins to leave your system, so despite being dairy free, you won’t see much of a change for a couple of weeks if that helps. The main thing to do is to avoid the foods that cause overproduction of stomach acids like acidic foods and long-chain protein molecules. I had to avoid peanut butter, soy and dairy for that reason. I couldn’t eat cooked OR raw tomatoes but I could eat garlic, ummmm…I don’t remember what all I was off of but those were the hardest to avoid.
    One of the reasons reflux may have lasted, too, is that the stomach acid is constantly damaging his esophagus and sphincter, so it doesn’t have a chance to properly grow to prevent the problem. Laying down/upright after a feed didn’t seem to help until we eliminated triggers and started treating; then it made a big difference, plus making sure we weren’t carrying her with pressure across her stomach.
    kellymom.com has tons of great resources, as does drjaygordon.com and here’s an article from dr greene: http://www.drgreene.com/qa/gastroesophageal-reflux-treatment

  6. Mrs. Taft

    Now that I think about it…I don’t think I ever DID say anything. Sorry for being a terrible bloggy friend :/
    At any rate, I’m so glad that you guys are on a path to find him some relief!

  7. Michelle

    You have had a busy few days!! Glad you didn’t get a ticket.
    Reflux sounds like a really reasonable diagnosis, given Apollo’s symptoms. My son was diagnosed with reflux when he was about a week old. His case was very, very severe. Although most children outgrow reflux by one year, he turned four in March and is still on reflux meds. In December, we also found out that he has severe food allergies, including peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and sesame seeds. We’ve done food elimination, chiropractic care, etc., but he still requires meds. From what I understand, most reflux meds are very safe. I hope Apollo is feeling better in no time. Michelle

  8. Kristen McLewin

    My son is dairy-free, and I discovered a nut and chia seed (really!) milk that I make at home. It is much more inexpensive than buying any boxed milk, though rice milk and such at Trader Joe’s are relatively reasonable. I do soy in moderation, but we do occasionally pick up soy-based yogurt or cream cheese.

  9. Paige

    We did cow’s milk free for 12 months. My daughter couldn’t handle cow milk proteins, like whey or casein. Luckily, she outgrew this around 13/14 months, and we slowly introduced dairy back into both our diets.
    Best advice I can think of – read labels carefully. Often I thought something was ok, only to find out the hard way that whey/casein were ingredients in the product.
    Another tricky thing for me was to remember that it takes 2-3 weeks for our bodies to process cow milk proteins. That meant that if I had something by accident, I could expect to see the results in her for up to 4 weeks – 2 weeks where I was still passing them to her and another 2 weeks for her to get rid of them. In the beginning, it took us 3 weeks to even see results, and another 2 before all her symptoms were completely gone.
    Goat cheese was what helped me get through without milk. I don’t know if that will help you, because it is not the same as dairy free, just cow milk free. If lactose is the problem, goat cheese DOES have it, just in smaller amounts. I tried the various soy based cheeses and nothing was nearly as good as goat cheese. It’s not terribly expensive – we got ours at Costco for about the same as we would have paid for cheddar anyway. I love it particularly on pizza, so much that I asked my husband to make goat cheese pizza for Mother’s Day.
    Hope both of you feel better soon. Happy Mother’s Day!

  10. Gwendie

    Hello Renee,
    (Apologies for the super long post.)
    I’m glad to hear that your visit to the Doctors resulted in a starting point for helping little Apollo. Unfortunately, going dairy free is a bit more complicated than just avoiding milk, cheese, butter and yogurt…as I’m sure you have already discovered.
    My family has been gluten and casein (milk protein) free for the past decade. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started on your quest to be dairy free.
    1. Become a label reading detective. Besides the obvious dairy products, milk can be found in lots of other forms. These milk based ingredients can be hidden in products you would never think of as having dairy – most bread and baked goods, pre-packaged food, most margarine, soy cheese, lunch meat, tuna fish, non-dairy creamer, toothpaste, gum, medications etc.
    http://www.godairyfree.org/Food-to-Eat/Food-Label-Info/Hidden-Dairy.html
    Familiarize yourself with the list of dairy derived ingredients, and get in the habit of reading the labels of EVERYTHING you consume. Here is a list of dairy based ingredients to avoid (Hint: print and take to the grocery store with you for easy reference.)
    http://www.godairyfree.org/Food-to-Eat/Food-Label-Info/Dairy-Ingredient-List.html
    2. Keep a food/behavior journal. Note the date/time and the foods you and Apollo eat, and the date/time of any unusual symptoms/behaviors you observe in your child. The journal helps you to see patterns in behavior and can help to identify problematic foods – ones that contain hidden milk ingredients, or different foods that he may be sensitive to (sometimes kids that have issues with milk will also be sensitive to soy.)
    3. When starting a dairy free diet it is best to return to basics. Cooking from scratch is the easiest way to control the ingredients that go into your meals. “Safe” foods are typically those with one ingredient – fresh veggies and fruit, unprocessed meat, eggs, rice, beans/lentils, salt, pepper etc… Milk and butter can be easily substituted in most recipes you already use by using rice, soy or potato milk and casein free margarine like Nucoa and certain Smart Balance varieties. You can find Dairy free recipes at http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Healthy-Cooking/Dairy-Free/Main.aspx or in dairy free cookbooks at your local library.
    Best wishes on you dairy free adventure!

  11. Brenda Arend

    My hubby has reflux, which if he doesn’t take his omeprazole as scheduled, DOES cause a great deal of pain for him. I also know families with dairy problems but they are usually more gut related (indigestion, gas, etc) types of problems. I bet you see some relief in your little man soon!

  12. Samantha

    I have a friend whose children all have food allergies. Her first child had trouble gaining weight until she cut various foods out of her diet. Once the allergy wasn’t there to bother him he began putting on weight quickly. He’s now a happy, healthy four year old. Allergies more than reflux could be the problem.

  13. Jo

    I really wish you would look into slippery elm. Please talk with a naturalist or herbalist about it, just to see. This is a treatment that I think I mentioned here, its good for all parents to have on hand. it is great external to heal and “knit” wounds and prevent/treat infections. My daughter nearly lost 2 toes and slippery elm saved them. Internally it acts as a poultice healing and soothing from reflux or digestive problems, and for some reason it helps healthy weight gain in underweight mammals. I say this because I have only 2 children who were big when I learned about this treatment, I have used it with 100 % success in small ruminant livestock. I am using it on 2 small goats now who have some slow growth and digestive issues. I havent ever seen if fail in small babies, preemie babies or those slow to grow. the growth is secondary, but the slippery elm seems to treat the primary thus alleviating the secondary. You can buy it from mountainroseherbs.com and I would buy powder and make it into a gruel. It will heal any reflux and digestive problems and will help with any infection that he has in his ears or adenoids. I would feed it freely, I know he doesnt eat well but just a mouthful every hr or so all day. Thats my best suggestion…I grew up on non-dairy and like others have mentioned, basic foods from scratch were the only way it worked for my parents.

  14. kristine

    I did wonder where you were this morning. Or, were you at church but just not where I saw you? Anyway, I think you weren’t there and I hoped you weren’t sick. I had a nice chat with Ezra though. Sports and school and stuff. Hope you recover soon.

  15. Angela

    Hi Renee, praying you can get some rest and that Apollo is feeling better and gaining weight soon.
    Forgive me, I haven’t read through all the other posts yet…
    Coconut oil is a great alternative for butter. I like the unrefined in baking and the refined for sauteeing etc. it can be a bit pricey, I bought a bunch on amazon (the Nutiva brand).
    Almond milk is nice, works great in coffee too. You can find it plain or flavored (added sugar) in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
    Canned coconut milk is great for baking and cooking and it has alot of healthy fat in it too. I have also seen it in the dairy case, but haven’t tried that yet.
    Agreeing with others about staying away from soy, especially with a boy.

  16. Anna

    I had to go on a dairy free diet while bfing both of my boys. (I also had to avoid chocolate, broccoli, onions, cauliflower, garlic, and lots of other gas-forming foods.)
    Have you tried rice or almond milk? You can even get ice cream made with rice, by the makers of Rice Dream. Vanilla flavoured rice milk is delicious, and almost the same price as cow’s milk at my walmart. My mom used to buy it by the case as my younger brother was lactose intolerant (or as she put it, he’s not a baby cow and isn’t made to drink cow’s milk!)
    I had such success on this diet, I’ll be going back on it as soon as baby #3 is born. It took me 6 weeks of colic with #2 to figure it out and another 2 weeks to see improvement.

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