Parent trap battle scars: Sick but still smiling

Last updated 14:30 14/12/2012
stuff nation baby
SMILEY BABY: Charles had been suffering from a sore tummy for eight months.

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My husband and I were thrilled to be expecting our first child, a little boy who we'd named Charles.

On August 10, 2011 my waters broke at 2am and six and a half hours later, I had my son in my arms contentedly having his first feed. He was 3.7 kilograms.

He was an easy baby and so happy right from the start, but by the time he was five weeks old, it became clear something wasn't right.

When Charles was four weeks old his growth had slowed a little but not enough that our Plunket nurse was worried. Plunket came back the next day and overnight Charles had lost 100 grams. Even then, our nurse wasn't too worried.
Plunket returned three days later and Charles had lost even more weight, despite the fact my milk production was still good. Every day, he lost more weight.

When Charles was five weeks old my husband Matt checked on him and was horrified to see brown vomit all over his blankets. It looked like old blood but I wasn't worried.

"Don't worry, I'll have a quick check online it's probably normal," I said.

After posting in my favorite online forum I got told to call an ambulance straight away. By the time we got to Starship our little boy was a little grumpy, but otherwise his happy self. I had to push to get tests done. I had a touch of mastitis and it was written off as that and I was sent home the next morning.

A night later, I had a melt down. Charles had lost another 50 grams that day and we we're getting close to being under his birth weight.

We had a pediatrician appointment at the hospital the next day, and it was all feeling a bit much for me. Crying, I walked to the local shops and brought four individual packets of formula. When we got home I gave him a bottle of that but for his night feeds I breastfed him as normal. To my surprise when we took Charles to have him weighed he'd gained 500 grams overnight. The pediatrician advised me to keep expressing my milk but to see if he kept gaining on formula. He did and I stopped breastfeeding. Unfortunately our problems didn't stop there.

While Charles had started to gain weight like a machine, the brown vomits continued and we kept getting no answer for them, because they were unwilling to test on such a happy baby. I wasn't sure because when Charles got his immunisations he'd smiled within a minute of the needle coming out. He was just a happy baby.

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We started Charles on solids at about six months old, he was still having diarrhoea and by eight months we started to worry. Our wonderful doctor ran some tests and told us he didn't have stomach bug or anything wrong with his pipes.

At Easter, after another incident after eating pancakes with cows milk, instead of his formula, gears began to click in my head. I ate a lot of milk products while breastfeeding and I was starting to wonder if all our troubles had come from milk.

After a visit to our doctor we tried eliminating all the milk products from our diet for two weeks. Within a day we had our first ever solid bowel motion from Charles. I was amazed. It turns out he'd had a near constant stomach ache for eight months and had kept on smiling the whole time.

It been six months since taking all the milk out of Charles diet. He has an intolerance to milk which means we can test every year or so to see if he has grown out it. We also found out that he has an intolerance to eggs. 

I've learned that we have to be careful to keep an eye on him if he's sick - he is just too happy all the time.  

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