I should probably start this post by saying that no one is dead, nor are they in the hospital.
We are a gluten and dairy free household.
It started with removing gluten from Aidan’s diet on January 22nd, 2012. It feels like AGES ago.
How do I know the actual date? Crazy. Yes, I know.
It was the day after Aidan’s 4th birthday.
he’s trying so hard to show me 4 fingers…
Aidan had been displaying self injurious behavior (behavior in which he inflicts harm onto himself). He was also acting out, both verbally and physically, towards us and Lincoln. Large groups and loud noises tended to set him off. The Pediatric Developmentalist was questioning whether or not to put him on the Autism Spectrum.
We were already seeing a pediatric psychologist, receiving occupational therapy (both in school and through a private practice) for various sensory issues, and implementing numerous behavior modification plans.
These things helped, but just weren’t enough.
We needed to do more. Something in addition to everything else.
Nolan and I had discussed removing the protein from Aidan’s diet for months. After weighing the pros and cons, and seeking advice from a dear friend (aka Mrs. Fantastico) who had experience with dietary restrictions, we finally agreed it was worth a shot.
We noticed a difference within the first month.
After 6 months, I felt as though Aidan had plateaued (from a behavioral viewpoint). He had been making such great progress and then all of a sudden it just stopped.
Another pow-wow with my dear friend.
We removed dairy from Aidan’s diet (this was in June of 2012).
Not only was Aidan’s behavior improving, but so was his focus and ability to rationalize his feelings.
My boy went from turning into a tornado of rage and fury; spitting, cursing, throwing fists and toys when Lincoln knocked over his train track to being able to call to us for help when he felt bothered or annoyed by his little brother’s actions.
It. Was. AMAZING.
And still is!
The next to go was Autumn and me.
When Autumn was about 6 months old, Nolan and I noticed that she would occassionally stop breathing in her sleep. It was never more than a few seconds and she always self corrected.
We thought it was just a baby thing.
At around 6 1/2 months (December 2012), I went food shopping with Lincoln and Autumn. It was a Monday. Autumn had fallen asleep in the car seat. I removed the seat from the base and put it on the shopping cart. Lincoln and I went about our trip while Autumn slept.
At the very end of our trip, I remember it like it was yesterday…we were by the refrigerated almond milk at the back of the store, I looked down at Autumn. She was still sleeping. She coughed. And then stopped breathing.
I waited, like I always did in the middle of the night, for her to self correct. She didn’t. Instead, she started to turn blue.
I ripped her out of her car seat and began blowing in her face.
I patted her back and blew some more.
I tipped her upside down and blew again. And again.
A cough. And then a cry.
Thank. Fucking. God.
I probably should have called 911 right then and there, but she was fine. Granted she had never turned blue before, but this this breathing thing happened often. And she had a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday.
We went home. I told Nolan and he agreed that we would talk to the doctor on Wednesday.
Wednesday came. We saw the doctor and told her about what was going on and about what happened at the grocery store.
She sent us to the hospital.
Lots of testing and tens of thousands of dollars later, no one had an answer for us. Instead, they could only guess she was experiencing sleep apnea caused by reflux. We were to see a pulmonologist and undergo a sleep study.
She’s a fashionista, even with wires coming out of her head and chest.
The BEST piece of information I received during our stay came from the Chief of Pediatrics (yes, he personally took care of our sweet girl). He explained that during sleep, the body will close off the airway when experiencing reflux. It’s a defense mechanism to prevent drowning on said reflux. The downside to this defense is that you stop breathing.
But he couldn’t tell me what was causing the reflux. And in my mind, I knew if we could stop the reflux then we could stop the apnea.
After lots of research and a consult with my dear friend, my gut was telling me to take gluten and dairy out of my little miss’ diet. And since she was exclusively breastfeeding, that meant out of my diet as well.
Autumn’s reflux improved, as did her sleep apnea.
And they continued to improve until, eventually, both stopped.
And then there was 1.
Little Man had always had stomach issues.
As a baby, this kid couldn’t keep a feeding down to save his life.
He had been complaining pain in stomach, as well as his butt.
I lost count of how many times we saw the doctor about these 2 issues.
Every time she would examine him. And every time there would be nothing wrong.
There was obviously something wrong.
After Autumn and I went gf/df, it only made sense for Lincoln to go as well. Everyone else was. And I didn’t feel like making separate meals anymore.
And do you want to know something?
Lincoln’s stomach and butt pains eventually went away.
And this brings us to present day.
Aidan, Lincoln, and I went to the grocery store after Aidan’s soccer game. We needs bread and cupcake liners (for the class Halloween party on Thursday).
I decided to get a special treat. Aidan had done awesome at his game (he scored 5 goals). And, to be honest, I wanted something yummy.
I found some creme filled chocolate cookies that fit our needs. And as a bonus, found some fig newtons. We haven;t had fig newtons in SUCH a looooooong time.
I gave the boys 2 each in the car for good behavior at the store.
We came home. Had lunch. And everyone got 1 fig newton (including Nana and Aunt Em) after they were done eating.
Nap/quiet time came and went.
Nana and the boys put on a movie and made everyone a snack bowl…. blue corn chips, pretzels, and 1 cookie each.
The boys started to get whacky so I turned off the movie and told them to play in their room (located upstairs and behind a door).
I prepared dinner and called them down when it was ready. Thankfully, they sat nicely and engaged in conversation. The boys finished dinner and removed their plates from the table.
I did notice a welt by Aidan’s left eye and asked him what happened. He shrugged and I didn’t make an issue of it. But the fig newtons came to mind.
The boys went into the “brown living room” (we have names for the living rooms….you can read about here) and began placing pillows and blankets behind one of the chairs. They were calling it “garbage”, which was fine. They were playing nicely.
And then things got funky….
Aidan began pacing around the house in search of more garbage. He had a crazed look and couldn’t slow down. Everything about him was rushed and careless.
“What was in those cookies?” my mom asked.
My gut feeling was something was up. I got the bag from the cabinet and right there on the front it read…..
fuck. fuck. fuck. AND fuck.
How STUPID and LAZY of me.
I skimmed the package and saw “FREE” and “DAIRY FREE”. Assuming the 1st FREE was GLUTEN.
I didn’t take my time. I wanted to get out of the store and didn’t take my time. The boys were asking a bunch of questions and I wanted to get our of the store AND I DIDN’T TAKE MY TIME.
Thank god they aren’t deathly allergic.
But my mother’s poor living room was destroyed. Not really. But all the folded laundry was unfolded and the couches and chairs were pulled away from the wall.
Aidan was beyond thrilled to learn that he had eaten gluten. so much so that he made a song…
Gluten! Gluten! Gluten! I LOVE gluten! I LOVE fig newtons!
The only way I was able to get Aidan to calm down was to turn off the living room light and allow him to bury himself under the pile of “garbage” (aka blankets and clothes) he had collected.
After which he soaked in a bath of Epsom Salt to help him detox.
Oh, and Lincoln began to itch his butt and complain of it hurting after bath time. I informed him that it was probably going to be itchy for a while.
He did NOT like my response.
Sorry kid. Mommy fucked up.
I didn’t even attempt books tonight. I put on the reading lamp in the boys’ room and allowed them to read (aka look at) books in bed until they fell asleep. This had always been calming for Aidan.
I’m a bit frazzled, but everyone is fast asleep.
It’s probably going to be a long day tomorrow. I can only hope that this reaction wears off by Monday…in time for school. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m probably going to have to write a note into school and make a phone call or two.
And to think they wanted me dress up as Super Mommy for Halloween…