Charlotte was born in October 2010. She was born full term and I had a normal delivery with her. She was … and still is … a beautiful girl! I found out right away that Charlotte is a very determined little girl. She was born at about 7:30 pm and she stayed wide awake until at least 2 or 3 am. I immediately had issues with breastfeeding, just as I had with Oliver. I had continued to take my thyroid medication throughout my pregnancy and had my levels monitored closely. I tried so hard to exclusively breastfeed with Charlotte, but in the first few days she was losing weight and I just had nothing to give her. I started pumping immediately (just as I had done with Oliver) to try and increase my supply, but I had to supplement with formula for a few days regardless. I remember sitting with her in my arms the night after she was born … in a chair … all night rocking and singing to her … but still she screamed and screamed, just as Oliver had. Both my husband and I cried that first night at home … thinking why again?! So, after that first night Charlotte continued to not sleep, but slept slightly better than Oliver did. Oliver continued to be dairy free, but was still having some issues. I had gone dairy free as well, and felt better … the terrible stomach pains that I often had before, had seemed to disappear with being dairy free. Still I was tempted by delicious ice cream and yogurt and all the yummy things that I missed which contained dairy. So, after Oliver was in bed, or out of sight, I would cheat … just a little, but enough that it would affect Charlotte. After a while, I thought to myself … this is stupid and I am silly to be “cheating” when I know that it bothers her poor tummy … Oliver had improved being dairy free, so in my mind, Charlotte must have been plagued by the same thing. I went dairy free and continued to try and breastfeed. After some time, I just couldn’t keep up with the demand, and had to go on a terrible drug … Domperidone…which is used to increase breast milk supply. This isn’t what the drug is meant to do, but rather a side effect of using the drug. So, I started taking these pills, multiple a day…and I felt terrible. I had constant stomach problems and I generally felt unwell. But, I really wanted to continue to nurse … after all, everyone, I mean everyone around me told me breast milk was what was best for Charlotte. And, I agreed, but boy I had a hard time trying to provide this to her. So, life went on … I was dairy free or at least I tried. Still, I did cheat. I still had my coffee with creamer. I considered cutting coffee out all together, but hey, I hardly slept at night because of my newborn baby and my 2 year old was up still at least 3 times a night …for one thing or another … but mostly just awake. So, I was once again exhausted.
By the time that Charlotte was two or three months old I was beat. Or at least I felt that way. It was December … you know that time of year to be jolly and all. Well, I did the craziest thing imaginable that December. I tried Oliver on dairy. I really don’t know why I did it, other than I probably felt guilty of all the delicious treats I thought Oliver would be missing out on come Christmas time. He turned into a completely different kid. The diarrhea came back, a runny nose, chronic cough and very, very poor behaviour. Then, Oliver had tonsillitis and ear infections constantly.
January came and went and I had spent most of my time at one doctor or another for either of the kids. By the end of the month, Oliver had been to the doctor twice for tonsillitis … only getting a prescription for antibiotics once. Then 12 days after starting the antibiotic we were back for a stronger prescription, this time for a double ear infection. With each prescription we noticed that Oliver kinda went “crazy” for a lack of a better term. By this time he was almost 2 and a half years old. He was busy running around and talking up a storm. But after taking the antibiotics and along with other times that we couldn’t pinpoint a cause, Oliver acted strangely and not like himself. He would lie down on the floor and bang his head profusely into the hardwood, he would cry and throw tantrums, so much so that I was afraid to leave him in a room alone with Charlotte. I was afraid that he would hurt her. He continued to be up most nights and it didn’t matter what we did, he just wouldn’t sleep. And, the diarrhea was back with a vengence. To top it off, I was seeing a chiropractor with Charlotte to see if he could help her to improve her sleep. Yes, it was a busy month, but again, I’ll do anything to try and get my kids healthy.
February continued on the same as January. Two days into February I was at the doctor, with Charlotte this time. She had an ear infection and was started on antibiotics. She was just over 3 months old at the time. So, now I had two kids on strong antibiotics, both not sleeping and one little boy who was not himself at all. You see, I knew that Oliver was gentle and kind and he loved his sister, but there were moments, when his eyes seemed to be glazed over, black circles under them, that I didn’t recognize him. He would be aggressive with Charlotte, walk up and hit her and then immediately start crying about it. He knew it was wrong to hurt her, but it was like he didn’t have control over his own body. On February 4th, I knew something was terribly wrong with Oliver. I found blood in his stool. I took him into the ER immediately. He was still taking his antibiotics and still not doing well. I saw the paediatrician shortly after arriving. I told him the full story. Oliver had been off dairy, but we had started him back on it. Oliver had multiple bouts of tonsillitis and ear infections, etc, etc, etc. The doctor looked me in the eye and told me that the blood in Oliver’s stool was “no big deal and normal sometimes”. When I asked him whether or not the antibiotics and the severe diarrhea were related along with a dairy intolerance. He looked at me and said “No way”. I was told to go home and continue on with the dairy and with the strong antibiotics. I was p.o.’ed. I was so angry that this person just brushed me off and brushed Oliver off. I was terrified of what was happening inside Oliver’s little body. I looked at him lying on the stretcher and I thought to myself … No way. No way is this the way it should be. This is not NORMAL. I vowed to myself that I would find an answer. I would find out what was causing this beautiful little boy to turn into a terror. I had seen the true Oliver. So had my husband. He was a sweet, innocent, beautiful little boy. This wasn’t normal. I went home and I cried and cried that night. What could I do to help him? I knew what to do for starters … I stopped the antibiotics.
I did my research. I stayed up most nights researching, over the internet, reading blogs and books and whatever I could get my hands on. 13 days after being in the ER that day I took Oliver off dairy again. The next night Oliver slept through the night for the first time in his life. He was almost 2 and a half years old …