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Archive for February 26th, 2009

Four days after E2 finally recovered from her ordeal of having two teaspoons of lentils move through her system (and I recovered from my ordeal of not sleeping for three nights on end), and just as I was beginning to feel human again, my mother handed me a small bag of wonderfulness.  She’d picked it up for herself from Trader Joe’s but decided I needed a treat…  It was a bag of mini stroopwafels — those decadent little discs of caramelly deliciousness which I love so much, imported straight from the Netherlands.  My mouth began watering even as I took them from her hand and I heard bells ringing from the sheer excitement of it.

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At least, I thought the bells were ringing out of sheer excitement.  If I’d stopped for a moment, I would have thought about why I hadn’t allowed myself any stroopwafels since I’d found them at Trader Joe’s months and months ago.  If I’d been thinking, I would have checked the ingredients.  If I’d stopped for just one moment, I would have asked myself why those bells were actually tolling, not ringing.

But I didn’t think.  I was tired and strung out and so I ripped into the bag and popped one of those beautiful, buttery, caramelly little circles of pure love into my mouth.  And I melted as it melted.  Oh, I do love them!

I had another later that evening with my tea…  and then (oh!) another.  Just as good.  Even better, in fact, curled up on the couch with my feet tucked underneath me and a steaming cuppa tea in my other hand.  I had time to savour them…  Oh, I do love them!

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The pain came quickly — within an hour.  I had failed in my diligence and there was a price to be paid.  I went back through my day — what had I eaten?!? — and then realised who the culprit probably was and dashed up the stairs to check the packet.  There is was…  of course! Those bells!  There was a reason I’d always bypassed the stroopwafels before…  They contain soy and even though I’d only had three and they are tiny, that didn’t get me off the hook.  Stupid girl!

I turned to go downstairs and sit on the couch, to shiver until the pain left me, when my eye caught something else on the ingredient list that made one last bell suddenly clang loudly, but…  no…  no…  it’s way down on the list…  and I’ve only eaten three of them…  and they’re tiny, only an inch across…  and my body will surely filter it out before it gets to my milk… That’s what a mother’s body does, isn’t it?  Steps in and filters the world to protect the baby even when the mother fails to…

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When I got her up the next morning, she’d done a poo that was so strange it startled me.  It was as big as I’ve ever seen her little body do and was the colour and consistency of liquidised seaweed — so dark green it was almost black.  How odd!, I thought.  And that evening, when her father change her nappy and it was still that  same strange colour, I marveled at it alongside him, but still didn’t put two and two together.  And when the skin on her chin flared up with redness and when she had a miserably fitful night’s sleep and had me up five times to comfort her, I only cursed our bad luck and still never twigged what was really going on.

It wasn’t until the next day, when the dark green poos turned acidic and began coming in rapid-fire succession that I finally — finally — realised what was happening inside her.  My body had not managed to filter out the ingredient that had set that one lone bell to clanging.  And even though it was buried way down in the ingredient list, that wasn’t protection enough.  I’d only had three little stroopwafels, but it was enough…  Enough for at least one egg protein to pass through my stomach, through my gut, and up into my milk which I’d then lovingly fed to her.  And now her body was reacting with a wild vengeance that was putting her through hell, exhausting me, and turning the skin on her bum red-raw.

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That night was awful.  She couldn’t sleep, she couldn’t get comfortable.  She threw herself about in my arms in a exact replay of her lentil-ordeal less than a week before.  From midnight to 2am, she screamed and cried and flailed about, as I held her in helpless despair.  And from 2am to 4am, her body began a violent campaign to rid itself of this intruder, and she sat miserable and wide-eyed as poo after poo exploded out of a body she couldn’t control, leaving her bottom was so raw that it was bleeding, and had her screaming pitifully through every nappy change.

By 4.30am, it was all over and we both fell into an exhausted sleep.  The next morning, she and I were like zombies — it had been our second bout in a week with this allergy-imposed misery and it had knocked the stuffing out of both of us.  But she was on the mend, thank goodness — the poos returned to normal colour almost immediately, though the nappy rash took days to subside and left her screaming in heartbreaking pain every time she wee’d or pooed and whenever I changed her.

And I have, once again, learnt a lesson.  And perhaps for the final time…?  How many times do I have to get it wrong before I realise there is no leaway?  There is no room for manouevre.  There is no forgiveness, there are no second chances.  There is only this crazy, unnecessary, wild and violent reaction that she must endure — poor, innocent she.  And guilt and guilt and guilt and no sleep for me.

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