Because There Aren't Enough Things In a Mama's Life That Leak: A Post About Leaky Guts

I wanted to share the information I got from Norah's new doctor this week.
After months and months of elimination dieting, lotions & creams, sleepless nights and cheeks, wrists, thighs and ankles scratched raw, I threw in the towel [and several millions of dollars] and started looking for a doctor that would be able to help us.
I feel like every second of free time I've had where I wasn't meal planning, editing, [facebooking, pinteresting, doctor whoing...whatever] and being the general supermom/wife that I clearly am, I have been looking up dairy and egg free recipes, learning about Gut And Psychology Syndrome, and rubbing lotion on Norah. But when we came back from Rockport, it seemed like her immune/digestive system was completely shot. Every bite of everything she ate caused her to break out in hives. I'm talkin bananas, sweet potatoes, CHICKEN BROTH, everything made her break out, it was awful.

It started off as this:

Then once eggs and dairy were cut out it was good until the hives:

So here's the part where I'm supposed to get all medical and tell you what's going with Norah and the whole world goes "Oooooh, DUH!" But, guess what? Most people just don't get it. So I will briefly explain, to the best of my knowledge, what is going on, and you can do more research if you want ;] All babies are born with weak intestinal linings. This is why they can only have liquids, ideally breastmilk, for AT LEAST six months. Around this time, their gut lining starts to heal and close up. Lots of people start to introduce solids at this point [as I did] and that's [arguably] fine and dandy. BUT- if that gut isn't healed or properly lined to be able to digest the food you put into it, it can reek havoc throughout the body. The amount of area of which this can affect ones body is mind blowing. From hives, to asthma, to psychological disorders... the list is never ending. I can't believe how one organ[albeit a GIGANTIC FRIKIN ORGAN] can effect so much of your body. Ok, so babies need their gut lining closed before starting solid food, you with me so far?
Well, it turns out, *I* have leaky gut. My gut never fully healed. My mom said that my cheeks were just like Norah's were until I was about 2. I was vegetarian for many years [vegan briefly, but I liked cheese too much] and shortly after starting that, I became lactose intolerant. [It actually makes perfect sense to me now.] I was severely depressed during these years [leaky gut and a severe lack of vitamin D with no iron didn't help] I was still vegetarian during my pregnancy with Lily. To get enough protein, I ate peanut butter every single day, at least once but usually twice. Leaky gut gets worse with pregnancy[hello, your intestines are being pushed and stretched by another human] I found out early in my third trimester that "some studies show" children whose mother ate excessive amounts of peanut butter had children with peanut allergies. Lily has a life threatening allergy to peanuts now. It's essentially my fault, NBD. [studies actually do show that of every woman observed, those who did not eat any peanuts during their pregnancy had 0% peanut allergies among their children, interesting, huh?] I also had a six month long, terrible, marriage crushing yeast infection that was impossible to treat.Take a look through Lily's first year- still vegetarian, severe post partum depression, Lily has dangerous peanut allergy. Lily turns a year old, God tells me to start eating meat, I find out I'm pregnant with Norah. But this time, I'm armed with a year of extensive foodie research and know a lot more about how to keep me and my baby healthy. So every day I eat lots of lean protein, very little carbs, very little sugar, 2-3 hard boiled eggs and 1-2 oz of cheese. Yeast infection arrives at about eight/nine months, so MUCH later than it did during the first pregnancy. Norah is born, face is clear for a few days, small dots start to come around when normal baby acne does, but never goes away. Her face gets really bad when my PPD kicks in again. She shows signs of being ready for solids much earlier than Lily, and since now I know everything there is to know about baby nutrition [sarcasm] I start feeding her. Can you see where I'm going with all of this yet? So since she was 3 months old I have been on a strict diet of no eggs or dairy- which is in a LOT of food. No butter, no goat's dairy [FETA] all and any food that has even the tiniest trace of eggs or dairy. It's been very tough. But, her body hit it's breaking point. About two months ago it just kinda gave up on trying to digest food. It's allergy alarm went off to everything she ate as if to say "No way man, I'm not ready" even though she'd been eating food for a while. It was then, after giving her benadryll after everything she ate, then essential oil baths, I decided I needed to find some help.

If you'd like to know the doctor we decided on, please feel free to email me [mae annette at gmail dot com]/message me on facebook. He is locating in Arlington, Texas [also sees patients in Plano once a week] and is very kind, knowledgeable and I believe that he cares about Norah. We tested positive for major egglactose, and casein allergies as well as a mildsoysugarwheatgluten, and red meat. So...I've eliminated all of those too, with the exception of red meat, I am allowing myself some of that. It is down to just meat and veggies around here.And we are both Vitamin D deprived [insert me drinking a quart of chicken broth a day] And Norah is starting to show some improvement as well! She can now tolerate some chicken, green peas, banana, sweet potato, coconut anything [she LOVES coconut!] and chicken broth, which she proudly drinks from her sippy cup.

I never knew I had so much self control. This has been VERY hard for me. But, it's not like dieting. It's not like I can say, "Oh screw it! I'll just do some extra minutes on the treadmill tomorrow to make up for this butter in my oatmeal[ya, let's not use brownies as an example...I am lightyears away from brownies right now...] no, any slip up costs us dearly. Scabby red face, itchy thighs and ankles, up all night screaming. That my friends, is not worth it.

 But, THERE IS HOPE for us!
All of this dieting, and supplements, will eventually stop. We are eating only these foods bc they are easily digestible. So over time, when our gut is healed, we may be able to start adding in some foods we weren't able to before. I'm sure that will be the day Jesus comes back for us as I can't see how that day could possibly get any better. Norah's face looks so fantastic, and that does make me very happy. Here is the latest not phone picture I have of her. No retouching of her little face needed!

If your child has food allergies, asthma, eczema or any of the above mentioned problems, I would highly suggest gettingthis book and finding a doctor near you with some experience in healing leaky gut.
Thank you for reading all of this [or just skimming through to find what looks like could be funny/informative/held against me in a court of law.] I hope it gave some good insight into what we've been dealing with lately.

Happy Monday!