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During our visit home, we were busy.  Very busy.  No sooner had I got off the plane at Brisbane airport, I was whisked away to see a GP.  Of course, his visit was only a short one, to make sure we were headed down the right path.  He was able to confirm a few of the theories we had suspected, and to disprove some of the more dubious thoughts we'd had.  Also he was able to give us a stack of referrals to specialists.  Given our short timeframe, this was a tremendous boon.  It was still a long shot, as most of the reputable specialists had waiting lists of up to 18 months.  It occurred to me that Ava would probably grow out of any allergies in that time.  That, or, you know, she would die.  18 months is a long time for a baby...

Our next stop - after a quick shower (not quite enough time for a change of clothes or bite to eat, however) was to a specialist lactation consultant.  I wish I could say that I was enthusiastic about this one - the lady had a lot to talk about.  She was very well read & everything she said was valuable.  Right up until the part where I fell asleep...  After a full day in Singapore, sorting Meg & Ava out for their flight to Brisbane, flying to Manila, picking up the firstborn, getting home & repacking bags for all of us, dropping Bruce back at the kennel, then getting back on a plane for Brisbane - via Singapore - I was a bit sleepy... For some reason, the LC chose the moment I drifted off to discuss her recommendations for a diet that Meg should follow.  So while I got a vital hour of slumber, Meg was led down a rabbit-hole of dietary intricacies that I still can't wrap my head around....  It was a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma...  So Meg & her mum (themselves frayed from travel) tried to comprehend the web of Matrix-esque data. 

Aside from missing all the information first-hand, and having to sort through the pages of recommendations we brought home, one other thing led me to question it all.  The fact that she had advised against any immunisation/vaccination.  She hadn't said outright not to, but her reference material did feature a lot of pro-choice books offering a different slant on the 'question' of vaccinations.  In my mind, this is a deal-breaker.  It only served to bring everything else into doubt for me.  I was no longer so miffed about falling asleep, but of course, this didn't do much to ease Megan's mind...

Or next two appointments weren't until a few days later, a bit of a miracle, really.  Instead of the 18 months, someone had cancelled and we snuck into their slot with a very reputable paediatric gastroenterologist and a paediatric allergist.  They were both able to confirm (as far as is reasonably possible) everything we'd suspected to be true.  Ava had an allergy to the proteins in dairy, and thus couldn't handle breast milk containing dairy, soy, eggs, nuts or seafood.  Fortunately, they both agreed that we'd taken the best possible steps to help the situation.  Our miracle formula that we'd muled over was paying off!  We weighed her there & were amazed to hear that she was up to 4.8kg...  She had put on roughly 500g in two weeks!  Of course we didn't want to get too excited, but as it turns out, she's kept the weight up which is amazing!  For the first time she's started to develop like she should've so long ago... 

The end result: we have decided to cease breastfeeding, and rely solely on the formula.  It was a very hard decision for the both of us, as we'd love to continue along the natural path, knowing that breast feeding is always the best option.  Unfortunately, given the incredibly difficult time we've already had feeding, as well as the allergies, our need for Ava to grow has outweighed our want to be 'natural' parents. 

Ultimately, I'm happy that we've made the right decision and I fully support Megan in this.  It's already made our lives much easier and much happier, which has had a direct impact on Ava already.  She's a completely different baby to the one that left Manila earlier.  There's no more screaming, no (entirely) sleepless nights, no more sobbing parents, no more frustration.  Instead, we have a normal, happy little girl, and that's everything I could have ever asked for. 

 


Grandma
11/19/2013 2:41am

I do think the Lactation Consultant was a very supportive person and extremely knowledgeable ... Ava's problems were more than just allergies. Immunisation ... well I believe in that having had my 3 young daughters grow up in Bangladesh and Laos ... I learnt so much about allergies and to add this to my previous knowledge I used as a breastfeeding counselor I will be very knowledgable for future grandchildren ... I am glad I found the lactation consultant and that we got to see specialists so quickly ... Ava is a lucky girl ... love her so much. I will always do all I can to help and support her.

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