How we deal with baby/ infant Eczema!

As I’ve previously shared, my son was born prematurely and with this comes several potential problems. Due to being subjected to several rounds of antibiotics as a baby, as well as having mine and his dads allergy-ridden genes, he has become a sufferer a few different allergies, including Eczema.

When it first appeared, it was very minimal. Just dry flakes of skin on the tops of his arms. It seemed to be kept at bay with daily moisturising. However about 8 months ago it started to spread and became more severe.

At this time I began to google information and images of it in the hope that I would find some miracle cure, which I didn’t. In fact some of the images I found were so severe that they made me think my boy had gotten off easy.

However with the rapid growth of the condition, came another issue.

Scratching!

This was so much worse than just looking at dry, flaky patches of skin ruining my baby boys otherwise perfect complexion. He was scratching so hard that it was becoming inflamed and at certain points the skin would break and bleed.

Now, the thing with Matthew in particular is that he doesn’t really experience pain in the same way we do. He has sensory issues and because of this he will scratch until his skin is completely raw.

My husband and I had to take action.

We spoke with my Health Visitor who referred Matthew to a Dermatologist.  This would be a few weeks waiting, so in the meantime our GP prescribed Matthew an anti-fungal & steroid ointment as well as cream for moisturising.

For the first few days this combination seemed to help keep the itching at bay, but it soon returned and with vengeance. Our appointment with the Dermatologist was brought forward because of this and Matthew was prescribed a stronger Steroid cream.

This worked wonders for a good few weeks, until once again it just stopped being effective. His condition worsened considerably, to the extent that it was all over his body, from head to toes.

I felt completely desperate. My beautiful boy was in pain all the time, scratching his lovely face and body for some sort of relief, which was only making the patches of skin even more inflamed and painful for him.

It was then, as if by fate, that I came across a post on Facebook of a mum who had experienced the same problem with her little girl. She had discovered a brand called Child’s Farm, who specialise in dermatologically tested skincare products for children. They make Bubble Bath’s, Body Oils, Moisturisers and all manner of products related to children’s skincare. So I bought some of their products and tried them out. Within an hour of use, I noticed a difference.

Matthews skin was less red and angry. He was scratching less and just seemed much more comfortable. We were elated!

Of course, it didn’t solve all the problems, but it did give us a better understanding of the type of skin regiment that seems to work for Matthew. I know it won’t work for every child, but I thought it would at least be helpful sharing our process in case you are a mum or dad at your wits end and you haven’t yet tried this.

So here goes:

  • Every morning we apply one of three steroid creams/ ointments to the patches of skin effected. (We have found this to be the most effective way to ensure the best results. Using the same one over and over again eventually becomes less effective at lessening his symptoms). We use Eumovate Ointment, Daktacort Hydrocortisone and Betamethasone Valerate. (All of these were prescribed by our GP)
  • We follow this with either Child’s Farm Coconut Body Oil, Child’s Farm Moisturiser or Oilatum.  (Child’s Farm products were bought online at their website, but are available in Boots – Oilatum was prescribed by our GP)
  • We bathe on alternate nights so as to prevent Matthews skin getting too dry. On bath nights we use Child’s Farm Baby Bubble Bath in warm water (37 degrees Celsius). Matthew is washed with Child’s Farm Baby Wash, which we use to wash his hair as well as his body.
  • After his bath we pat dry his skin and apply Eumovate Ointment to the effected patches of skin, once again followed by Child’s Farm Coconut Body Oil, Child’s Farm Moisturiser or Oilatum.
  • We also use Epaderm Ointment on a regular basis throughout the day to Matthews elbows, backs of legs and any other folds and creases in his skin. This is a very gentle ointment not unlike Vaseline in its properties. It’s definitely not a necessary part of his skincare routine, but we have used it since he was born and so it’s more of a habit, but certainly doesn’t hurt. (This was prescribed by our GP)

We apply his prescribed creams/ ointments twice a day, in the morning and at night before bed. His Moisturisers are always applied after these treatments, however I often apply them sporadically throughout the day if I feel his skin is needing it.

The most important thing we’ve learned about this process is that we need to keep his skin as moisturised as possible. Missing just one opportunity to do this can result in a breakout and it takes far longer to rectify the issue than just to stick with this skincare regiment.

It has taken 8 months to find what works for us and it has been the most soul destroying time of our lives, helplessly watching our little boy suffer. Hopefully anybody going through the same thing with their wee one finds this useful and if you would like anymore information please get in touch with me. 33852315732_b7a1a777d8_o33968583176_ca6977498e_o33624308340_b55bf55f4e_o33166396944_e65127f39f_o

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Trying Trying Trying… Pt 3

Apologies for this follow up post taking so long. It’s been a crazy few weeks and time has quite literally gotten away from me. We have all been struck down with every sick and flu virus going and even now, I still feel like i’m at deaths door.

Anyway…

Michael and I were just going through the pregnancy motions. Picking up bits and pieces every time we were out shopping, and excitedly imagining  the amazing potential few months ahead of us.

I started showing at the start of August.

The tiniest little bump started to emerge and my clothes began to feel so uncomfortable that I resorted to wearing leggings with every outfit (one of the best parts of being pregnant)!

On the 14th of August I was attending my cousins Hen Party. I felt quite run down, but nothing out of the ordinary. Just tired.

It was later on that night, after going to the bathroom that I felt a bit strange. TMI moment coming here, but I had a funny discharge on my underwear and something just felt wrong.

I put it down to just feeling tired and thought I might have been coming down with the flu. My bones were aching and I just wanted to lie down. So I went home.

I awoke the next day feeling even worse, and I was still having a strange discharge.

It wasn’t until dinner time that night that I noticed something completely out of the ordinary.

I was having a tightening in my stomach, that kept coming and going. So after about 20 minutes I decided to pay attention and time it. They were coming every 10 minutes and were lasting around about 30-40 seconds. No pain as such, just a weird cramping sensation.

After speaking to Michael, I decided to call Midwifery Triage to get their opinion on the matter. The lady I spoke to was lovely. She said it sounded like i might have a urine infection but advised me to head up just for a quick check.

We casually made our way to the hospital, thinking at the very worst, I would be sent home with an antibiotic.

We were shown into an examination room and a midwife, along with a junior doctor came in and asked me to lay on the bed and prepare for an internal examination just to check everything was ok.

This is already an extremely uncomfortable thing to do, not necessarily in terms of pain but with regards to your dignity…

It is quite simply left at the door.

So i reluctantly got myself ready for examination and lay back counting the seconds till it was over… when I was frightened within an inch of my life by the shriek that came from the midwife.

“Stop stop stop”! She instructed the junior doctor.

“Do not go any further… Slowly and carefully remove the speculum”!

She then ever so calmly made her way to the top of the bed where Michael and I were waiting to find out what was going on. She gently pushed past Michael and pressed a red button on the wall behind him and an alarm sounded off in the corridor.

That’s when she bent down next to me and said, “Danielle don’t be alarmed, but we can see your waters and it would appear you are in pre-term labour. The room is about to fill with a number of medical staff, but they are all here to help so just try to stay calm”.

Calm???

Not possible!

The next few minutes, hours and days were a blur. I was medicated to the max with steroids, antibiotics and all other sorts of drugs to try and slow down the labour. I managed a further 4 days holding onto Matthew before he was born, breech and weighing a mere 1 pound 9 ounces.

My angel was laid onto my hip for a full minute before being whisked away from me, for what would turn out to be the most difficult 4 and a half months of our lives…

But that’s a whole other chapter…


Trying Trying Trying… Pt 2

In April of 2015 I had a minor meltdown. 

I was home by myself and felt an overwhelming rush of emotions that resulted in a good 8 hours of self-loathing and depression. 

It was a culmination of years of failed attempts and getting pregnant and crazy hormones. 

My husband came home from work and spent his entire evening trying to console me. It did eventually work, but it was definitely a dark day for me, and was a stark realisation of how I was really feeling on the inside. 

I should also mention that I had been suffering from Gallstones as a result of my weight loss and my attacks were becoming more and more frequent. 

On the 2nd of May 2015 I was blue lighted to Wishaw General Hospital with a sever Gallstones attack. I was admitted to the Surgical Receiving Ward and was being prepped for emergency surgery. 

The nurse Lynn came and took some bloods from me and I had to provide a urine sample, just to make sure that everything was all in order before they started the procedure. I was told it would be an hour before I would get my results back, so I sent my hubby away to get himself some food. 

Minutes after he left, my nurse and the registrar came over and pulled the curtains around my bed. I remember feeling incredibly nervous after seeing the serious look on their faces. 

“Danielle we have the results of your urine sample and it would appear you are pregnant”

Well…  Of all the things I expected to hear, I can honestly say that was not even on the list. It was so surreal and so unexpected. But when I began to think about it, I had been having some pregnancy symptoms, including nausea in the morning and sore boobs, something that I hadn’t experienced any of the other times. 

However, my nurse advised me that the urine sample isn’t always 100% so they would have to wait on my bloods coming back to make sure. She advised that this would show my HCG levels (pregnancy hormone), and we would be looking, based on my last period, for them to be around 500-600 mlU/ml.

So while waiting I called my hubby and told him he had to come back,  I didn’t want to blurt it out over the phone.

When he returned I told him our news, as all of the surgical nursing staff hovered nearby to watch his reaction. It wasn’t the fairy-tale setting by any means, but it was a moment in our lives that I will never forget.

While we sat and chatted excitedly about the potential pregnancy, Lynn came over with the results of my blood test. My HCG levels were 32,000 mlU/ml. Significantly higher than the minimum levels Lynn told me was required to confirm the pregnancy. I still have the paperwork with the results on it in our memory box.

So no surgery… And home to celebrate we went!

The next few months were pretty normal. I had my 12 week scan and saw my little button on the screen for the first time. It was wonderful watching our baby grow throughout each different scan. We found out on our 20 weeks scan that we were having a boy, a feeling I had felt since we found out we were expecting.

We were over the moon. We would soon have a son… In fact it would be sooner than any of us would ever have anticipated.


Trying, Trying, Trying…

My husband and I have been together (off and on) for 16 years. We were High School Sweethearts. He is the best person I have ever known. Kind, considerate and everything else in between.

I knew, despite the many fall-outs, that he was my person. By that I mean, even on the occasions where we had called it quits, I still wanted to tell him everything I was going through, even if that were about another (I say it loosely) “love interest”.

It was then that I realised, there is nobody better than this man. He’s as good as it gets!

We were married in 2011 and immediately began trying to get pregnant (something that we would have happily accepted even before marriage).

It was the most frustrating period of our lives, and despite doing everything right (buying ovulation kits and working out all of the nonsensical mathematics of it), it just didn’t happen.

In fact, we just struck out, time and time again.

On one occasion I woke up in dreadful pain. Bleeding heavily and doubled over with cramp in my stomach. Michael being the angel he is, took me to A&E and there I was advised that I may be having a Miscarriage.

This happened again.

And again.

It was heartbreaking.

My doctor advised me that we were to keep trying. It can take time. He didn’t want to even consider IVF until I was 30.

By this time however, we had given up. We spoke at length about whether or not we would be enough for each other. Just us two.

I felt strongly that Michael and I could have a wonderful life on our own. He did too, but he clung on to hope that one day it would happen for us. He’s like that. It’s one of the things I love most about him, but also one of his most annoying qualities. I just wanted to put an end to it and enjoy our lives as they were. For at least a short period of time we did this.

However, in my head I needed a distraction from it all.

I joined my local Weight Watchers and began a healthy eating/ exercise regime. It was a great focus for me and I found that I simply forgot all about our baby making woes.

I lost a great deal of weight within a very short period of time, and backed up this weight loss with a pretty rigorous exercise regime.

I felt the best I had in years. I was happy and I was content.

It’s amazing how looking back you realise how much you were in fact kidding yourself.


Still Trying To Figure This Out!

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So I had a blog a few years ago which I really enjoyed writing.

It was a mixture of beauty and lifestyle posts, and I posted most days. This time around I’m not quite so sure of the content I want to focus on.

I have many interests and therefore many things I could quite happily write about. However recently I’ve realised there is only one thing in particular that I feel passionately about.

My son.

Now I’m not in any way, shape or form declaring myself an expert in the field of paediatrics (I am very much NOT) but I am an expert on my son, and with him comes an abundance of information related to Premature Births, Child Illnesses, Disability and the more recently the Autism and Sensory Spectrum.

When my son was born 16 weeks prematurely I documented his journey throughout the NICU, coming home and everything that followed that, and after hearing it from friends and family so often, I have decided to put all of my words on paper and turn his story into a book.

Now please don’t be kidded, I do not think for a minute that I am an author, or that my careless and often blatantly incorrect grammar is worthy of anybody ever laying eyes on it. But I do believe that it is important to be able to physically hold this story in my hands, as opposed to scrolling through it on a social media site.

So on that basis I am going to incorporate Matthews Preemie Story into this, my daily musings. I hope those of you perhaps reading it, find it helpful or in some way valuable. It is personal of course, and in no way indicative of the journey anyone else may be going through, but i’m sure it will at least be a comfort to know that you are not alone. That someone else has faced the same difficult decisions you have. That someone else has suffered the same heartache that you have.

So from tomorrow I will post an excerpt of Matthews Preemie Story for you all to read. This in addition to, most likely, the many uninteresting and exceedingly uneventful moments of my life.

Enjoy! 😀22017911706_510a97d093_o


Everything Happens All At Once!

2017 has been fun so far! 

A few weeks ago my Grandmother (in-law) was hospitalised. She’s been quite ill for a while and had a fall resulting in a lot of bumps and bruises and a potential fracture. 

She’s been in hospital rehabilitating for over 3 weeks now and it has been go go go eve since she went in, trying to organised her house and put things in place like chair lifts etc.

So to say my Husband and I are exhausted is an understatement. 

He’s been working as usual and then fitting time in after work for hospital visits, sorting the house out and then family time (when able). 

So our healthy eating has been really off and on for a start, and spending any real time together has been a struggle. 

However, our little boy had his Neurodevelopment appointment last Friday and we would at least have some time together then to go and see how the land lies with our boy.

For several months now I have noticed some strange behaviour from Matthew. Nothing extreme, but some things that are just not “normal” ( not that normal really exists). 

🔹He is very limited with his speech. He can say dada until he’s blue in the face, and as much as he knows who daddy is and uses this to address Michael, he also chants it all day long. This is the only word he uses. He does gurgle and makes other noises too, but just not words. 

🔹He doesn’t play in the conventional way that other children do. What I mean by this is he studies his toys. He feels them in his hands and moves them around so he can see every angle of the toy. He doesn’t use toys for the way they are intended. An example of this was displayed at his appointment on Saturday where he was shown a Rubber Duck, the Physio squeezed it and gave it to Matthew to see how he would react. Matthew studied the duck, touched the beak, twisted it around in his hand, looking at every angle of it and then put it in his mouth. This is the behaviour he displays when I give him anything to play with. 

🔹He is overwhelmed by new people and places. By this I mean, if he finds himself in a room he doesn’t recognise, he can get very upset. Same goes for people he doesn’t know. In Toddlers for example, he doesn’t notice any of the children around him because he is so focused on the toys, but when he eventually realises he is surrounded by people, he gets very upset and shakes his body quite vigorously.

🔹 He is averse to loud noises/ singing/ shouting. This is quite variable though as it depends on the kind of mood he’s in, but about 75% of the time he will become very upset by cheering, for example; at the end of a song at Toddlers, or when Michael and I are making a fuss of him for being a good boy.

🔹 He is hypnotised by singing, music and lights. I have always sung to him (even as a tiny tot in his incubator) and he will 100% focus on my every word until I finish. Same goes for his 2 favourite songs, which the entire family as a whole have on a YouTube playlist just in case he needs soothing! He is also mesmerised by lights and will actually press his face against some of his toys that light up. 

🔹 Until very recently he had a very strong aversion to baths and water in general. It was my sister who suggested distracting him with Peppa Pig while putting him in the bath and I can’t quite believe that after a year of being so strongly opposed to it, he got in and for the 1st time didn’t cry. He now bathes every night without a problem and without Peppa! 

🔹 He has quite bad eczema so has lots of patches on his skin that are sore. However he will scratch them until they bleed and doesn’t really show any signs that it is painful. As well as this he will often go into little trances and he’ll punch himself in the head or tug on his ears, again without any real sign of pain or discomfort. 

This isn’t the entire list of things but these are the main issues we’ve been having.

So… I have had a pretty good idea of what’s been going on for quite some time and have spoken about it at length with Michael and my family. However, Matthews consultant actually said the words on Friday and as much as I thought I was prepared, I wasn’t. 

Matthew is showing strong and clear signs of Autism (non-verbal specifically at this time).

It hit me like a tonne of bricks! 

Not because of the extra work and sacrifice it will take for Michael and I, but because he’s my baby and I just want the absolute best for him. I want him to have a wonderful and full life and it frightens me to think that he won’t have that, or that he will face hardships because of it. He has already endured so much and it’s unfair that he has to face any more difficulties. 

Needless to say, we know we have the support of our entire family and Matthew is loved beyond measure. It will just be a trying few years until we figure out exactly how to manage things.

Also it is worth noting that Matthew is still very young and so things could change and become less prominent. However the hospital and NHS in general are trying to be more pro-active in diagnosing Autism at an earlier stage so that symptoms can be managed quicker and more effectively. 

It will be a while before we receive our official diagnosis but they are already putting plans in place for early intervention purposes. 

So… Matthew will attend another intense block of Physio/ Occupational therapy, as well as Speech & Language Therapy and he is being referred to a Toddler class for children with Special Needs. 

We are so happy and thankful for the level of support Matthews medial team are showing. His consultant was wonderful on Friday. She was the first doctor to give Matthew a chance to come off his ventilator and although he didn’t manage on his first attempt it always meant the world to Michael and I that she had so much faith in him to try it. At the appointment on Friday she told me that she could see the sadness in my eyes but that I should remember everything that he has come through and that I have so much to be proud of.

I do. 

My boy is a warrior. He is an amazing little human being and I love him more than I ever thought I was capable of loving another person. He is a beautiful, funny and clever little boy who loves Peppa Pig, Calvin Harris and his cuddle blanket.

There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him and there’s nothing that will ever happen in our lives that will make me think he is anything less than what he is…

My perfect little boy!!! 💙