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Monday, November 11, 2013

Eczema and Mommy Angst Part 1

WARNING: There is talk of baby poop in this post.  If you don't want to hear about it, 
then you can skip this one.

So here it is in written form.

Craig has eczema.

I have chatted with a few friends about it.  I have researched way too much about his eczema online.  It bothers me mentally and emotionally constantly.  I love all of my children so much and if something is wrong with them, I (of course) want to fix it.

Growing up my mother did an EXCELLENT job at learning how to manage my allergies and asthma.   So much so that I have grown into a person that doesn't feel defined or limited by these problems even though they are somewhat limiting.  As a mother myself now, I desperately desire to learn to manage my children's ailments so that I can teach them how to manage them when they are old enough.

But some things just seem complicated.  Like eczema.  I am having trouble working this out.

When Craig was about two months old, I noticed he had dry skin on his legs.  I didn't think a thing about it.   "Oh, dry skin... no big deal... babies get it... it goes away."

Then after a few weeks (months?) it dawned on me... this is not going away

Then I googled "infant eczema" having no idea what would pop up.  That was probably the biggest mistake of my life.  HORROR stories about people with eczema and how it controlled (and ruined) their lives were everywhere on the internet.  Anyone that knows me will tell you that I cannot stand listening to deep dark tales of what terrible thing happened to so-and-so (especially when it doesn't effect me or someone I have a connection to) because it effects me SO MUCH emotionally.  I found myself treasuring the sweet skin that Craig did have that was not effected, since I was afraid that it would later be covered by dry scaly weeping places.  And to a large degree, I was right.  Eventually, most of his arms and legs began to change and become covered in red and dry, weeping spots.

So my stress level about eczema went like this...

I learned that steroids would not be safe for babies since things put on a baby's skin can enter the their bloodstream prior to six months old.  Apparently it is why babies should not wear sunscreen or go swimming in chlorine, etc.  However, at Craig's four month check up, the doctor recommended Hydro-cortisone cream as the only solution while I began experimenting with cutting out certain foods.  I wasn't ready to use hydro-cortisone cream yet.

So we found some helpful solutions at around four months:
1.  Prayer
Honestly, we began to pray for Craig directly- laying on hands and with authority for weeks (and making a call to Bethel church and having him prayed for)- and parts of his eczema (noticeably his forehead and patches on his legs) began to clear up A LOT.  It was amazing.   Besides some of his eczema clearing up, it was a good time of being ministered to by God personally also.

2. Water + Cerave Lotion
Several times, I wet Craig's skin and put lotion on it while it was still wet.  This seemed pretty effective.

3. Bathing Once/Week
This seemed to be the perfect balance for bathing between not too much and not enough.

4. Only wearing cotton clothing

5. Putting all of our clothing on an extra rinse cycle to get out any extra detergent (and using all free and clear type detergents and dryer sheets.)

6. Vitamin D supplements (not sure if he really needs this, but many people have found it has helped their eczema!)

However, by his six month appointment there were two pretty significant spots (in the creases of one elbow and one ankle) that became open wounds and had a yellow film indicating infection (in spite of the fact that many other spots seemed better).  Just after this appointment, he began to have diarrhea.  One round of antibiotics later, he still had yellow film on the areas and still had diarrhea. 

I thought maybe the antibiotics had caused the diarrhea- or maybe he was teething?- or maybe he was having very loose stool due to not eating solids (I delayed that past 7 months).  Sometimes when he ate bananas or sweet potatoes his bm's would thicken up (sorry if this is TMI... you were warned!)

Finally, Melody got sick with something too (another story for another post?) and Craig had an outburst of what looked like hives (that I could not pinpoint a cause for), so I took both kids to the doctor the same day where Craig tested postive for strep throat.

Continue reading Part 2 of this post.

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