My husband Dustin and I welcomed our first child, our daughter (pictured!) in March of 2014. We attempted to go with natural labor route but after 21+ hours of being induced I got an epidural, it was my best chance of pushing her out because I needed rest. She was a healthy baby, except she was colicky and didn’t sleep well. Through chiropractic care I learned about food intolerances and started to remove foods from my diet that she was reacting to. After a tongue tie and lip tie release procedure, probiotics, and my elimination diet she was a much happier baby!
About six months later I personally started to have awful GI symptoms and when she was 8 months old she had her first allergic reaction to eggs. While it wasn’t the extreme of what it could have been it made me very anxious every time she ate about anything new. Between the already damaged gut (high stress schooling & job, good amount of antibiotics as a child, and poor diet as a teenager), plus now the stress of figuring out what my child could and couldn’t eat, by the time she was about 10-11 months old I had awful pain in my right lower abdomen after literally everything I ate.
I had the full work-up and everything modern medicine was looking for came back negative. I thankfully already knew about the Paleo lifestyle and elimination diets, so I started there but ended up losing a good chuck of weight because I was eating so limited and still breastfeeding. The stress and worry of not knowing what was wrong was also making everything worse. I had a good friend who had been to a local physician who practiced some functional medicine and got in about a month later with him. After some functional medicine testing including allergy testing ultimately I had “leaky gut” and bacterial overgrowth. And while I didn’t realize it at the time, likely a large deficiency of B vitamins. I took some natural and conventional approaches to treatment.
Along the way I learned about histamine intolerance, gut healing protocols, the gut’s link to inflammatory diseases, and food allergy testing, while I knew this wasn’t a quick healing process I was frustrated that I didn’t feel too much better even six months later. I ended up seeking a few other practitioners (including a gastroenterologist), all of whom I’m grateful for their part in my journey. From those providers, I learned about the impact of stress on the symptoms I was having, and natural approaches to balancing stress with both supplement and lifestyle medications. I also learned how even my low hormone levels were impacting my symptoms.
Two years later, after treatment for fungal overgrowth, about six months of acupuncture, and a change in supplements, was when I really started to feel a lot better. At this point, I felt like my body was healthy enough to consider trying for another baby. Thankfully God was on the same page and after a wonderful 6 weeks in Spain with my family and teaching for a study abroad program, we got home and found out we were expecting!
For my daughter thankfully we have learned a lot for her too. There is a wonderful DO pediatrician nearby that we take her too occasionally for the natural approaches to allergies and gut health. I’ve learned about how important early introduction of probiotics can be vital for babies (blog post coming soon on that!), how foods effect skin conditions like eczema, natural approaches to constipation and much more.
During the midst of all of this, I spent a lot of time in prayer, often asking for healing, and a purpose for all of this. Thankfully my prayers were answered. During my second pregnancy I had minimal GI symptoms which has been wonderful for maintaining a well balanced diet. But most importantly all that I have learned along the way has impacted so many people. After a conversation about all of this with one of my dear friends whose little boy had awful reflux symptoms, she visited the pediatrician mentioned above and learned his symptoms were due to a corn allergy, and with elimination diet and some supplements, he is a new kiddo. His reflux was so severe he was hospitalized during the first year of life. I hope I can get her to write a guest post on that because she is also a PharmD! The many other people that have been impacted have been friends and family as well as my patients. My goal for this blog is to continue to share what I have learned and what I am continuing to learn with a broader audience.
I hope you will join me on our family’s continued journey towards wellness!