Monday, August 13, 2012

HFMD: Our Experience and What Has Helped

Thank God for Toddler-wearing!
Ceaghan caught his first childhood illness. It was only a matter of time really. It is HFMD (Hand Foot Mouth Disease) and it is very common and spreading like wildfire throughout the community currently. The reason it spreads so rapidly is due to the fact that the child (or person) who has contracted in is the most contagious 4-6 days BEFORE the onset of symptoms. It is transferred through saliva and other body functions like sneezing, coughing and in fecal matter. Its like a ninja virus that sneaks up on everyone when you dont expect it at all!
  We were visiting with Nana when it all started. He was happily playing around and excited and then he got very irritable and sleepy. I rocked him in my arms and he actually fell asleep (that is unusual for him) My mom said that he felt kind of warm but I didn't really think much of that. When we got him home he was still sleepy and seemed to get hotter and hotter. We weren't sure what was going on. I had taken him with me to the breastfeeding fair at our local health department the day prior and I was concerned that he had caught something nasty from there. But we believe that fevers are good for you. They are the body's way of fighting off infection. When you use medications to eliminate the fever you are stopping an important body process and drawing out the time it takes for your body to fight. Your brain does a wonderful job of keeping your fever from reaching over 104'. He was hot but not so hot that we couldn't touch him. He was also still playing and smiling at this point. That night he was hot all night and didn't sleep great. He was having chills.  The next morning he seemed a lot cooler to the touch and like he was feeling a bit bad. Towards the middle of the day he started complaining of mouth pain. He would point under his tongue and say "OW OW OUCH!" "My mouth hurts!" He kept wanting to nurse to soothe and comfort himself. I reached out to Facebook friends asking what they thought could be going on. We dont go to conventional doctors unless we really need to or just for a diagnosis and then treat things with natural/alternative medicines. Many friends suggested HFMD and others thought Strep could be possible. Someone suggested that he could be saying that his mouth hurts and it be his throat. I went to the store real quick to grab a few things and left him with Chris. I picked up a homeopathic fever and pain medicine. When I returned he would cry when he ate or drank something and was very upset. Chris and I decided to check in his mouth and throat with a flashlight. And there it was, his throat and the back of his mouth were covered in red sores! It looked extremely painful. Our chiropractor was closed unfortunately and I felt like we needed a diagnosis so we could efficiently treat him. So we all packed up and headed for the emergency room. Right before we left Ceaghan was so hot and lethargic and would not swallow his spit so I gave him a dose of the homeopathic remedy as we ran out the door. By the time we got there he had no fever, was playing, laughing and running around! He was making friends with random people in the ER and making many people laugh. We would have left but I still felt like we needed a diagnosis in order to treat the sores properly. We were seen by a Nurse Practitioner, who was actually very nice. She looked in his throat and was taken back! She said "WOAH, yeah that is one infected throat!" She decided to swab for strep. This was extremely painful and upsetting to Ceaghan. But she did get him a Popsicle for being brave. She told us how we needed to wait on the results and that if its strep she would recommend an antibiotic. We started discussing antibiotics (not in a argumentative way, we just were discussing) and I told her how we really dont do antibiotics unless they are extremely necessary. She told me that she thinks that antibiotics are over used and how she has been reading research about ear infections being best left untreated. She said they will go away on their own. I was so shocked to hear this evidence based information from her! I wish every practitioner would feel the same. Then I asked "If the strep swab comes back negative, what else do you think it could be?" She responded that it could just be a viral thing that we would watch. I then said "What about Hand Foot Mouth? I have friends that had it recently, and the symptoms sound similar." She looked intrigued, and said "Yeah I hadn't thought of that, I will go look up some information while we wait. We sat and waited, Ceaghan ate popsicles and flirted with the nurses.  She came in and told me that the strep test was negative and that she wanted to get a better look at his throat to see if it is HFMD. We held him down and she got a great look with the overhead light. She decided that indeed it did look like HFMD because of hos round the sores were. There is nothing that makes it go away, as with all viral things they need to run their course.
Ceaghan about to get adjusted by our Chiro!
  We went home and continued to give him the homeopathic remedy for the pain. I set out on a search for alternative medicines that would help comfort him and strengthen his immune system. We took him to get adjusted by the chiropractor the next day and also got some OnGuard essential oil blend from a friend. This helped her HFMD clear up quickly and I read other accounts of it helping others. We mixed a few drops into coconut oil and slather it onto his feet where the pores are the largest and it will absorb. OnGaurd contains oils that are immune builders, anti-viral and anti-bacterial. He has been improving and is completely himself other than the painful sores that are still in his mouth and throat. They are taking time to heal but I am sure it wont be much longer. We feel really lucky that Cesilee did not catch it or either of us. What a big reminded that we need to be more  careful about germs. Hopefully we can avoid any other illnesses for awhile!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

EC and our 7 month old!

  Well it has been a little while since I have updated about how the natural infant hygiene is going. I have been busy planning Ceaghans 3rd Birthday party and coordinating our local Improving Birth Rally For Change. Cesilee is now 7 months old. She can sit up on her own and even propels herself up from sitting on the potty to standing. She is not crawling yet though, she hasn't mastered both the arm and leg movements and ends up doing this very cute inch worm thing. She has been doing so amazing with giving us signs that she needs to eliminate. She urgently babbles, pops on a off the breast while nursing and even cries if its urgent. She is still dry during naps and goes upon waking and then around 15-20 minutes after that sometimes. Something that shocked me was that I randomly put her in her Grovia  diapers going out for a few days in a row and she did better in them than she ever did in trainers! I dont understand why but she would hold it longer and be more persistent about expressing her need. I dont really love having her in diapers, they are bulky and more work to get on and off. I was almost about to just only use them though if she had more success in them. But we started putting her in her trainers again and she is now expressing the need just as much in them!
  Chris is having more success as well. He would often miss her signs and end up with a lap full of pee before. But now she is getting his attention. I think the introduction of the tiny potty has helped as well. I purchased a Baby Bjorn smart potty, a clear tiny potty, and a pottete plus travel potty. I first bought the bjorn and she really was loving being able to sit on it on her own (she could even before being able to actually sit unassisted) and I realized that we were having more success using it. Before the potties I was walking her to the bathroom and holding her over the sink or the toilet to go. This was successful until she started reaching and grabbing things and becoming very distracted. On the little potty she can have a teether or toy to keep her hands busy. I keep the baby bjorn potty in the living room and the tiny clear potty on  the end corner of my bed. The pottete plus travel potty is great for keeping in your bag/vehicle. It has disposable liners but you can just put it on top of prefolds and then throw the soiled ones in a wet bag. I bought it because she had gotten so comfortable with going on the tiny potty at home that she didn't want to go being held over and sink or toilet while we were out. Also it is very convenient when we are at an outdoor location like a park that doesn't have a restroom.  I continue to get surprised how well EC goes while we are out. She will sleep on the way somewhere, wake up going in the carrier, eat, sleep some more and then wake up and get back to the car before going. Its amazing how much control babies have. She really does want to wait until her potty opportunity to go. Just from that you can see that this isn't something parents/caregivers force onto babies, it is what babies prefer and the parents/caregivers learn to help facilitate.
    We are still trying to figure out nighttime. I make an effort but it isn't going amazing. She isn't a loud demanding baby, she fusses lightly and even finds her own way to nurse while I am sleeping if she needs it. I think the issue is that I am not waking up when she is fussing the tiny bit she does before peeing. She can hold it for a while and then when she gets to an uncomfortable point she will fuss and release it all at once. This happens half way through the night and in the morning. I have tried waking up at 1am and sitting her on the potty, but she screams and cries and protests against it. She will not go and I think mostly she just is not awake enough. I am not sure what to do about this. We could try investing in layers of wool for the bed and keeping her nude with prefolds under her. I think that will be our next attempt for night. We will have random nights where I can get her to pee while nursing/still asleep and when she wakes up dry in the morning she releases a large amount in the potty. I wish every night could be like that. I'm sure in time it will get easier.