Rebekah’s story is kind of long. But it explains everything that we’re up against! A brief summary — Bekah has suffered from allergies since she was very young, and we’re still struggling to figure it out. She’s a bit language delayed and we recently found out she’s severely deficient in certain nutrients. This story details my pregnancy, her birth, and her life, as well as everything we’ve learned so far. As we try/learn more, I will post updates!
I became pregnant with Rebekah in May 2007, after three months of trying. I found out May 26, 2007 that I was expecting her. She was born exactly 8 months later, on January 26, 2008. In the first trimester of my pregnancy, I very frequently took Tylenol (1/2 dose) and Immodium. I also occasionally took anti-nausea medications as I had a hard time eating for the first 6 – 7 weeks. Later in my pregnancy I rarely took any medication, and if I did, it was one of those previously mentioned.
On the morning on Jan. 26, I woke at 6:45 with random contractions. At 7:15 they picked up to every 3 minutes, then every 2 minutes. At 8 am we headed to the hospital. We were sent home for “no progress,” but as soon as we got home (10:30 or 11), the contractions picked up in intensity. We headed back to the hospital at 12:30 and they kept me. I was totally unprepared and begged for drugs, and was given Nubain (a narcotic) around 1 PM. Around 3 PM I was told my water would need to be broken. I refused to do it without an epidural, so I received the epidural, then my water was broken. There was light meconium staining, so they called a specialist in for her birth in case she had trouble breathing.
Around 4 or 5 the doctor decided (from the reading on the monitors) that my contractions weren’t long enough or strong enough and they gave me Pitocin (which did not change the strength or length). I was fully dialated by 7:30 PM, but she wasn’t born until a bit after 9. I could feel the contractions but not the urge to push, so it didn’t matter. The doctor barely made it, as I pushed less than 10 minutes and she was born. She was crying a bit and I knew she was fine but they wouldn’t give her to me except for just a few seconds, until she was 30 – 45 minutes old and I’d been stitched up and she’d been suctioned, given vit K, and eye ointment.
Rebekah didn’t nurse until 12:30 PM, and had a bath and newborn checks before it. I continued to have Pitocin for almost another 24 hours after birth, as well as Motrin and a stool softener. We left the hospital after just 24 hours though.
The Early Weeks
At home we struggled with breastfeeding and she received occasional supplements and pumped milk for the first 6 weeks. She was very erratic in her sleeping/eating behavior, especially the first three weeks (much more so than my second baby). There were nights she’d sleep 9 hours straight, and nights she’d wake at 3 am and just be awake.
At 6 weeks, I stopped pumping and supplementing and started fully breastfeeding. I was seriously depleted, though, and was very sick for awhile. I had joint pain in my elbows, wrists, and knees, and I was afraid to carry her around because I thought I might drop her. I was constantly exhausted and felt like she was sucking the life out of me every time she nursed. A cheap multivitamin actually made me feel better – I was that depleted. It is likely my milk was also deficient, and I also felt like I never had enough for her. She wanted to nurse every 30 minutes sometimes (at least every 60 minutes) and my supply never seemed to increase. During my illness at 6 weeks PP, I took Phenergan once, but pumped and dumped so I don’t think any got to her.
At 2 months of age (or so), she began to get chronic diaper rash. At the time I thought it may be due to our switch to cloth diapers, but now I don’t think so. She also got cradle cap (I now know that’s a sign of allergies). The cradle cap persisted and got worse. By 3 months it was obvious her hair (she’d been born with a lot) was thinning. It also was not growing at all (they say newborn hair does fall out, but usually the other hair is growing at the same time so parents don’t notice). By 6 months, her hair had completely fallen out, and only then finally started to grow.
At 4 months I got impatient with her night waking and constant demands to nurse and started her on rice cereal, then peas, pears, and bananas (she is allergic to peas, which I did not figure out until much later). She also started on oatmeal cereal and apples after a few weeks. By 6 months she was eating bits of most things – cheese (processed), various fruits and vegetables. By 7 – 8 months I’d feed her whatever I’d made for myself – cream soups, quesadillas, pasta, etc. She would eat anything put in front of her at that time. I had meant to be more cautious but I just wasn’t because I was excited about her eating new things.
At 8 months, she got three new teeth, a cold (her first) and we traveled simultaneously. She began receiving Tylenol at this point. She continued to have it nearly daily, sometimes more often, for about two months. (Tylenol depletes glutathione, which she is now severely deficient in. Giving so much Tylenol then likely didn’t cause this, but it sure didn’t help.) Between 8 and 10 months, she was waking up almost every night, crying. I nursed her back to sleep a lot, gave Tylenol because I was exhausted. Eventually we switched to teething tablets, because she continued to teethe. She got 14 teeth between 8 and 11 months, including her first set of molars.
By 11 months, Rebekah was eating pretty much everything. We fed her spaghetti, lots of cheese (mozzarella and cheddar, shredded – she loved mozzarella best), whole grain bread, applesauce, bananas, etc. She was still waking at night, constant diaper rash (it would flare up, bright red and she’d scream. We’d put cream on it and it would fade, turn into red, raw sores that sometimes bled. Then it would go away. But within a day or so it would be back and we’d go through the whole process again. Over and over). She sometimes had diarrhea and she was fussy.
Right after 11 months, she’d taken her first steps, and she got sick. There was a stomach flu going around and it was the first time she’d gotten anything like it. I had it first. For three days she didn’t eat much. After this she would not eat as much as before – no more vegetables (previously we could steam any vegetable and feed it to her, mashed or not, and she’d eat it). Right before her birthday she had another minor illness, where she was sleeping and vomiting for a day, and after that she would eat almost nothing. She would only eat bread, apples, bananas, potatoes, and cheese. Anything else, even previous favorites, were refused.
It was just after her first birthday that it was suggested that she had food allergies and this was causing her night waking. We stopped giving her cheese and saw improvements. She slept somewhat better (she still woke up, but unlike before, she didn’t refuse to go back to sleep for two hours and scream the whole time). She didn’t get diaper rash nearly as often, although it continued.
Around 13 months, we saw a doctor. She suggested perhaps Bekah was deficient in zinc, and gave her supplements, plus a probiotic. Within hours of the first dose of zinc, she began eating taco meat and lettuce (that night’s dinner), two things she had never eaten before. (Zinc helps with immune system function, and could have healed her from the illnesses she’d had.)
At this point, Bekah was saying a handful of words – ma, da, cup, keys, kitty, juice, and a few others. She was also walking. Her physical development continued to advance quickly. She was running, jumping, dancing, climbing, etc. months before any book said to expect it. Her regular doctor continued to say how she was at/ahead of her milestones.
Over the next several months, Bekah continued to nurse a lot, and occasionally try new foods. She started to eat celery (if I was cutting it), potatoes (she’d lost that for awhile), carrots (sometimes, she honestly doesn’t really like them), nuts (she loves them but is allergic), chicken, turkey, and eventually beef and eggs. She still loved all bread. She also frequently had smoothies with blueberry-pomegranate juice and pineapple, peach, strawberry, and mango. We put coconut oil, flax oil, and other supplements in these smoothies, and I felt like she was getting decent nutrition when I could get her to drink this.
Unfortunately her allergy symptoms were flaring up still and we figured it was something in the smoothie. We also figured out peanuts and peas at this time, and tried smoothies again. The final time (July, 18 months), she threw up within an hour of having the smoothie and was then fine, so we have not given her anymore. We suspect pineapple/mango.
Although most of her symptoms were better, she continued to occasionally get diaper rash for no reason we could figure out; she had loose stools a lot; and finally her palms turned red and itchy. At this point (19 months), we cut gluten and most grains. She began sleeping through the night more often, at least for a couple weeks (we had some disturbances during this time – new baby brother at 17.5 months, then dad traveling for a few days at 20 months, right after we cut gluten).
Developmental Strengths and Weaknesses
Her development, at this point, was advanced in all areas except speech. She is very coordinated and her gross and fine motor are both good. She uses utensils well to feed herself, scribbles with crayons, easily climbs, walks up and down stairs, etc. She understands everything that is said to her and can follow two step directions (and has been able to since 14 or 15 months). She remembers things well and picks up on new words and concepts easily. At 17 months we began teaching her sign. It took a couple days for her to learn the first sign, but only minutes to pick up on future signs. She currently signs milk, more, sleepy, eat, drink, please, thank you. She will sign if she wants to ask for something, and not just in reaction to something we’ve said (i.e. she’ll randomly ask for a drink if she is thirsty, not just because she’s been asked or has seen a cup).
Her language is still mostly unintelligible. She says “ma” if she is looking for me or if presented with a picture. She will not say “ma” if she is talking to me – she typically does not use titles. Most things are “uh uh uh” or “mmm da.” She no longer says “juice.” She has occasionally repeated words clearly but will not say any if prompted. She says “cup, keys, kitty, brother, ma, da, that, this, yes” and a few others. She has never said no, although she will occasionally shake her head no. Typically she will say yes, and if she means no, will ignore the question. (This is developmentally inappropriate.)
She rarely attempts to use new words, and then only if she has a particular attachment to what she is naming. She learned “brother” very quickly after her brother’s birth because he is important to her. Most things she won’t name, even if she is aware of the name for them. She will point to objects or body parts when asked, so she does know the names. But she will not speak and say the names. She generally will not imitate ANYTHING verbally and never has (even as a young baby, 3 – 4 months, when the books said she should have been cooing back to us, imitating the sounds we made – she did not). She does, however, imitate in other ways frequently (she enjoys helping around the house and will imitate any physical actions we do).
Her speech, therefore, has always been “wrong.” She has continued to make slow, steady progress, but has not met milestones properly and has even lost some skills verbally. Both her father and I were very early talkers and easily understandable and using full sentences at age 2. At 20 months she has only a small handful of words and is very difficult to understand.
At this point we are beginning B12 injections and transdermal glutathione. We will also be putting her on the GAPS diet to try to heal her gut. She shows the same physical symptoms (these deficiencies and inability to make/use these nutrients properly) and language delay that spectrum kids do. She has no other symptoms (like motor control issues, social issues, etc.), which I believe is because she never had anything to trigger the full-blown autism. She has never been vaccinated nor given antibiotics. I believe this has saved her.
In 6 months, after being on the diet and having the supplements, we will reassess. The doctor fully expects her language to burst forward within weeks of her beginning the supplements and she may be caught up by age 2. If not, we will begin to look into some other areas – NAET and other alternative practitioners.
A side note: according to the mainstream pediatrician’s milestone charts, her verbal skills are within normal ranges, albeit on the lower end. A typical pediatrician would never have picked up on this (and didn’t) and probably would have just counted her as a “late bloomer.” My mommy instincts told me that wasn’t the case.
My son, who is almost 12 weeks, does not show signs of cradle cap and has never had diaper rash. We have already identified a couple of allergies and have cut them from my diet. I took no medicine during pregnancy or labor with him and had a much better diet, and am not currently deficient (that I know of; no symptoms). He is meeting his milestones even ahead of where she did, holding his head up by 4 weeks, pushing up to 90 degrees on his tummy at 6 – 8 weeks, smiling at 4 weeks, babbling and cooing with a variety of sounds by 6 weeks (now he nearly has more sounds than she does). He has also been exclusively breastfed with no pumped milk and no supplements. Because of her history and his allergies, though, he is going to be supplemented transdermally with glutathione and B12. He is also on vit D through me and/or Carlson’s baby drops.
In 6 months we will see where we are. Neither will ever get any vaccines.
Read an update here: Rebekah’s Story, Updated