She Says… Relieved

Owen had his 15 month well visit today. Although, as you probably know if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, we rarely, if ever, have a “well” visit. Owen had a small temp last night and still hasn’t shaken his gunky cough/snotty nose leftover from his most recent bout of pneumonia and the subsequent ear infection that followed. That’s par for the course for us, so we went to our “well” visit anyway.

Doc said Owen’s chest is clear (good news), but his ear still has some fluid. It looks as though he hasn’t responded to the Amoxicillin this time around, so we’re going to move to the next level of antibiotics to see if we can kick this bug once and for all. Here’s hoping. Anyway, given the fact that he’s been under the weather, we opted not to do his immunizations and flu shot today. We’re going to go back in a few weeks and re-check the ear and do the shots then.

Stats:
Height: 32″ (75%ile)
Weight: 24 lb 3.2 oz (44%ile)
Head circumference: 46 cm (18%ile)

*Side note: It’s funny to think how I used to live or die by those numbers. That’s a slight exaggeration, but in the very beginning when Owen was so tiny and having feeding problems I remember thinking that those percentiles meant everything. In those days his weight %iles were <5 and every ounce made a difference. Now I couldn’t care less. He’s happy, healthy (ummm, generally) and overall pretty much perfect. Except he has a kind of small head. Which I find adorable.

Speaking of him being generally healthy, I went into this appointment with a pretty long list of things to discuss with the doctor. The #1 thing on the list was if we need to begin to evaluate if Owen being sick all the time is indicative of a bigger problem than chronic boogers. Given the number of illnesses he has had in his short little life (and knowing how many children there are out there in the world who make it this far without really ever being sick), I had begun to Google think that maybe something big was wrong here.

Immune disorder. Childhood cancer. Lung issues. Something weird I’ve never even heard of. The doctor and I have touched on the subject before, because it is something that has nagged me since the lovely triumvirate of pneumonia, asthma and eczema hit when Owen was about 7 or 8 months old. Since then, we haven’t had more than a few consecutive weeks of wellness at a time. So I took and deep breath and broached the subject. The doctor (thankfully) took my request seriously and looked hard back at Owen’s chart. He counted illnesses and looked at treatments and how Owen responded to each one. Then he turned to me and said, “Honestly, there’s nothing here that indicates a bigger problem. Owen is thriving. He’s growing and learning. He’s very advanced in motor skills and language. He’s charming and has a lot of personality. He has low-grade asthma and tends to get sick often — but I really think that’s it.”

I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I trust him. My Mom brain was just over-reacting. Don’t get me wrong — I am going to store this little nagging feeling away, and if these illnesses continue without letting up, I’m going to push harder for an immune workup or to go see a pulmonologist or ENT. But for now, I’m going to listen to our doctor and let Owen’s body do what it needs to do. Hey, by the time he hits preschool, he’s never going to be out sick! He’ll be practically bionic at this rate.

The doctor did mention that Owen has had a high number of ear infections and is getting close to the time when he would recommend ear tubes. So we may investigate that depending on how they look in a few weeks when we go back for our checkup. But, overall, I am relieved.

Happy Halloween!

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29 responses to “She Says… Relieved

  1. Glad your pedi is confident about Owen’s overall health. I’m sure it’s a relief. Some kids just seem more susceptible to common illnesses. And boy is he a trooper – what a happy kid!
    Happy Halloween! Can’t wait to see the costume pics!

  2. Yay! That’s great news. It’s so easy to think about every little thing and worry about our children. All we want is the best for them! He’s definitely happy and thriving and that says a lot! Happy Halloween :)

  3. It sounds like you have a really good doctor! I trust mine too, but I don’t see him nearly as often as you see yours. :)

  4. Have you ever thought that just maybe the fact that you’re already overdosing him on antibiotics is the culprit for all his abundant illnesses? You aren’t really letting his immune system develop properly–let me guess, you over sanitize, as well? Listen, your kid doesn’t need antibiotics for a common cold. Sure, he’s “prone” to illness, but don’t you think that maybe the causation should be pointed to you or Benjamin [and your doctor] over just assuming he gets sick a lot? Stop giving him antibiotics, he is old enough to fight infections on his own. All you are doing is setting him up to get mutant strains of illnesses in the future, and endanger other children’s health because as viruses and bacteria develop resistances to antibiotics they they evolve into stronger, meaner, and more prevalent versions of the original.

    You may take this advice with a grain of salt, but as a pediatric nurse I hope you’ll encourage his immune system to grow strong, instead of stifling it with medicines he doesn’t really need.

  5. YAY! Glad to hear! I liked where you said you used to live and die percentiles and now you don’t. We have switched lives! I never lived and died percentiles until this month b/c the doc is on us for low weight. I’m living and dying every bite [or in our case every non-bite; we always have more tears than bites].

    Hope he gets well soon!

  6. I loved your comment about the percentiles. I too took them SO seriously when my son was very young but now I don’t really pay much attention to them….except, he’s got he opposite problem to Owen. My son’s head is too big!

    From reading your blog, I have noticed that Owen does get sick but I didn’t think anymore than any other child. He seems to rebound quite quickly too and you have to keep in mind that young children are one of the “at risk” populations they always talk about. They just have an immature immune system. With time, it will get stronger but he’s NORMAL. Your doctor is right saying that Owen is very advanced in his speech and cognition. I compare him all the time to my son’s abilities and Owen is leaps and bounds ahead of my “E”. Try not to worry. He’s doing great.

  7. Meridith,
    By saying he doesn’t get sick any more than any other child is sort of ridiculous. Even Kate has professed that he seems to always be ill, and in addition to that his pediatrician stated plainly that he gets sick very often. If you know any other parent, heck, if you read any other motherhood blogs, you’ll see that Owen is, in fact, one of the more “sickly” children out there. Definitely in the higher percentile range for illness.
    This doesn’t necessarily fall in the bad parent category, but I find it neglectful for his doctor to prescribe antibiotics so readily to an infant. Like I mentioned earlier, antibiotics prohibit the natural evolution of a baby’s immune system. This has been well documented.
    Of course, my office is pretty non-antibiotic, focusing more on holistic measures than pharmaceutical “cures.” Perhaps that’s why I feel so strongly. My practice has the lowest rate of contagion in the county, and we also prescribe the least antibiotics–so I don’t think my comments are without foundation.

  8. Good news! Glad your doctor was able to set you mind at ease. :) Our friend’s little boy had tubes in his ears before he was one!

  9. Linda – First off, I agree that doctors in general are too quick to prescribe antibiotics. I’m thankful that I have not yet had to make the decision to give or withhold antibiotics from our 14 month old. If and when that day comes, I know I will weigh all the options with our doctor and when possible, opt for more homeopathic measures before resorting to antibiotics. That being said, from what I know about Kate from reading her blog, she clearly does her homework, so my guess is that she has thought about this issue and had this conversation with her doctor. Clearly she is always acting in what she believes to be Owen’s best interest. Your advice is important, but I imagine it would be much better received if you changed your tone. I wonder why you needed to phrase your comments in a way that suggests Owen’s illnesses might be the result of parenting decisions. It’s very possible to educate and offer your opinion without blaming and assuming you know everything about Owen’s particular situation, when in fact you were not involved in his care. If a nurse in our pediatrician’s office ever spoke to me in such a condescending manner, I would seriously consider leaving the practice.

  10. Our doctor had the tubes discussion with us last week, after our daughter was diagnosed with her 5th ear infection in the last 10 months or so. We’re waiting it out a little longer (seeing if she can finally kick the ear infection she has with a stronger antibiotic) to see what happens. But, the way she phrased it, she basically said that she’s giving Nora an allowance of 1-2 more ear infections between now and March–and if she ends up with more than that, we have to go see the ENT. We’ll see what happens, but given her track record, I’m not too optimistic.

    As far as the antibiotics discussion… I really like our practice, because they are conservative with antibiotics, but they’re not ANTI-antibiotics. We’ve had a couple of ear infections that we didn’t treat, simply because they were discovered on accident–we were in the office for something else, and they looked in her ears and said, “Do you know she has an ear infection?” Nope, we didn’t. It’s always been our preference (and our doctor’s) not to treat with antibiotics if she’s not being negatively impacted by the ear infection. If she’s still sleeping through the night, doesn’t appear to be in pain, etc., then we do not treat it. If she’s up all night, miserable, etc., then we go for the antibiotics.

    While I completely understand and support the movement to combat the misuse/overuse of antibiotics (I used to work in a pharmacy, so I was exposed to a lot of this discussion), there is also something to be said for kicking ear infections in a timely manner. If left untreated, they can last a really long time–which can cause hearing loss, delays in speech, and other complications. It’s not worth it.

    I trust our doctor, and you trust yours. That’s all that matters.

  11. @Linda, Thank you for bringing up this issue. I completely agree that over-prescribing antibiotics can be a dangerous thing and can ultimately lead to mutant strains and treatment-resistant viruses. I am well aware of this and, as such, am NOT an over-sanitizer, as you so brazenly assumed. I have discussed this issue with my doctor in the past and together we have developed a treatment plan for Owen that we both see as appropriate and necessary, given his unique situation. Our approach is a blend of natural methods and medical interventions. Since you do not have access to Owen’s medical records, nor have you seen him during an illness, nor do you know anything about what treatments we have chosen to use in the past (save for a few references to Amoxicillin in a few of my blog posts), you really have no medical grounds to be insinuating that I am the cause of my son’s illnesses, or calling my doctor “neglectful”.

    It is clear that your background (working in a holistic health setting) has influenced your comments, and while I appreciate you bringing up this important topic, I respectfully disagree with your approach for MY son at this particular point in time. You simply do not have all of the information you need to be making such harsh judgments.

    @Jessica, Thank you for your wonderful response. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    @Heather, Great points, all around. I, too, have discussed NOT treating some of Owen’s infections for that very reason, but ear infections are something we take quite seriously given how often he gets them. We are in the same situation! 5 infections in the last year, and waiting to see what happens next before we explore tubes.

  12. So glad that Owen had an overall good report on his doc visit. Hope you all had a super fun Halloween!

  13. Delurking to ask a health question. Have you considered or tried chiropractics for his ear infections? I have a little one on the way and had a lot of ear infections (and tubes) as a kid, so I’m wondering if that method works :)

  14. @Anonymous, We haven’t yet tried chiro, but we’re going to! I am intrigued by the idea, but as of yet don’t have any experience to share either way.

  15. I guess I should clarify to say that it appears to me that children in daycare do tend to get sick more often. All my friends who have their children in some sort of daycare are always dealing with some sort of cold or virus. One of my friends has had to have both of her daughters get tubes in their ears because of recurrent infections. I spent last Friday night in our local children’s hospital ER and we were surrounded by children with fevers…from daycare. Trust me, I was there for 5.5 hours and heard everyone’s story.

    So, I suppose that when Kate writes about Owen’s illnesses, it sounds pretty normal to me and I never questioned that Owen’s immune system was any different than any other child.

    Kate, I just wanted to mention that you do seem to do your research. Before you jump on chiropractics, make sure you are fully aware of what they do as treatment for Owen and that you’re comfortable with that.

  16. @Meredith, Thank you! I certainly will. I really appreciate your opinion on this.

  17. I too would echo the chiropractor comment. I mentioned it in an earlier post as well. Ears are so easy to adjust to help them drain! Looking forward to hearing how it turns out once you make the visit. Just keep in mind not all chiros are the same. They can have very different opinions and methods of treatment just like MDs. I have never hesitated to have my 16 mo old son adjusted. He actually claps after each adjustment and last time signed and said more! more! Lol

  18. There are so many differing opinions as parents. My experience shows that there are either those who resist antibiotics and those who eagerly accept them. Organic and non-organic. Attachment parenting or cry-it-out. It’s pretty clear from your fairly well disclosed daily life blog that you’re the latter of all these things. Hey, to each his (or her) own. I’m not trying to tell you how to parent, so you don’t need to get so defensive. I am a health professional with a plenitude of schooling and several more years experience under me. You are a parent of a 15 month old, with a Google PhD.
    You can raise your child to consume pesticides, gobble antibiotics, and be so independent he’s emotionally unattached to those around him. Be my guest. Parent as you like.
    It’s been pretty clear from certain debates on your blog that those who agree with you will follow you blindly even unto irrationality. Far be it from me to offer a differing opinion, although as I’ve said before, my points have been very well researched (hey, you can even find it on Google yourself, Kate!) by other health care professionals who, yet again, have many years of schooling behind them.

    Now see, all that, that was a judgmental rant.
    Tell me something, Kate, or even those in her audience–would you let your children be exposed to music that degraded women? Cursed and paraded drug use and illegal violent activity? How about letting your kids watch movies about how great Hitler and the Nazi regime were?
    My problem with your blog is that it is incredibly single faceted. You only offer one opinion (your own) and almost blatantly tout that you are right about everything. You’re just that kind of person–the “take charge” controlling type. You even say that yourself in some of your posts. It is irresponsible, especially when you have so many readers (though they do seem to be dwindling) and people who openly profess to idolize you as a parent. You have a responsibility as a popular public figure to prescribe either the entire truth (not just as you see it) or to state plainly that your opinions are in no way absolute fact.
    Of course, it might make you feel better as a person and parent if other people are doing what you do–the pharmaceutical companies sure do enjoy your contribution and think you’re doing a bang up job!

  19. A little research for you, not to continue to troll the comments section:

    “Children who are given broad-spectrum antibiotics before two years of age are three times more likely to develop asthma than are children who are not given such antibiotics.”
    * Kozyrskyj AL, Ernst P, Becker AB. Increased risk of childhood asthma from antibiotic use in early life. Chest. 2007 Jun;131(6):1753-9. PubMed
    * Early life exposure to antibiotics and the subsequent development of eczema, wheeze, and allergic sensitization in the first 2 years of life: the KOALA Birth Cohort Study. Pediatrics. 2007 Jan;119(1):e225-31.

    Isn’t that interesting?

  20. Linda,
    This is Benjamin, Kate’s husband and Owen’s father, chiming in here. I really don’t comment much anymore, but I felt the need to speak up here. First off, I really have to wonder if disagree so much with our parenting techniques and Kate’s tone of blogging, why on earth are you spending your time reading it, let alone commenting over and over again? You make a lot of assumptions here and also make harsh attacks about our parenting style, even though you also say “I’m not trying to tell you how to parent”.

    This is a blog. A personal account of the moments of Kate’s (and my) life, that she chooses to share. The only viewpoint necessary in this forum is her own. It’s not a research paper or a published medical or parenting journal. There are no footnotes or interviews with third parties to validate or dispute our decisions, because that is not necessary here. Anybody thinking otherwise is just clearly misinformed about what a blog is. And the VERY BEST thing about it all, is that people who don’t like it, or don’t agree, DO NOT have to read it.

    It’s hurtful to read your words, even if they are completely wrong. You clearly don’t understand us, or Owen, but just choose to read the few little tidbits that you don’t agree with and create an impression of us out of those few things.

    I must address your last comment specifically, because it’s basically accusing US for Owen’s asthma. Owen had his asthma and eczema diagnosis before ever receiving antibiotics, so accusing us of being responsible for it, is both incorrect and hurtful. And I have to assume that like most things, I could find medical journals that disagree with what you posted there.

    Like Kate said before, we trust our doctors, and discuss with them at length the best course of action for treatments for our son, who we care about more than anything in this world.

    Happy trolling,
    Benjamin

  21. I get really defensive when people start attacking overuse of antibiotics because we had to have our son on a low dose of Amoxicillin from birth to 18 months, not missing one day. I worried about what we were doing to his immune system and his future tolerance of antibiotics. He most likely would have gone into kidney failure if we didn’t so we know it was the right choice. Still, we worried. Interestingly enough, he is ten times healthier than my daughter. She had 1-2 ear infections per month from 6 months of age to 2 years of age. We tried holistic remedies and antibiotics. We tried delaying antibiotic treatment to let her body heal naturally. Antibiotics were the only things that worked. We ended up not using tubes because she had had no hearing damage from her infections. Doctor after doctor credited our swift treatment of her infections as part of what saved her hearing (several older family members have profound hearing loss from a genetic tube drainage problem). When I read about Owen’s illnesses and Kate/Benjamin’s management of them I notice how attentive they are, caring and on-top-of-things, how saddened it makes them to see him sick and two parents who are just trying to do there absolute best for their son. I am very aware that I am not privy to the details of Owen’s medical charts, their conversations with his doctors, and the more private details of their lives. It is blatantly clear that they act out of love and intelligence. We are all just trying to do what is best for our children

  22. Long time reader/lurker… All I see is this “How about letting your kids watch movies about how great Hitler and the Nazi regime were?” and I know we’ve crossed over into crazy town.

    Do not feed the trolls and they will go away. Linda = troll doll.

    Ben and Kate – I love reading your blog and you guys seem like you’re doing a bang up job raising Owen. :)

  23. @Linda You said “My experience shows that there are either those who resist antibiotics and those who eagerly accept them. Organic and non-organic. Attachment parenting or cry-it-out.”

    I’m not sure what world you live in where things are always so black and white– you make it seem like there’s a one-size-fits-all solution for every parenting decision. There’s not. You say that you are a pediatric nurse (which congrats on that, but it doesn’t make you a doctor), but are you a parent? You haven’t referenced your own children in your comments– you’ve merely told everyone else how to raise theirs. IF you are a parent, I would think that you would have learned that we constantly have to make decisions for our children that we believe is best for them, and OFTEN that means defying the parenting beliefs of another person. With the way you’ve chosen to criticize Kate and Benjamin’s decisions regarding meds, diet (which is unbelievable) and sleep training methods, I wonder what else you have up your sleeve. Wait– I know! I’ll bet your next round of comments will attack them for formula feeding!

    You may see Kate and Benjamin’s decision to administer antibiotics as irresponsible, but I think that many other readers would disagree and suggest that feeding your child chicken noodle soup and hoping his pneumonia/ear infection/whatever would clear up on his own is horrific. My 14 month old son is on his 3rd round of antibiotics (the first time we’ve ever had to use them) trying to clear up his first ear infection. His is in terrible pain and I would never deny him medicine to clear up this infection– especially not because I fear the backlash that it might cause from someone like you.

    I’m not even going to address your comments about music, drugs, etc. How you jumped from antibiotics to Nazis is beyond me.

    You’re not getting these responses to your comment because other bloggers are dismayed by the fact that you’d like to offer your opinion…Your opinion is welcome. You’re getting these responses because your tone is nasty, judgmental and rude. This is a BLOG, it’s not WebMD. Kate and Benjamin have no responsibility as “popular public figures.” They live their life and write about it. People who follow this blog on a regular basis enjoy reading it– we don’t come here to tell them how to raise Owen & we don’t come here for medical advice. I don’t idolize Kate as a parent. I love her as my friend. (Many of us who went through the experience of infertility together and now parenting have a relationship in real life, not just online.)

    I noticed that you haven’t linked to a blog–do you have one? If so, maybe Kate could swing by and “troll” your comment section for a while. It’s pretty easy to write whatever you want about someone else when you’re not putting your life & decisions out there for the internet to read and criticize.

    You said it yourself, “Parent as you like.” That’s what Kate and Benjamin have been doing for the past 15 months, and will continue to do, without your help.

  24. My Google PhD is from a faster server than Linda, so I’m smart enough to know that in general, blogs are people’s personal opinions. That’s why it’s called a “blog” and not a “peer reviewed medical journal”.

    Although I agree with Linda here: don’t make Owen so independent. I heard he’s been looking at apartments and grocery shopping himself, and that’s just too much for a 15 month old and should wait until he’s at least 3 years old.

  25. @Linda When I breast feed, I shoot up, listen to Eminem and watch Triumph of the Will. It’s become a nice little routine for me and my child. But now I have to rethink EVERYTHING. Thanks for your insight!

  26. Kate and Benjamin – If you don’t like the comments, why don’t you just delete them as they come along? It’s almost like you can’t resist responding to those who disagree with you.
    If you’re sure you’re doing the best for Owen, just delete what you see as nasty and continue on your way. Isn’t that easier than feeding in to all of this?
    Linda didn’t agree with you. So what? Linda fell back on the well-worn Hitler reference. So what? Linda’s not your friend. She’s not your sister or your mom.
    So who cares?! Delete it! If she comes back again, delete it again!
    Heck, delete this if you want to! Let’s just move on to the kid in the dog costume, please…

  27. Kate—
    I think (from the little I know about you from your blog) that you’re a great mother. You’re genuinely concerned about your child when needed, you love him incredibly, and you care about his well-being deeply. It saddens me that someone would have the audacity to question your mothering based upon the snippets of your life we get here on the blog. Sure, people can lightly suggest or mention a few key things that might help you out with a problem or two. But to rant and rave, toting their ideology as king and yours as horrendous mothering? How rude, assuming, and utterly pompous. What a world we live in where people thing their rant in a comment box on a blog will somehow transform someone’s life. Talk about opinionated delusions of grandeur. The sad thing is, while their comments may have interesting subject matter basis (antibiotics, their usage in children, etc), no one will take her seriously because of a severe lack of tact. Funny. You can google many things to “inform” yourself, but to give oneself a filter and tact takes a lot more than knowing how to operate a computer search engine or read a book.

    From what I’ve seen, I like you. You have a happy heart and you love your family incredibly. Owen seems like such a beaming little boy. Yes, he does get routinely sick– but you, in turn, get worried, just as a good mama should. You try to make your sick little boy better, just as a good mama should. You hold him and hug him and try to make him better through all the mechanisms you know, just as a good mama should. Please don’t let the rants and ill-will of others diminish your belief in the least that you are such a good mama, and Owen is a lucky, loved little boy.

    Jessika

  28. Whoa! So much drama these last few days. Lon time lurker, first time poster – believe it or not, I found your blog from the slate article and your pregnancy test video (which was adorable, by the way). Has Owen ever had an allergy test? I know he’s been tested for food allergies, but has he been tested for dust/molds/animal dander as well? I only ask because like Owen, I was a pretty sickly kid. I had ear infections and sinus infections that always ended in pneumonia – and this continued until a year ago when I went in for allergy testing. I am so upset I waited so long. I get weekly allergy shots now and I am a completley differen person. I’ve had two colds since I started the shots, no pneumonia, sinus or ear infections, and I’m a teacher so I typically pick up every bug that goes around! It was a huge change. So just another thing to maybe try. If he has food allergies, he might have other allergies as well. Of course, I’m jnot a doctor or a medical professional so take it with a grain of salt. Figured I’d better add a disclaimer, lest anyone take my suggestion for actual medical advice. ;)

  29. Kate-as the others have said, you are a wonderful mother from everything I read on here. you are loving, affectionate, attentive, caring, and will have a VERY attached little boy. Linda is a big slice of obnoxious, and what hateful, nasty comments those are. As we all know, the medical field is not an exact science so people are going to differ on their opinions!
    My daughter has gotten sick a bunch too (same age as Owen) and reading your blog makes me feel like I’m not the only one whose kid picks up a cold or something every month or 2. Day care is a factor, remember that! my friends who have nannies have kids who’ve never gotten sick. I’m so envious of that.
    you are doing the right thing with Owen and Cruella de Ville/Mommy Dearest can suck it.

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