It has always been tough to be a parent of your firstborn. However, what is tougher is to take care of a firstborn child with existing illnesses. There are a lot of things to consider and the responsibilities of being a parent, and the very first thing that you need to think of is the welfare of your child.
This is Mr. and Mrs. Agan with their beautiful daughter, Morghan. Kristine gave birth last September 2019 and to her, it was the most magical moment of her life. According to Kristine, she had a very smooth pregnancy except for the lump that was found in her lower uterine wall. This is why she did not think of anything that her child will be diagnosed with any diseases.
Morghan was diagnosed with eczema as early as 2 months old. "At first we thought that it was just some baby acne but we were alarmed when there is some redness around her eyes and it has gotten worse over time", Kristine. They then consulted the doctor and after examinations, the doctor confirmed that it was eczema. The only thing that they knew about eczema is that it is just a simple skin disease that needed some scratching. "We did not know that eczema will become our worst nightmare", Kristine.
1. How did you handle the situation when you knew about your baby's situation? What is your initial reaction?
"We felt sad for our daughter because she is suffering from such illness at a very early age. There are moments that we question God on why we were given this kind of problem. That of all people, why would it have to be our daughter?", Kristine.
We all have struggles that we need to deal with even when some have a worse situation compared to our status but we also know that we are dealing with complications differently. As a parent, we only wanted what is best for our child and we always look after their welfare. We always make sure that they will have the best comfort that this world could offer.
According to Kristine, she sometimes gets jealous of kids with different outfits where she could not even dress up her own child. The child should be totally covered to avoid exposure that will lead to rashes and itching of the skin. "She was hospitalized twice due to a blood infection. To be honest, at first, we do not have any idea what to do. We always moisturize her skin and medicate but we have no idea how long and what are the triggering factors of eczema. It was a tough time and we had a bad start of being a first parent -- it is as if there is always something wrong and lacking even when we already did the best that we could."
2. How do you take care of your child?
"There are three things that we always do for Morghan during her worst flare-ups. The first is a bleach bath. Second is a wet wrap and then moisturize."
Bleach bath: Mix 30mL of bleach and 30 liters of water and bathe the child for 3 days until the redness wears off.
Wet wrap: It is useful as it helps a lot especially when applying her medication such as steroid cream. Fill the basin with water and add some bath oil. Wet the cloth and wrap your child around it. Leave it for 10 to 30 minutes. "We minimize the usage of steroid cream because it has some side effects."
Moisturize the skin 3 to 4 times a day and use 100% cotton clothes for sensitive skin.
3. What is your duty as a mom?
"I always look after the triggering factor of eczema such as eggs because Morghan is allergic to eggs.", Kristine. According to her, she avoids foods that are forbidden to Morghan since she is breastfeeding the child. She is the one who is making appointments with the general practitioner, pediatrician, dietician, and maternal nurse. She needs to make sure that Morghan is being fed 5x a day because this is the advice of the pediatrician because weight problem is common for children with eczema.
"The temperature inside the house should be enough to avoid flare-ups". Having high temperatures inside the house will cause flare-ups on the skin and having a too low temperature will catch some colds and the colds will cause the flare-up.
4. What is Roger's duty as a dad?
"Roger is the provider of the family. He makes sure that we can pay the bills and accommodate the medication that we should do for Morghan. He is a very understanding and supportive husband. He always knew what to do whenever I have breakdowns.", Kristine. According to her, Roger will volunteer to look after the child whenever he senses that she is exhausted. He is the one who is changing diapers and does the grocery shopping. "He also has the knowledge on what to do whenever Morghan has flare-ups".
5. Any tips for new parents with a situation that is the same as yours?
"Always use 100% cotton fabric and take note of your child's allergies and foods that will trigger eczema. Always talk to your doctor for better management of the disease. Make sure to avoid scented soaps and shampoos for newborn babies because this will cause flare-ups. It is advised to use bath oils. Clean your house because dust, mites, and fur can irritate your baby's skin."
It is not new that your patience will be tested in this type of situation but the most important thing to remember is that you are doing this for your child. Also, do the responsibility as a couple because you cannot do all of these things alone. Make sure that both husband and wife fulfill their responsibility as a parent.
The Agan family is based in Victoria, Australia, and with proper medication and the advanced technology in the country, it is an assurance that Morghan will be in proper care.