My Penicillin Allergy & Owen’s First Ear Infection

doctors stethoscope

Well, we had a good run. Owen hadn’t been sick at all for the first ten months of his life. No fevers. No cough. No extra doctor appointments. I consider that a pretty good run – but I knew that couldn’t last forever. 

About two weeks ago on a Saturday night, I noticed Owen had a clear, runny nose. By Tuesday morning, we were leaving the pediatrician’s office having been told that Owen had a mild ear infection. To anyone reading this, I’m sure this seems like no big deal. Babies and kids get sick, and thankfully we caught it early, so it was still considered a mild infection. 

However, as a new mom, I was still upset to see my baby sick for the first time. In the months leading up, I would occasionally think about the first time Owen would get sick – how I would handle seeing him sick and wondering what the process would be to make him healthy. What I hadn’t prepared for or considered would be that the first time he got sick, he would be prescribed an antibiotic that I was allergic to. And of course, that’s what happened. 

Owen sitting on the porch

Among a number of other medications, I am allergic to penicillin and anything in that family of medications. I can distinctly remember the last time I was given amoxicillin (an antibiotic in the same family as penicillin) and that ending with a trip to the hospital. I can tell you which movie I was watching as I started to see hives cover my body, and my mom telling my dad that I needed to go to the hospital. 

I have shared on this blog that I struggle with anxiety, and a lot of my anxiety stems back to my allergies. I haven’t struggled as much recently with my allergy-related anxiety until the pediatrician told us that Owen would need to take amoxicillin for ten days in order to heal the ear infection. Not only did the memories come flooding back to me of my allergic reaction, but a new fear hit me of having to see my son endure the same thing. It’s one thing to relive or reimagine a terrifying moment in your life, but to imagine your child in the same spot is just awful.

Because Owen is a different person and we have no knowledge of him having any allergies, the doctor said that we still needed to try amoxicillin. I was very scared, but I felt reassured by the pediatrician as well as my husband as we talked it over. Nolan worked from home that first day as we gave Owen the first two doses. We prayed A LOT and had family and friends praying for us as well as we gave him the medication. Thankfully, Owen did not have an allergic reaction to the medication, and I felt okay to let Nolan go back to work the following day. The pediatrician warned us that he could still react even after he was finishing up the final doses, so I felt like I was on pins and needles that entire ten days. 

Along with constant prayer, I was continually checking Owen’s face and body for any rashes, checking his breathing, and making sure he was okay. On the third day of antibiotics, Owen started to get a little rash around his mouth in the evening. By that time his pediatrician’s office was closed, so we used our Live Health Online app to video chat with a doctor. The doctor was able to look at the rash and identify it as a result of the virus, and not an allergic reaction to the antibiotics. The rash never returned after that evening, so we were grateful! His stomach was not happy with the antibiotics, so we continued to give him probiotics and tried to feed him a more bland diet with lots of bananas (he loves bananas). 

We are officially on the other side of this ear infection. We had a visit with the pediatrician two days ago where she was able to check that the ear infection was completely gone. 

owen crawling and smiling
A happy boy even when he is sick 🙂

My Reflections:

  1. It’s hard being a mom. It’s hard to watch your baby get sick, and it’s also hard to get them to take antibiotics twice a day for ten days. BUT, it makes you stronger and it makes you appreciate the good days even that much more. 
  2. I am so thankful that God is in control, and not me. I am thankful that He loves my baby even more than I do (which is hard to fathom), and He loves me with that same love too. 
  3. Having allergies is an added challenge, and some days are a lot harder and scarier than others, but there is always another day. 
  4. Owen is not going to have the same exact allergies or path as me, so I need to not fear so much. I can educate myself as best as I can, but then I have to trust the rest to God. 
happy owen at the doctor's
A happy boy at the follow-up appointment!

I’m Caitlin! An allergic mama :) I’m raising two boys while continuing to navigate life with anaphylaxis. I’m excited to share recipes, reviews, and helpful hints with you!
    • Laura Cadman
    • February 14, 2020

    Thanks for sharing, brave Mama. May God continue to bless you and your sweet family.

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