Mom Allergic to Her Newborn Son
All Joanne Mackie wanted was to hold and comfort her infant son. But shortly after giving birth, the 28-year-old British woman developed a mysterious rash that was so painful, it completely stopped her from acting on her natural instincts.
"It was such a heartbreaking time," Mackie told the Daily Mail.
What started as tingling in her palms the morning after James, now 11 months old, was born spread into blistering welts within a day. For relief, Mackie took to wrapping her arms in wet cloths so she could hold her son, but the pain only worsened. Subsequently, her husband, Robert, 37, took care of James.
Doctors were initially stumped for a diagnosis. Eventually, a skin biopsy revealed she suffered from a rare skin condition - called pemphigoid gestitonis - that afflicts pregnant women and new moms. Simply put, Mackie was allergic to her son.
According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pemphigoid gestitionis is a skin condition in which blisters appear on the abdomen and, in the worst cases, over large regions of the body. Women can develop the condition during the second or third trimester and after giving birth. In the rarest of cases, children can be born with the rash. The Daily Mail reports that doctors told Mackie she could not pass the rash to her son.
Approximately 1 in 50,000 women suffer from pemphigoid gestitionis, according to a Michigan State University study. Why women get the rash is still unknown, but the blisters and welts appear when antibodies are formed during pregnancy that attack normal proteins in the body. Treatment includes taking oatmeal baths and avoiding getting overheated, which worsens the itching sensation, according to ACOG. Doctors might also administer medication to ease the pain, as they did for Mackie, who took steroids.
Today, Mackie, who originally sold her story to cash4yourstory.co.uk, is clear of the rash but dark spots remain on her body as a reminder of the difficult period.
"I have learned that a cuddle from your own child is the most precious thing in the world," she said.