It is definitely one of the hardest experiences to have an ill child. And I am just talking about when they have a cold. Multiply that by 100 if you are also sick. If your husband is sick, just give up on life because he will be out of commission for a week. I cannot even imagine having a chronically ill child. I am very lucky to have healthy children (knock on wood). But, of course, occasionally, they do get sick. Now I have 4 children. One is in elementary school and one is in preschool. So they both are exposed to germs. So there will be at least one bad cold each winter. But when you also have an infant, it turns from a minor inconvenience to an anxiety-ridden, potentially dangerous situation.
An infant’s anatomy is, obviously smaller than a child’s or an adult’s. Because of this, they can have a harder time while sick. This is especially true when it comes to breathing. Their nasal passages are so tiny which can affect breathing if they are congested, especially since they are nose breathers. Recently, my oldest came home sniffling. I thought, well here we go. This family of six is going to have a rough week. She started coughing by the next day and had an endless stream of snot. She always makes me nervous because she has developed bronchitis from having a cold a few times unlike my other two. My infant hadn’t been sick before so I didn’t know what to expect with her. But as usual, the illness started spreading to the others. My 2 year old was next and my 4 year old the next day. Both had 1 or 2 rough days but then slowly started getting better. As a matter of fact, my 6 year old actually had the cold pass through her in only 3 days. But on the day that all 3 of them were sick at the same time, I noticed my almost 4 month old started sniffling. I thought, Crap! But I knew that it seemed to be a 48 hour illness so I was pretty optimistic. She started with congestion and then coughing. My poor baby was coughing from the secretions in her throat from her postnasal drip and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I knew it was viral and we just had to wait it out. Through these 3 days she stayed her happy-go-lucky self. She was slightly annoyed in the morning when she woke up and taking breathing breaks while nursing. But, she stayed content. Her cold seemed to be getting better. I was so excited that we had all made it through this so fast and, by some miracle, my husband and I didn’t get it! But then, she started coughing more and seemed more congested.
We started saying she was “juicy” . I forgot to mention that for the past few weeks she had also started teething. So between the snot, drool, and watery eyes, that is how that term of endearment came to be. I had to suction out her nose a few times a day, nurse her more for comfort, and endure waking up in the middle of the night.. I know some babies already do that but when your baby sleeps through the night and then they stop, I feel like it is worse than if they hadn’t started. Her poor gums hurt, she had trouble breathing, and occasionally had coughing fits. Now, some parents would have rushed to the ER by now. But I am not the type to do that. I worked for 7 years in a children’s hospital and I am in nursing school so I feel comfortable in knowing when my children need medical intervention. But, by day 7, the time had come. She woke up and I thought I could hear wheezing. This is a type of breathing that is kind of a whistling sound which indicates that her airway is narrowing. She wasn’t having any retractions or nasal flaring so I knew it wasn’t very serious yet. But I listened with my stethoscope (yes, I have one for preemies, infants, children, and adults) and she definitely had a wheeze. I knew from my experience that she most likely had bronchiolitis. I had seen it thousands of times at the hospitals. It is inflammation of the bronchioles of the lungs usually due to RSV but can just be from a bad cold. I knew that she definitely needed some help and would probably be prescribed nebulizer treatments. So I succumbed and brought her to the pediatrician. Just as I thought, she was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and was put on nebulizer medications. Now I hate medications. I don’t like to take them and I don’t like giving them to my children unless really necessary. But, when my baby is having breathing issues, I don’t mess around. I am happy to say that we are on Day 2 of treatments and I have seen a vast improvement. In addition, I had bought her an amber necklace for teething and have been putting it on her during her awake time.
Again, I am very lucky with the health of my children. For years I had to see scared parents of sick infants and children who weren’t as lucky. Babies who had the same symptoms but needed oxygen in the hospital. Hopefully, I will never have to bring my children to an ER. But I know that as a mom, I am intuitive when it comes to my children. I know when something is wrong with them just like every parent with their own children.