Today is Ace's 4-month birthday. We just got home from a two-night stay at the hospital.
Should I start from the beginning?
Saturday morning, we found Ace had completely lost his voice. I thought he was just a bit hoarse as we had recently started sleep training, so he'd been doing some crying at night. But this was pretty bad. He sounded awful. He was acting pretty normally - smiling and rolling around on the carpet - but the sound of him trying to cry was horrible, so I tossed the sleep training. I figured a day or two and he'd be right as rain. While on the phone with my mother in the early evening, I held the phone to his face so she could hear him. She asked, "Is he breathing through his mouth?" "No, through his nose, his mouth is closed," I responded. Unfortunately for all of us, I failed to ponder the ramifications of that fact. Obviously (in retrospect), this wasn't a matter of sore vocal chords.
Dh got home from a motorcycle ride in time to watch the Olympics that night. After we watched Phelps win his (totally amazing) 8th gold medal, we decided Ace's breathing was quite bad. He had also started a cough that sounded like a barking seal (which we did not know the significance of). We called our HMO's advice nurse. When she heard Ace's breathing, she said we needed to take him to the ER immediately or call 911. That's when I sort of freaked out.
Off I went to the ER with Ace. Our country's anthem was playing and Phelps was on the medals stand on the tv when I hurried into the ER with my wheezing baby (it was about 11 pm). The nurse at the counter "heard him coming," - he was that loud - and took us straight back into a room (with a door!) and within a few minutes a respiratory technician was checking Ace out. The doctor was not far behind. Ace had croup. They were all surprised - apparently croup season doesn't start until late September here - but once they found out Miss E was just getting over a cold, the mystery was cleared up. Ace got a nebulizer treatment and some steroids in apple juice. I told him his big sister had to wait until she was about 18 months old to ever have juice, so he was quite "lucky."
Around 1 am, the doctor told me she wanted Ace to stay overnight for observation and more nebulizer treatments. The first treatment had helped a bit, but Ace was still breathing laboriously. We got into a room in Pediatrics around 3 am. We were both wasted by this point. Ace had got maybe fifteen minutes total sleep since 11 pm. He was so tired he fell asleep sitting up on my lap. I wrapped him up and laid him in the crib and tried to pay attention while a nurse told me about the room and their procedures for what felt like an eternity (but was probably only twenty minutes). I curled up on the bed and crashed.
For an hour, until someone came in to check on the baby. Poor Ace was so tired he didn't even wake. The rest of the night is a blur - I woke up at one point to find a different doctor checking on Ace. Someone hooked up a cold humidifier to blow onto Ace's face. I slept through a call from my husband at 7 am. I woke up to Ace moving around, fussing to be fed, around 8 am. Dh called shortly thereafter. I really wanted him to be there with me, as I was still pretty stressed (not to mention still exhausted), but what to do with Miss E? I remembered that EdgyK was just barely back from her vacation and was going to church in an hour. "Ask EdgyK to take her to church with them!" I told Dh. (Thank goodness she was back! This is when family nearby would have come in super handy. Note to self: start pressuring favorite relatives to move to Oregon.)
Dh was able to pawn our oldest off on EdgyK and joined me at the hospital. We slept when the baby slept. Ace was like a newborn - he'd wake up and nurse, then fuss very soon thereafter to go to sleep. We'd swaddle him and rock him, and he'd sleep for an hour and a half. We repeated this every two hours all day. He had a few more nebulizer treatments. By 2 pm, they decided to hold off on any more treatments to see if he continued to improve on his own. And they wanted Ace to stay a second night. I realized I was going to need a few more things from home. Dh left around 3:30 to pick up Miss E from EdgyK's (where she had happily played through her nap). He brought her to the hospital briefly so I could see her, and brought the things I needed. They left around 5:30. I tended to Ace and while he slept, I read The Other Boleyn Girl until the light from the window gave out around 8:30. In bored desperation, I downloaded a game to my cell phone. That entertained me for an hour until I could sleep.
Sleep was again erratic and interrupted, but oh well. It's a hospital. I woke at 8 am to see Ace's regular pediatrician listening to his breathing with a stethoscope. He said he wanted Ace to get one more dose of steroids and we were good to check out around noon. We're to go for a follow-up appointment on Wednesday.
So now we are back home, and so glad to be here. Ace celebrated being home by taking a nice 2.5-hour nap and I celebrated by taking a shower! Ace is smiling and laughing, despite the continued barking seal cough. His doctor said that may last for a week. He is breathing easily now, thank goodness. He is four months old today and weighs 17 lbs 10 oz. I love my big boy so much and am so glad he is doing better!