sick guppy

27/28 weeks

Two weekends ago was one of the best ever: We took you to our beloved National Aquarium for the first time, followed by our second-only date night since you were born.

You were in wonderland at the aquarium (which, by the way, has a secret family room complete with screened-off compartments for nursing–brilliant!). You were mesmerized by the rainbow of graceful swimmers behind those huge glass panels, and you really focused and took it all in. It was crowded and noisy, and you spent quite a bit of time watching the people around you, too. By the time we took a break for lunch, you were overstimulated and exhausted. I turned you around in the Bjorn so you faced in and could rest your head on my chest, and within minutes, you had wandered off into your dreams. No doubt you were dreaming of your first out-of-utero snorkeling excursion!

That night, Nonna and Opa babysat so we could have an evening out to celebrate your Aunt Danielle’s birthday. It was the first time we’d ever skipped bedtime with you, and while it was a little heart wrenching (I ran straight to your room to kiss you goodnight when we got home), it was so nice to have an adult-oriented evening out with friends.

The next day (the first day of March), winter whipped us yet again with an icy, frigid mess in the form of frozen rain. We probably wouldn’t have gone out, but your Aunt Peggy had invited us for lunch, and since she lives five minutes from us, we figured it would be an opportunity to get you out of the house. While the world outside was enveloped in a treacherous sheet of ice, we ate warm soup and yummy sandwiches–and you joined us at the table (literally, as we’d forgotten the tray for your high chair), eating sweet potato and banana. It’s a good thing Peggy had an oilcloth on the table; you made a mess!

That evening, while we were playing in your room, you army crawled for the first time, pulling yourself forward on your elbows determinedly to reach a toy. So you’re officially on the move, and you’re surprisingly efficient at getting places without using your knees, so Daddy and I now have to work, quickly, at making the house safe for you.

On Monday night, I heard you cough for the first time ever; it was a sad, little noise. I didn’t think too much of it, especially since we had your six-month well visit scheduled for the following morning. Daddy and I both went with you, and we asked your pediatrician to listen to your lungs; she said they sounded clear. You got another round of shots that day (two plus an oral vaccine), and you took them like a champ.

By Thursday, though, when winter raged one last time and dumped another 6-8 inches of snow on us, your cough had erupted into something much nastier. Your fever had peaked at 102.5 (scary!), and we were plying you with Tylenol to keep it low. You were congested and miserable, your cough had become raspy and rattling and you were wheezing when you breathed. You woke multiple times a night because you couldn’t breathe, but you fought us with all your might when we approached with the saline nose drops and the snot sucker.

Nonna and I got you back in to the doctor’s on Friday, and your pediatrician prescribed a steroid inhaler, assuring us it was just in case things got worse (your fever was under control) because your lungs still sounded clear. Trying to find an aerochamber attachment and pediatric mask for this Albuterol inhaler on a Friday night (I won’t bore you with the details of the multiple phone calls to pharmacies, prescription carrier, insurance, durable medical equipment suppliers and so on) was akin to searching for the holy grail. On Saturday, I asked the pediatrician on call how other parents manage to do this, and he set us up with a nebulizer and a new prescription for the Albuterol liquid solution that works with the machine.

By Saturday afternoon, when nothing had gotten any better, we’d decided a nebulizer treatment was warranted. After a first failed attempt at getting you to sit still with the mask anywhere near your face, we figured out that plopping you in front of the TV while sitting in my lap kept you calm enough for me to hold the mask over your nose and mouth for the five minutes required for the treatment. And it did really seem to help.

But by Monday, our nights had become nightmares. You woke multiple times, screaming in what sounded like sheer agony. Nothing could calm you: not  picking you up and walking with you, not Tylenol, not gripe water, not saline nose drops and snot sucking (that only seemed to make things worse), not singing, not rocking, nothing. One night, you screamed for nearly an hour straight. Another night, I broke down and nursed you somewhere in the deepest depths of the middle of the night, something I haven’t done since you were a month old. None of us were getting any sleep, and your panicked screaming started to scare us.

Mimi and I took you back in to the doctor on Monday, and again she confirmed your lungs were clear. We were just going to have to wait this out, she said, and indicated that if you were battling RSV, as she suspected, it might be three to four weeks before you were completely rid of it. We just needed to stay the course.

Every day, we hoped that night would be better. Still, the screaming continued. I resolved to give it a few more days and then take you back in; the screaming wasn’t normal, and I was afraid something more serious was going on.

But then, just like that, things began to improve. On Thursday, you were looking and feeling significantly better. Your breathing had cleared, and the wheezing and raspy cough had dissipated. You were still waking up a couple of times at night, but when you did, your cry sounded much more like you. On Saturday morning, I looked over at the clock when I heard you cry for the first time, and I actually rubbed my eyes and looked at it again to make sure I was seeing it correctly: 6:45 a.m. You’d slept for almost 12 hours straight.

And so here we are, having lived through your first significant upper-respiratory infection (with Daddy and I now trying to fight it off ourselves). I can only imagine what’s to come once you start daycare in a couple of weeks (eek!). Our job is to try to keep you as healthy as possible–and when we can’t, to keep you as comfortable as possible. Those 10 nights or so were rough, and I can tell you now there’s absolutely nothing worse than listening to your baby scream and watching the minutes tick by on the nursery clock. But that, too, passes. May we never have to pull out that nebulizer again.


This Week in Guppy Growth

  • You are army crawling everywhere–and you’re so fast. You are highly motivated by your wooden activity block, your push toy, the cat condo and (strangely) the edges of your play mat and your rug upstairs (you like pulling them up). Also, you like swiveling yourself in full circles while on your tummy on the wooden floor.
  • You tried butternut squash for the first time and loved it. You also like honeydew, although perhaps not quite as much as cantaloupe.
  • We’ve officially lowered your crib mattress one notch.

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