Monday, November 18, 2013

Baby on Board

There's a baby sleeping in the master bedroom again, though it's not who you might think.

A new horror has presented itself to me overnight, and its name is Croup.

For some reason, I'd always thought of croup as a generations-before-me illness, likely because the only mention I ever heard of it growing up was in the novel, Anne of Green Gables. Indeed, the circumstances in which it appeared in the narrative were sufficiently nerve-racking that I was all too happy to assume it a thing of the past. Certainly, it was not something I ever wished to encounter personally.

Fast-forward to now, when talk on the parenting boards that I frequent has made me aware that croup is actually rather common, and identifiable by a barking cough. Seeing other moms talk about it eased my fear of it somewhat- apparently it was not some mysterious, always-near-fatal malady- however I wished and hoped I could get by without.

It was not to be so. Like a scene out of Madeline, Tom and I awoke in the middle of last night realizing that something was not right. Michael was crying, which he sometimes does, but it sounded very odd. At first, I thought it was a problem with the monitor. It seemed like every cry was creating a buzzing feedback. Tom went up to return the lost binky, and I questioned him about the noise.

Tom responded that Michael was coughing as he cried, and I was mortified. Whatever kind of cough was that? There were a few moments of silence before the fussing began again, and I insisted that Tom bring Michael down so that I could hear him for myself. It sounded worse in person.Though I knew that things were likely fine (even after consulting with Dr. Google to confirm my suspicions), it was terrifying to see and hear my baby boy like that. So, after giving him a bit of Advil, I tried to lay him down between Tom and me in our bed. I wanted to have his breath against my ear all night.

Michael wasn't having it, so I did the next best thing. I had Tom adjust the mini-crib (which is still in our room) to the lowest setting and placed Michael in it for the night. He was unhappy at first, but settled down quickly and slept soundly through until morning. I was amazed that he was able to breathe so quietly once he was asleep, after all the of the rattling and wheezing that I'd heard up to that point.

As I've discovered, he generally sounds fine until he starts doing things (like crying) that further irritate the inflammation in his larynx. He was even acting fine, apart from a bit of fatigue, through the early part of the day. He was a trooper at his doctor's appointment, where it was determined that his case is sufficiently mild that we should probably try to wait it out rather than put him on oral steroids. He had a decent appetite at lunch. He went down for his nap without issue.

However, he didn't sleep long and woke up uber-cranky. The crankiness continued to increase until I gave in and settled him in my lap with a bit of streaming video on the smartphone. He felt a little warm at that point, but the ear thermometer (which I've found to be irritatingly unreliable) insisted otherwise. He must have been feeling pretty badly, though, because he fell asleep that way- something he's not prone to doing outside of his crib.

When he awoke, there was no question that he was too warm to not be running a temperature, and his behavior- misery personified- confirmed it.

So, too, did a second temperature reading, of 102.1. We brought out the Advil again and Tom agreed to entertain the other two in the kitchen while I brought Michael into the bedroom for some peace and quiet in which to burn off his fever.

Pretty shortly, he began to act himself again, and was looking the picture of health and energy by bedtime. However, I've been warned that the second night will likely be worse than the first, so I'm bracing myself.

Also, I've put him back in the bedroom again, where I'll spend half the night just listening to him breathe.

If we make it through the night, we'll have come through the worst of it. That is, unless Amelia catches it next...