Monday, November 24, 2008

I had the croup a few years ago. My tongue grew mold.

Ladies and gents, we have our first cold.

It sounds so innocuous, doesn't it? Like you should wrap a shawl around it and bring it some tea. Very unlike the heartwrenching, sleep-stealing nastiness we experienced last night. Want to feel like the world's shittiest parent? Ignore your baby's middle-of-the-night coughing/muttering/whining in hopes that he'll put himself back to sleep, unaware of the fact that he's so congested that snot has completely covered his face, soaking the front of his pj's. Oh, and also has a 102 degree fever. Mother Of The Year riiiiight here.

When your kid is struggling to breathe (that ragged, "uh-uh-UH-uh" gasp familiar to anyone who's weathered pneumonia) you will do anything. ANYTHING. You will attempt to suction the snot out of the nostrils of a sobbing, wiggling, increasingly freaked out infant using a rubber bulb. (Using that damn thing is like hunting a pig with a fork - hard and stupid. But I suppose it's better than the Little House on the Prairie alternative - sucking it out with your mouth.) You will also spend hours holding him on your shoulder in a vain attempt to help him sleep while he screams in fury and confusion over the fact that he can't breathe. You will consider taking your child to the ER, convinced that the sickness has morphed into strep-croup-pneumonia-bronchitis-tuberculosis and curse the day you took him to that Mommy-Baby yoga class. (Damn those drooly little bastards!) You will realize that "The City That Never Sleeps" totally fucking does. (Why is there a Duane Reade on every corner and yet none of them are open 24 hours?!)

You will also want to make sweet, sweet love to the person who invented Vicks mentholated rub because it is the only thing that works, albeit temporarily. I think I have used up my yearly allotment in the past 24 hours. (Vicks Sweet Dreams foaming bath, Vicks Gentle Vapors plug-in, Vicks VapoRub on his chest... Do I even need to mention what all this menthol is doing to the cats?)

Any suggestions on ways to help baby breathe better are definitely appreciated. So far we have raised the head of the bed using two Harry Potters (those babies are tomes), squeeze-bulbed the nostrils, VapoRubbed everything else, and added a cool mist humidifier. We have not yet run a steam shower (mostly due to the fact that our teensy bathroom has no ventilation and we're waging a war with mold) or put Vicks on his feet. (Has anyone tried this? I've heard rumors that it works but it sounds a little kooksville.) At this point I'm game for just about anything.


elisava said...

i feel your pain. those baby colds are the worst. worst because they are up all night, every two hours like a newborn, but then sleep all the next day (just you wait), or at least enough to make leaving the house with them not-okay and you getting any sleep yourself not-okay. i would recommend otc meds, popsciles, and some diversion.

i am just that person, i sleep in their rooms when they are sick. it seems easier to me to be right there than having to try to sleep in my own bed , trying to measure every breath. they will likely have to deal with this in therapy.

i wish i could be like my parents (lovely bitches that they were...) swinging, let's move to hippy ville, listen to the sacred Neil D and raise our kids... where if i had a cold, they put me to bed with latest meds, some muppets show and a smile, leaving me while i'm sure they did all their hippy canning and cleaning! those bastARDS!!!!
anyway, good luck.

Missy said...

The steamy bathroom for a few minutes followed by a quick removal to chilly air for a minute or two is the best remedy we have found for that kind of cough. That ALWAYS strikes in the middle of the night. Saline nasal drops can help with the nasal congestion too. Little noses is the brand we used. Kids hated it though. Vicks on the feet works no better than Vicks on the chest in our experience. Hope the lil' guy feels better soon. That is no fun!

Victoria said...

1) Saline drops REALLY DO help get the snot out better than bulb alone

2) Pour hot hot hot water into a bowl and tent the steam coming off that into the baby's head. Make a teepee and huddle together under that while the hot water's under a chair? My mother swears by adding a bit of milk of magnesia to the hot water--NOT to be consumed.

AKA, what I just realized Missy said.

Ali said...

Sounds like steam is the way to go. I'll give that a try tonight, although the middle of the night part sounds about as much fun as... the middle of the night. (Why are nights always worse? ALWAYS!) And good to know about the Vick's on the feet.

I, too, am tempted to sleep in his room and may well end up doing that tonight. (Or at least sitting bolt upright, trying not to fall asleep while holding him.) We'll lay off the Neil D. though, for E's sake.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Baby colds are awful. Wouldn't you think they'd be easier? They ARE called "baby" colds after all, no?

And the guilt!

Just you wait until you ignore a funny cough only to find them covered in puke. Oh, that's a fun night's adventure!

Missy said...

No worries about the missing that he was sick in the middle of the night thing. I think every parent I know has missed one. I once let #2 go 10 days with strep. Not on purpose, long story..but the point is we all make bad calls. Don't beat yourself up.

Ali said...

I'm stunned that we haven't had a midnight puke yet. (Did I mention the fact that we still haven't gotten those flu shots?) I'm sure it's on its way!

I had strep several times (is there anything I didn't have?) and it suuuucks. Still, it manifests like any other ickness so I could totally see how you missed it. Ah, parenthood...

Julie said...

We are right there with a couple years. Alex has it bad - fever AND chest congestion AND diahrrea AND vomiting.....granted, he's been sick for about 2 months and I keep chalking it up to preschool germs. Yesterday I finally decided he MIGHT need to go see a doctor. So I called and they told me we could do walk-in hours but it would be a LOOOONG wait. Like 1-2 hours. I said fine, since the little dude was pretty much content to sit in my lap all night long, what's a couple hours in the doctor's office?

So we got there, it was jam packed full of sick, snotty kids (though Alex was by far the sickest, adding to my guilt about my laziness in dragging him to the doctor). So we settled in for a long wait, and 15 minutes into being there, my wonderfully smart boy puked ALL OVER their waiting room.

And wouldn't you know.... we got RIGHT IN.

So while I don't have any tips fo you about the vicks on the feet or the chest or the earlobes....I can say with authority if you can convince your child to vomit in the doctor's waiting room, you will save yourself all kinds of time.

Ali said...

Oh J, that is horrible and gross and AWESOME. What a story! (Again I say, Parenthood...)

Valerie said...

Ah croup, croup, croup.... man, the boys seem to go from 0 to croup bypassing any other cold inbetween, and they appear normal during the day and then 12am, bam, seems like they can hardly breathe.

And a steamy bathroom does seem to work wonders though our doctor says cool mist has been shown to be better. If we had a room that could fill up with cool mist as fast as the bathroom does with steam we'd be all over it.

Colleen said...

You poor thing! Baby colds are almost worse than having them yourself!

I agree with Missy, Little Noses saline drops are awesome (and cheap, love that). The kids hated them but it's easier to hold them down and aim harmless drops at their nose than it is to hold them down and try to operate a bulb syringe at the same time. Just be prepared b/c if you successfully hit the target, they will soon sneeze huge amounts of yuck all over you, so have a towel ready!

Hope he's feeling better soon soon soon. I've had sick babies (yeah, they're 9 & 5 but still my babies) for the past 2 weeks and it sucks big time.

pursuedbyabear said...

We had the croup too. It sucks. There is nothing to be done except humidify, and stay awake making sure your baby doesn't stop breathing. So far the only illness that topped it was Roseola. Worse.

pursuedbyabear said...

All due respect I really don't think taking the baby into the cold even for a minute after a steam is a good idea. Not trying to be mean, just hold the opposite opinion. Steam good for croup, cold air bad for croup.