Monday, February 26, 2007


I woke up, straight out of a sound sleep last night. Fine young gent, 2, was rasping and rattling so he could barely catch his breath. It sounded awful. Frightening. I immediately picked him up, held him so that he was upright. Unbuttoned his pajamas so that I could watch what his little chest was doing while he was trying to breathe. Held him and walked around the room waiting for his breathing to settle a little. The horrible raspy breathing didn't seem to bother him much, he just put his head on my shoulder and rasped his way back to sleep. Point one for not taking him immediately to the emergency room. If it wasn't bothering him enough to wake him all the way then he's probably all right. That, and there was no high-pitched wheezing, and his breathing settled some, just a little, as soon as I sat him up.

But still....scary.

I grabbed a blanket and a pillow and settled in for an upright night in the recliner. This is the worst part. Sitting in the dark, listening to the baby breathe. Thinking that I'm pretty sure he's fine. Worrying. Listening to baby breathe. Knowing in my head that I have good instincts for my sick babies, knowing that he's really fine and that croup sounds worse than it is. Wishing I could breathe for him then realizing that I'm breathing deep with every breath he takes. Listening to the baby breathe. I've been through croupy nights several times over these years with the gents. Experience helps the rational part of me, the part of me that knows what to do and that babe will be ok. But it sure doesn't help that scared mommy part of me that keeps thinking, "What if I'm wrong? What if we need to go now and I decide to stay home and we don't get there in time?"

Still pretty raspy. After half an hour in a steamy bathroom he sounded a bit better, his breathing still loud and rattly but a little quieter and more even. I was wide awake, though, listening to his breathing quiet a little. He slept upright on my shoulder while I knocked out a game of online Scrabble and watched a tv show I'd recorded. Then I just sat in the dark holding my baby. This is the part that I love, holding my sweet gent while he sleeps. As the gents get older, I don't get to hold them the way I did when they were babies. Rocking them all night, feeling their sweet soft heads heavy on my shoulder. All still in the house except for the squeak and sway of the rocking chair. We've got the night to ourselves. Someday they'll be bigger than me and I won't get to rock them at all, even when they're sick, so I take this time and love it, those quietly rasping breaths and all. Definitely a silver-lining kind of a blessing, but a blessing nonetheless.

We finally headed back to bed. Fine young gent slept propped on my shoulder the rest of the night, both of us restless.

I took my little gent to the doctor today. Not our regular pediatrician, who's gone this week. This doctor is young and fairly new, a nice nice lady. Not a mom yet, which is fine. I am not of the persuasion that you must have children in order to understand them. But how do you explain to someone who has never spent even one night rocking one croupy child, much less far too many nights rocking croupy kids over the past few years, that even though baby sounds fine now while out-and-about in the middle of the afternoon that you already know what's in store for croupy night two? It's not even so much the loud breathing, it's the sitting in the dark praying that it won't get worse. Fortunately the fine young gent didn't want anything to do with this stranger who wanted to touch him and look in his ears. He cried, and as soon as he started crying he started rasping. "Oh, there it is. I hear it now," she said.

Wish us good rest tonight. Fine young gent got a nice long nap this afternoon, but I didn't. I'm tired.

1 comment:

Lesley said...

Beautifully written.... reminded me of a similar "all-nighter" with my little guy, many years ago. Only difference... my little guy was vomiting. I held him all night long and I thought to myself, "This is what it means to be a mother."