Deep breath

Ever since my post-vacation post things have been in upheaval. It has been one thing after another. But the most recent has been the hardest. 

Four days ago Gwenna started getting really sniffly and sneezy and coughing.  We have had a lot of beautiful rain lately so I chalked it up to the explosion of green going on all around our land. It didn't keep her up at night, she just needed to keep close to the tissues. 

Two days later Mer was sniffly as well. It increased throughout the day. I assumed she was suffering from allergies as well.  She has previously so it wasn't that far fetched. But Mer seemed to be harder hit. Benadryl and children's Zyrtec did nothing. Our Breathe blend essential oil was having the effect of water. As she lied down to bed Monday night she was still a hot mess. Dripping, coughing, sneezing. I was hoping she would be able to rest. 

I needed more than hope. 

As hour after she lied down to sleep and I was coaxing Simon to do the same, I heard an urgent commotion in her room.  I placed Simon in his crib where he would be safe and happy whether asleep or not.

Meredith was coughing and crying and doing both too hard to talk. I clutched her to myself trying to calm her and communicate at the same time. She scratched and grasped at my clothing, kicking her feet. It was clear to me she wasn't able to get a good breath. I had no idea what was going on but my mama instinct took over. I put my mouth over her nose and blow air. Luckily I was holding a couple tissues. She gagged and out flew a ball of gunk. 

I thought that would be that. She was still coughing a bit but most of the urgency had passed. I elevated her head, supplied her with tissues, and left her to fall back asleep. Sleep came. And passed. I tried to call Ted and when that didn't work I called a nurse friend (we have several). She confirmed my efforts. 

She soon woke more upset. I tried to call Ted. Meredith sat on my lap alternating between drifting off to sleep and not being able to get a decent breath. She coughed and she gagged. She pulled wildly at her mom, kicking her chubby feet with urgency. Then she momentairy relaxed. This went on a while. I finally got a hold of Ted. We talked as I calmed and reassured Meredith.

Ted and I decided it would be best for Meredith and me to seclude ourselves in our small master bathroom with steam filling the room. Meredith was so tired (as was I, embarking on my second night of no sleep) that I made her an elevated bed on the floor with pillows and blankets. 

It took some time but the coughing subsided and I felt her little body ease and melt against mine. She rested. I prepared a spot in my bed and placed her curly damp head on a prop of pillows. After a time though she was at it again. This time she wheezed with every breath in and out. So she could barely breathe as it was and now she was wheezing as she did breathe. 

At this point I'm sure many people are surprised I didn't bring her to the hospital. Certainly the ER doctors could fix her in a jif or at least fix her up before morning. But you don't know our little hospital. They don't really treat children. I was sure they'd get her breathing better and send her off somewhere else. I had my lifeline in Ted and he just confirmed all my efforts. As long as her breathing wasn't labored and her color was fine, it was OK. 

All in all we spent half the night on the bathroom floor and the other half either fitful and monitoring or sleeping lightly and restlessly. 

It was awful. I knew Mer had been sniffly and sneezy all day but this seemed a little  ridiculous for allergies. But what could be wrong? I assumed she had a big glob of mucous, like what she spewed out earlier, causes by swallowing too much snot all day, making it difficult breathe.  But I was wrong. 

Ted came home in the morning to find a greatly improved Meredith. Her lungs even sounded pretty clear. So what was going on?? Ted made a doctor appointment for Meredith. She, Simon, and I went together. In my sleep deprived haze I barely was able to describe Meredith's previous night's ailments. Shortness of breath, coughing so much it was hard breathe, coughing, dripping, wheezing... Her doctor asked of she, on top of these issues, frequently coughs around bedtime. She does. He asked a few more questions and said he believes she has Asthma. 

Suddenly things were clearer. Her night coughs. Her inexplicable wake ups. Why she can't calm herself after getting worked up crying. The occasional and isolated barking cough when she is perfectly well. Meredith has Asthma. I felt almost stupid for never putting it all together previously. Except that I'm not a doctor so we'll let this one slide. 

Meredith, after a wicked battle with the pharmacy, has now taken her Asthma medication twice and practiced with her inhaler and spacer (chamber attachment for an inhale that allows them to inhale at their pace rather than immediately and deeply). Last night we had no coughing and she slept so well. Actually, so well she peed her bed. Actually abnormal for Mer and proving to me she is sleeping deeper. 

That night was the pits. It was so hard to see my sweet daughter in distress and be able to do nothing about it. I'm strangely grateful to find out she has Asthma. But now we can get it under control and it's something she may outgrow. Being that I am who I am I'm still getting over seeing Meredith in a poor state two nights ago but I'm so glad  she is improving and I'm hoping it improves her quality of life. 


Jewel said...

This post made cry-I'm so glad that you and your doctor will now be able to help her breathe more easily...what an awful night for you!

The Browns said...

AW! Poor Mer! I'm so sorry. It is so hard to watch your baby go through that. I'm glad she's doing better!

Heather said...

That sounds so awful! But you guys seem to have your parenting heads on straight and took smart, calm action. While scary, I agree that it is good to know she has asthma. Now you know what you're facing, how to deal with it, and take methods to keep it from getting too bad. I hope things continue to get better!