Over a year ago C caught a minor cold. A little runny nose, a tiny cough. By the middle of the night she was wheezing heavily. It sounded like croup to me so I rushed into the bathroom and ran a steaming hot shower. C and I stood in the steam as I rocked her. After a while her wheezing subsided and I was able to put her back to bed. As they say in French, I only slept on one ear that night. Every sigh, every wheeze had me holding my breath, waiting for it to pass.
In the morning her doctor declared that it wasn’t croup, it was asthma, and in her opinion C’s trigger was being sick. She’s a daycare child, she gets sick a lot. It was just the first of many asthma attacks and sleepless nights.
Those first few night I spent hours listening to her breathe. Now when she starts to cough I close my eyes, hold my breath and wait for it to pass. I no longer jump out of bed. Instead I hope against hope that she’s just having a little cough, that I won’t have to haul her out of bed and give her a nebulizer treatment. She doesn’t want to be out of bed any more than I do, but sometimes I have no choice, especially since now the coughing tends to make her throw up. Each asthma cough can mean hours of lost sleep for both of us. It translates to a day with a cranky sick toddler and a tired mommy.
An Ideal Mom would be worried about their child’s health. I’m a Real Mom, I hold my breath when my daughter coughs because I’m scared we’ll lose a lot of sleep.