One of these days your sweet angel baby is going to wake up (probably in the wee hours of the morning) with a heinous sounding cough. You’re going to look around and wonder where that annoying whistle is coming from, and then you’re going to realize that your child is making that noise every time she breathes in and out. If you’re a newbie mom you’ll probably freak the heck out and rush to the hospital. Or, if you are super tired and really, really want to go back to bed, you’re going to go turn on the shower as hot as it will go and stand in the steam with the babe until she’s breathing better and put her back in her crib. (What? I only did that once with C a long, long time ago. I know better now. sheesh. She’s fine. Promise.) In the morning you’re going to call the doctor and try to get your baby seen, or listened to, whatever.
Now I’m going to share a little known secret about pediatrician’s offices. Nothing, and I’m speaking from experience here, so forgive me if I exaggerate a little, but nothing will score you a visit to your friendly neighborhood pediatrician faster than the words “I think my baby is wheezing. It looks like she might be having trouble breathing.” They’ll have you in there with a O2 sat meeter on your baby’s toe within the hour.
If your child is really struggling for breath they’ll probably ship you off to your friendly neighborhood hospital. So far we’ve been fortunate to escape that particular trip, but we’ve come awfully close a few times. The rest of the time they’ll most likely send you home with a nebulizer: a machine that turns the asthma medicine into mist. They’ll show you how it works and send you home with the injunction to give your baby a treatment every 4 hours until the wheezing stops. The rest is up to you.
Word of warning: your baby is not going to like having a mask held up to her face so that you can send a fine mist into her nose and mouth for ten or fifteen minutes. This is when you’re going to have to get crafty. If you’re lucky and your child actually likes watching TV then the time will fly by as they sit mesmerized by Elmo and Zoe’s antics. If your baby is too young to really be entranced you’re going to have resort to other means.
Over the last few weeks I have:
– danced a jig while holding the child in one arm and the mask in the other hand.
– sang loud and distracting songs over and over again.
– jiggled my knee repeatedly in an effort to keep her moving during the whole procedure.
– made my husband play peek-a-boo for fifteen minutes straight. No joke.
– worn blinking Mikey Mouse ears and made silly noises.
– tried to ignore the crying, but never for long since I can hear her quite clearly when she screams on my lap.
– nebulized her after she’s gone to sleep. (This is by far the most successful technique to date.)
We did a victory dance last week when the doctor told us that we could go to a once a day nebulizing regime. Then Little L promptly caught the latest cold going around at daycare. She started wheezing yesterday and received three treatments during the course of the night, so I wasn’t so surprised when the pediatrician told us to nebulize her every four hours until the end of the weekend. Not surprised, but not happy either. This is really going to test our resources. Any more thoughts on how to keep a baby entertained for fifteen minutes when she can’t put toys in her mouth?