Thursday, October 21, 2010

What a day.

I was a bundle of nerves today. R woke up at 7 am this morning screaming. She would fill up her lungs, pause all blown up like a balloon, and then scream again to let the air out. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Needless to say, I was freaked out. I've seen her upset-- oh yes, this colicky baby has been plenty upset in her 6 months of life-- but I'd never seen her unable to normally exhale like that.

Being a massage therapist, I've taken pathology classes, and my mind was reeling. She was absent of any nasal congestion. Emphysema? Doesn't make sense in a baby, but we had the air vents cleaned yesterday and that surely stirred up lots of dust. Anaphylactic shock? She's started eating solid foods and I've been giving her a small variety (I'm talking 3 here, nothing huge) instead of sticking with just one type of food. I also make her food. Did something bad happen in the production of said food? Oh God, I made her some apple-prune baby food and I used the orange-flavored prunes since I had a ton of them leftover from the pregnancy. Orange-flavored prunes!!!

Yeah, freaking out.

After she calmed down I continued to watch her like a hawk. Is she breathing right? Is she still having problems? Sure enough, she'd breathe normally for a bit and then stop for 3-5 seconds, only to pick back up again with a little gasp. I went back and forth in my mind about taking her to the hospital. I remembered in my childbirth classes that the nurse said to always take your baby straight to the emergency room when it came to respiratory issues. That statement completely agrees with my mindset that, above all else, babies must breathe. Breathing means heartbeat. Breathing means oxygen. Babies must breathe!!! I called Senpai at work and he agreed that the hospital was a good idea.

I flew, throwing together bags of diapers, toys, milk, bottles, and pumping supplies. Anytime I thought, "Oh, they have that at the hospital," I decided not to take the chance and bring whatever it was with me; just because the hospital has diapers/wipes/breast pump/bottles, does not mean that you will get them when you need it, if at all. It was a lot of crap to lug to the car, but I am so glad that I had just about everything I needed when I needed it. The only thing I did not bring was a thermos of hot water to heat up R's milk, and of course the nurse had to give me grief when I asked for a cup of hot water. I can't imagine getting through today if I had depended on the hospital for all of the other things I thought I could get there.

I took her to the emergency room, keeping a sharp ear out for her breaths the whole drive there. The triage nurse put a pulse ox on her toe (Side note-- The last time R had worn a pulse ox was in the NICU, when she weighed from 4 to 6 lbs. They wrapped the pulse ox around her entire foot back then, and today it went just on her big toe! Her big toe!!! My baby has gotten so big! :-D), took her temperature, and listened to her chest. She had no fever, no suspicious chest noises, and, surprisingly, thankfully, her blood oxygen was 100%. All that meant we could sit in the waiting room instead of being rushed back immediately to see the doctor.

Back in a room, the nurse couldn't find anything wrong. She had an attitude about her that rubbed me the wrong way, and I had to firmly impress upon her that no, it's not normal for my baby to stop breathing for any period of time, and yes, she is stopping breathing, if only you'd have the patience to stop talking at me and listen. This is the same nurse that didn't want to give me hot water. Not my favorite person of the day. Anyway, the doctor came in with more patience than the nurse, and she did notice the gaps in R's normal breathing pattern that I was talking about. She couldn't find a reason for the gaps so she sent R to get chest x-rays. The x-rays came out clear of any problems, and the only thing the doctor could think to do at that point was transfer R to Children's Hospital to see if they could find anything wrong.

Let me point out here that after the initial call to Senpai in the morning, my cell phone then decided to stop working. It could act as if it was making and receiving calls, but the call would never actually connect. Instant stressor on top of everything else going on. I'm in the hospital with my baby who isn't breathing properly and I can't call my husband to tell him what's going on, or my friends to ask someone to come help me, or my Mom to summon my inner b*tch (I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 6 years old: whether at doctors' offices, emergency rooms, or even restaurants, my Mom knows all about standing up for your child's health). Though I couldn't make any calls, I was so relieved to still have internet connection on my phone. I typed on the touchscreen keyboard with fury, sending out e-mails like a mad woman. When I mentioned in an e-mail to Senpai that the x-ray technician had equated my description of R's breathing problems to a person drowning, he immediately left work. I got the text from him saying he was on his way. And that was the moment I realized I could text, too. My brain had been too fried to consider it.

I drove R to Children's Hospital in St. Louis, while Senpai went home to gather more resources in case they were needed before meeting up with us there. After another lengthy intake process, the doctor at Children's was very nice in explaining to us that R was perfectly fine. Yes, her breathing was off, but it was nothing dangerous. The doctor said that since R has grown bigger, she doesn't need to breathe quite as frequently as she had before, and her body is in a sort of transition period of figuring out the new pace. Hmmm... I've never heard of such a thing. Have you? Regardless, I had to agree that her breathing had normalized from what it was doing this morning, her vitals were perfect, and all of my concerns over baby food and dusty air had been shot down. I'm still going to keep a close eye on her, and she has an appointment with her pediatrician on Tuesday. For future reference, the doctor clarified that babies need to come to the ER when they stop breathing for any longer than 20 seconds (that is WAY too long in my book), and turn blue.

Spare me any more days like today. What a day.



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