Things that make you go hmmmm…

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As of last December,  I had never been to the E.R. in my life.  Within three weeks, both girls made a trip there, including two rides in an ambulance.  Another first for me.  Thankfully they are both fine, but both events started with me saying to myself, “Hmmm….that seems a little weird” so I got to thinking about doing a post on the value of trusting your instincts because some times things are not so obvious!

In Emma’s first  3 years and 3 months she was sick maybe 2 or 3 times.  Total.  I remember reading in my Baby 411 book that most kids on average get something like 6-8 viruses a year, and I thought, well not my kid!  She has an immune system of steel!

Fast forward to September of 2009 and her first year in preschool.

You moms with preschoolers and beyond will know what is coming next.  BAM!  I think in 6 months she has had about 6 viruses.   Seemed like one after another for a long stretch there.

It was December and she had that really bad cold and cough.  You know that wet hacking cough?   The worst.   That afternoon she was laying on the couch and I noticed when she took a breath, it was sucking in a little under her rib cage.   She was not gasping for air or anything that would obviously alarm me,  it was just this weird pull by the base of her throat and under her ribs.  Her breathing sounded like she had a lot of phlegm in her throat.  Turns out this was wheezing, but I had no idea at the time.   I mentioned it to a fellow mommy friend that afternoon and she mentioned she might call on it.

She seemed to be doing okay, so I actually put her to bed that night, but something kept  nagging at me.  That “hmmm….” feeling.   I kept thinking about her chest and how it seemed weird.    Of course it is now 8pm at night and I think maybe I should call  just in case.

I call the after hours line and talked to a CHOC nurse on call and described her symptoms.  She told me the things to watch out for included sucking or pulling at the throat or ribs, which is called “labored breathing.”    My heart started to race and I told her “I SAW THAT.”   I had NO idea.  She had me go wake her up and put the phone up to her mouth so she could hear her breathe.  When she heard how she was breathing, she told me take her to the Urgent Care right away.

Four breathing treatments and a steroid shot later, she was still not responding well enough to be sent home.   Next thing I know six paramedics show up to take us out on a gurney to ride in the ambulance to the CHOC hospital E.R.  I am holding my poor little one on my lap with that breathing mask over her face thinking “how can this be happening??”

By the time we got to CHOC she was doing much better.   They took a chest x-ray to make sure her lungs were clear and kept her there for a few hours just to make sure.  She was sent home with a nebulizer (breathing treatment machine) and this mom was sent home with a case of paranoia.  I couldn’t believe something I debated about calling on could have been so serious.

Unfortunately this was the start with our experience with her “reactive airways.”  It could mean asthma or it could not.   Not fun, but at least we know now what to do and how to handle it.

So, my advice to you mamas is to just trust your mommy gut instinct and if anything health-wise ever makes you go “hmmm…”  just CALL!

I will do a “Things that make you go “hmmmm….Part II” next week with Morgan’s adventure to the E.R. and again back to CHOC.  Way too long for one post!

By the way, after months of rotating colds and flus, our entire household is healthy now.  Oh God, please don’t let me jinx it!!!!!!!


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  1. 1
    Laura says:

    WOW!!!! very scary!!!! I had childhood asthma, and not sure if this may help you or not, but when an epiusode was beginning my mom used to give me a small glass of warm to slightly hot water. This helps to open the airways w/o medication. I remember feeling such relief from this treatment. Hope all STAYS well in your household. (We are having a nice “sick-free” period now also)

  2. 2
    Jen says:

    Thanks for the tip Laura! Here’s to a HEALTHY spring all around!!!

  3. 3
    Lindsey says:

    I think every mom can relate to this post. How many times have we been proven right? even after we doubted ourselves after the initial \"hmmmm….\" My experience was with our now 4 yr. old daughter who at 18 months contracted Pertussis (whooping cough). Doctors and Pulmonologists from CHOC told us it was a \"bad cough\" and reactive airways… most likely a constant post-nasal drip that caused her to feel the need to clear her throat. They even sent us to an allergist to get that multiple prick skin testing to rule out allergies causing the post nasal drip (all tests were neg). All the while my baby hacked and gasped for a breath and sometime her lips would turn bluish from the lack of oxygen in her blood and the doctors still said no to Pertussis (we had missed the 2 week window for \"official\" testing of the illness and the docs claimed it was not possible since she had the combo vaccine DTP). I \"knew\" in my mind that this was Pertussis, I didn\’t need a doctor or a test to prove otherwise and vaccine or not you can still contract the illness (research had shown that CA was in an \"active\" cycle for Pertussis the same season my daughter was sick. My affirmation came as I sat at my computer pouring over the various resources about Whooping Cough, I watched a video of a toddler in a crib coughing and gasping and I started to cry – that was MY baby! She sounded and looked like the baby in the video who had Pertussis. So long story short… The illness played out just like the websites said it would. The Chinese call it the 100 day cough… they are right.. exactly 3 months and the cough finally settled. All the while we are doing breathing treatments with bronchial dilators and steroid combos (as little as possible…just enough to get by because I HATE using steroids – PERIOD.) For the past 3 years we have battled her \"reactive airways\" with every Santa Ana condition, every brush fire and every pollen flare up – NOT to mention starting preschool this fall (it has been THE WORST season to date with her cough no doubt as a result to her exposure at school)… it is no fun, I can relate to your woes. But like you said when you know something isn\’t right you NEED TO BE your child’s advocate, you will find a solution and it may not always come from your medical provider. Friends are a HUGE help to, their objectivity is KEY, sometime they see something that you don\’t.

    Sorry for the long post but this hits HOME with me 🙂


    -BE WELL!

  4. 4
    Jen says:

    Wow Lindsey, I can’t believe what you had to go through!!! I hear you on the steroids – the WORST. She had the most terrible reaction to the pregnisone after the hospital.

    We have tried Singular this past week and she has been doing much better on it.

    Do you have any experience with Singulair? She couldn’t shake her cough for weeks and wasn’t sleeping well at night with all the coughing fits. Since starting Singulair we haven’t had to do the nebulizer.

    Just curious…

    Thanks for your comment & your story! So great to hear from other mamas

  5. 5
    Lindsey says:

    We used Singular when she was 18 mos – 2 yrs. She didn’t tolerate the taste and trying to get her to take it now? forgetaboutit… I remember only giving it at night our Ped said it would make her too drowsy during the day.

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