You know how "they" say...babies don't come with a handbook?? Well, 6 1/2 years in to my parenting adventure i have decided that is a terrible injustice to parents everywhere. I realize that there is no way to make a handbook on every little thing you will deal with. However, i think there are a few things that should be shared with you before you ever leave the hospital with that brand new squishy bundle of joy. We experienced one such thing last night. Now this was not out first encounter with this horror they call croup, but it never really gets less scary. And according to all the websites and all the doctors it really isn't that big of a deal. One of those things that sounds and looks a lot worse than it actually is. And is fairly common in young children. For those of you who don't know what this "croup" stuff is, let me just share with you the good time that it is....
Your kid is just fine all day. Running. Playing. Laughing. You go through the same 400 stall tactics at bed time and finally all is quiet. You sit on the couch watching all your favorite tv shows before going to bed later than you probably should. But, you think, "the kids all sleep through the night now, it will be fine to stay up a little later tonight" So you finally get in bed and settle in to that just before sound sleep just after consciousness state and all of the sudden you hear it. A seal. Coming from your kids room. And from the sounds of it, this seal is very agitated. You jump up and run in the room where you find your child sitting up and terrified because they "can't breathe". And truly it does not sound like they can. Every breath in and out sounds like a harsh, raspy, whooping, gasping sound. Then they cough and it sounds just like a barking seal which is all fine and good coming from a seal but extremely disturbing coming from your child who seems to be struggling for each breath.
Let me pause here for a moment to take a poll. How many of you might find it useful to have just a little understanding of why your kid sounds like a seal has jumped down his throat in the midst of the episode? If you are like me, which i acknowledge the fact that i am quite....well lets just say "overly cautious"..., running to the computer to "google it" is not the first thing that comes to mind. My first thoughts are "get me an ambulance NOW my baby can't breathe!!!!!" Luckily, God saw fit to give me a more level-headed partner for this journey of parenthood and i don't actually call for an ambulance every single time we have what I would call a "medical emergency"!! (In my defense, i just want to get to a place where there are people who are actually trained to know how to fix whatever the problem is because i know that i have no idea)
Back to the story. We left off in our kids room wondering if and why they can't breathe. And something about a seal. So friends, if you have indeed heard of croup and the symptoms you know that it is okay to stay calm. You know that the appropriate action is to take your child straight to the bathroom and run the shower as hot as you can with the door shut so they can breathe in the steam while you try and calm them down as the crying is just making the symptoms worse. (pretty sure i just broke some kind of run-on sentence rule with that one) After several minutes in the steamy bathroom, breathing seems possible again for both your child and yourself. You may even take this opportunity to google 'croup' to refresh yourself on the facts. Now it is time for everyone to get back to bed. To one bed. Because you (and by "you" i mean "I") can't sleep in a separate room that is wayyyy (directly) across the hall. What if he needs me? So mom, dad, and squiggly wiggly little man get back in mom and dads bed for a night of something somewhat short of sleep. And then it is morning. All things seem better in the morning when your pediatricians office is open!
So fellow parents and parents to be. Since kids do in fact come with no handbook, i would highly recommend putting croup on your list of things to "google" before you actually encounter it. While i am sure my accounts of our encounter have been extremely insightful, i feel it necessary to clarify that i am no doctor. askdrsears.com is one of my favorite websites for info on illnesses and medicines. Check it out...might save yourself a trip to the ER in the middle of the night!