My baby has been terribly sick all week. It’s just a cold, I guess, but it’s a really nasty one. It’s so hard to watch him cough and hack and hear all the mucus rattling around in his nose and throat while he works so hard to breathe. Last week Sunday night is when we noticed it. He needed to be on his tummy while my husband or I patted on his back so we could help break up the congestion and so gravity would help it out. I was terrified he was getting pneumonia. As I sat on the couch with him across my legs, patting his back, my mind raced. Should we take him to the hospital? I just wish I had a suction machine to clear some of that out for him. I knew he had to be as exhausted as I was, but he couldn’t breathe well enough to get to sleep.
He couldn’t keep any milk down and he’d had some diarrhea. I settled on just taking him in to the doctor, trying not to be the over-reacting mother. The doctor checked him over thoroughly; he didn’t think it was pneumonia, but did a chest x-ray just to be sure. No pneumonia. He sent us home with a nebulizer and had us give him pediatric electrolytes for 24 hours and to add milk back in slowly. Max’s health improved quickly initially. When I took him in for a follow-up appointment, I was very confident he would be over it by Monday (the doctor said to bring him in if he wasn’t). But as the week wore on, it became apparent that he was still struggling with this cold. He had problems keeping his feedings down when we had him up to his full feedings, and his junky cough wasn’t going away – he still needed the nebulizer at least three times a day.
Meanwhile, this natural mama is exhausted. Thursday night we had a substitute nurse, whom I had a lot of trouble trusting – resulting in a sleepless night. Friday night I got to bed late and Max slept poorly causing another night of poor sleep. Saturday night was another night of poor sleep for baby – leaving me completely depressed. It’s one of those days that getting out of bed is the last thing I want to do. I just want to run away and forget that I ever had a child and a husband and a happy life. You probably think I’m a terrible person now, but if I’m being honest, I have to admit that sometimes I just don’t feel like I can handle it anymore.
I hate the sight of yet another machine in my house to help keep my baby alive. I hate listening to him cough and rattle. I wish I could just cough all that junk out for him. I wish I could make it easier somehow, but I can’t – and I think that’s the hardest part.
I look at this adorable baby, tiny head, overlapping sutures and all, and I can’t help but love him. Even when I’m at my worst, I love him. But it is heartbreaking – gut wrenching – to watch him struggle so much without being able to do anything. The best medicine the US has to offer can’t help him. I guess that’s why I keep reaching out for alternative methods.