It all started last Friday when B5YO came over before school with a slight cough and a little congestion. On the third day of school. Sharing pencils and cooties is just a part of school, right? I've always thought so. She never really had any other symptoms and it didn't seem to really bother her. I might have blinked and missed my 5YO having the same symptoms. She fights off most illnesses like a champ and saves most of her health scares with things in her ear and spider bites that send her to the doctor. Normal colds and even flu bugs don't hit her as hard as everyone else.
Then, there's my 2YO.
Don't get me wrong, 2YO is, overall, a pretty healthy child. When she was two months old, she was diagnosed with reflux. We were lucky that she never needed medication and her weight gain never suffered, either. The only real issue there was that she (and I) pretty much always smelled like puke. I can think of far worse things to deal with than that. It was more of an inconveniece than anything else.
When she was 8 or 9 months old, she seemed to outgrow it. She was eating more real food and rarely spewing it back out. And then, it was gone. No more puking. This was a huge step for us, no matter how gradual it actually was. Life just got easier and I was finally able to clean up that crusty puddle in the base of her infant car seat and know it would stay gone this time. Don't you just hate that?
When she was ten month old, she taught us about croup. My first two children had nothing of the sort and this was all new to me. She woke up on a Friday morning (Of course! Doesn't it always happen at the beginning of a weekend and when the doctor is only open a half-day?) and she was barking. I called the doctor and they told me what to do. With no other symptoms and her breathing otherwise normal, it was more of a 'wait and see' thing than anything else. BOY! Did we get to 'see' what could happen!
I had errands to run that evening and my baby was really tired. She was asleep in her car seat by the time we got home, so I just brought her inside and let her stay in her seat while I put away the groceries and such. Her breathing changed so suddenly it was frightening. David was on the couch and he mentioned to me that her breathing sounded bad. Within the next hour or so, her breathing sounded downright difficult and David and I scrambled to find someone to stay with our other two while we took her into the E.R. The other two were already in bed by this point, so they never really knew we left.
As David drove, I watched her intently on the way to the hospital. We were both just hoping she kept breathing, not knowing what this was. That night in the E.R. we both learned what croup was and that her breathing problems were actually called stridors. Stridors are scary when they are happening to your ten-month-old and the people in the E.R. were all concerned and took us back within minutes. She had two breathing treatments that night and they sent us home in wee hours of the morning. They told us that that was probably the worst of it but to watch her closely and be prepared for nightime, as that's when it always gets worse. That next night, she started the same labored breathing again. We followed all the directions for croup that they gave us as the hospital. We took her into the bathroom with the steam from a hot shower. We wrapped her in a big blanket and took her in the cold, foggy November air. She should have gotten better, but she didn't.
Once again, we found someone to stay with the kids and took her back to the hospital. Once again, she was taken back almost right away. They started her on a breathing treatment right away. After the first one, she seemed to even bit a bit worse. They did a second one immediately after the first one and she seemed even worse. They immediately decided to admit her so they could perform an EIGHT HOUR BREATHING TREATMENT. I have to give David HUGE PROPS for being the one to hold her and wrestle with her to keep that mask on her face. FOR EIGHT HOURS. He's stronger than I am (OBVIOUSLY!) and he's even more cuddly than me so she could just give in and relax on him for awhile with the mask on. Before long, she was fighting it all over again.
The treatment worked. They kept her overnight and we were all able to come home on Monday. She hasn't had any stridors since, but she gets that tight, croupy cough with every little sniffle that comes through the house.
And she has that cough again.
I was Googling recurrent croup this morning and I found that there could actually be a connection between reflux and croup. Has anyone else heard of this? She's almost three now and I really hope she outgrows this soon. Her voice is all raspy her cough sounds just terrible.
If anyone else has had similar experiences and/or tips to share, I would love it! The reflux doesn't seem to be a problem now. At least, not that we know of. David has acid reflux and is on one of those preventitive medications that you take every single day to keep his symptoms at bay. I just wonder if the reflux and the croup are related, or if one aggravates the other. Or, is her airway just smaller than normal? Does she have asthma? Is this all because she was a c-section? Or born at 38 weeks?
As my daughter hacks and barks away, I am at a loss.