Thursday, March 10, 2011


Last night, after I got home from a photography meeting (more on that later), I hung out with my husband, we chatted a bit, and I was just getting online around midnight. I was only going to edit my daily picture for my 365 project and maybe check a few blogs.

Then I heard crying from Sally in her bedroom. I thought she just had a bad dream or whatnot, so I went into her room to calm her down. She was breathing pretty hard, but I thought it was just from sobbing about her dream. I tried to get her more awake, but she was still struggling to breathe and also started coughing.

That barky cough. The one that the doctors always say, "You'll know it when you hear it."

True dat.

I took her out into the living room, still thinking that once she woke up more, she'd calm down and start breathing regularly. Only she didn't - she started breathing faster and shallower and it was really raspy and wheezing. We put some Vicks Vapo-Rub on her chest, hoping it would open her airway a bit but it didn't really help.

This was our first time experiencing anything like this. We had no idea what was going on... honestly, yesterday she did not have one stitch of a cough or runny nose or fever or anything. She has no allergies at all and she's up to date on her vaccinations. We've never had a kid who struggled to breathe. We've been really fortunate in that of all 5 kids, we've never had any bronchitis, pneumonia, and strep only once. Our kids have never been hospitalized, never been in an ambulance, never had any kind of illnesses. We've been so blessed and this was something that totally caught us off guard.

Eventually (I say eventually, but really I made the call in about 3 minutes) her breathing was not improving and seemed to be getting worse, so I told my husband that I was taking her to the ER. Once buckled in the car, she started crying about not being able to breathe and then she threw up. And she was still having trouble.


By the time we got there, she already seemed better. When I was giving all her stats to the triage nurse, she said, "Yep, looks and sounds like croupe."

I was like, "Croupe??" Not that I was disappointed, really. I mean, I'd rather hear "croupe" than "asthma" or "Bronchitis" or "Pneumonia" or "unpronouncable-incurable-disease-that-sneaks-up-on-you-at-12am". But I felt kinda stupid for freaking out about... croupe. When  I was at home, 20 minutes earlier, I had to decide between, "If this is nothing and I take her to the ER, I will be frustrated for jumping the gun and wasting 50 bucks" and "If this is serious and I don't take her, and something worse happens, I will never forgive myself."

Needless to say, I'm not the go-to decision maker in most crises. (Yes that's the plural form of crisis. I just looked it up but spelling it out looked weird). Anyway, I'm not very clear headed when a rational decision needs to be made in the moment of chaos. It's a good thing I have a level-headed crisis-ass-kicking husband.

So: 1 green popsicle, 1 steroid shot in the leg, and 1 cool moist breathing treatment later (with the CUTEST little face mask thing, just the size for a toddler!), Sally has deemed herself, "all better, Mommy!"

The best words I have ever heard.

Texan Mama


mama hall said...

oh wow what a night! and you are awake & alive to tell about it! the croup hit BigGirl in the very same sudden, urgent, scary fashion. and we also rushed to the ER. and in less than an hour she, too, was all better. that croup. the bark is bigger than it's bite...? :)

Jennifer said...

Sometimes it can be an emergency situation though. Her little airway was closing off so she did need some type of treatment. Sometimes steam (from the shower) or cold (like walking outside when it is really cold or standing in front of the freezer) will help, but not always. I made the mistake of thinking "oh, it's just croup" one time and Baby Girl ended up being taken to the hospital by ambulance from urgent care and staying for two nights. It was scary. Momma don't play with that anymore. The minute I hear the cough my kids are at the doctor.

April said...

So sorry to hear about your crazy and frightening night! Sure hope your girl is on the road to recovery!

Jen said...

Two things you can do to help with that barky cough at home.

If its cold outside, take the coughing kid out there. The cool air decrease inflammation in the throat and thus stops the cough. If it its not cold outside, go in the bathroom, close the doors, and turn the shower on the hottest setting possible. You are trying to create a steam room. Sit in there with the kid and that should help too.

You can try both or one of these things and if that doesn't help or make things better, call the doctor or go to the ER.

All of my kids have had croupe. The bark, I am starting to think they are half dog. ;)

Michelle Saunderson said...

So glad that kiddo will be all better. It is frightening when you have no idea what is wrong.

Bridgett said...

Shower or humidity outside, like everyone's said already. Croup is terrifying. Sophia was prone to it--never an ear infection, even, but 4 cases of croup.

BlessedMomof2 said...

I hope she's feeling better quick! My first had croupe...I slept on his hard wood floor by his crib..I was so freaked out!

My second has "pre-asthma" so she's always one breath away from a cold turning nasty and requiring inhalers (with the tiny cute masks!)

Melani said...

aww that really sucks! When my 3.5 yr old was 6 months old he had RSV and along with that the croupy cough and they cannot do anything about it.

My 5.5 yr old, Serena has bronchitis right now and it really sucks because she not only coughs all the time but then is throwing up the phelm (sorry if that is misspelled, LOL) and then earlier she puked her yogurt, really gross!

Hope she gets better soon!

Oh and my baby has an ear infection and a high temp to go along with it.

Gigi said...

That's one we never had - thank goodness. Hope she's feeling better!

Heather said...

Oh Gosh what a scary night. My kids have never had the croup- we have been lucky. I think you totally did the right thing. It sounds like you got in and out pretty quickly which is a good thing!

Crystal said...

So scary! I would have gone to the ER too...I don't usually wait too long. Why is it always super bad in the middle of the night?!? Crazy how Murphy works that way. So glad she is feeling better...poor little thing! And poor mommy because I bet you didn't sleep very well either.

misssrobin said...

I'm sorry you had such a scary night. When something is suddenly so wrong with your child it's truly terrifying.

We have had more than our share of asthma, bronchitis, and croupe. We've dealt with this many times. I was lucky because I struggled with it as a child and knew some ways to work with it. We only ended up doing a breathing treatment once and it was in the doctor's office.

We live where it's cold in the winter, which is usually when they get it. We bundle them up and take them out in the cold to breathe. It helps a lot. I also remember being told by the doctor to stick my head in the freezer when I woke up and couldn't breathe. We've also gone into the bathroom to sit with the door closed and a steam shower running on full heat. (Don't put the kid in the shower!) The steam helps loosen things.

Maybe you were already told all of that, but I thought I should pass it on just in case. Good luck. I hope she's on the mend and this is the only time you face something like this.

Karen said...

How scary! I am sure I would have gone to the ER too. Glad she is feeling better.

Bear and Bones Mama said...

Oh, I know those nights. My little 4 yo has a lot of respiratory issues. Actually, this winter is the first winter in his whole life that we havne't had to be in a hospital on oxygen, and then take the dang oxygen home with us for months and months. I could cry. I'm glad she's so much better.

Anna See said...

Glad she's okay!!!

We've had the croup w/ both kids multiple times and it can be so scary! Hours spent in a steamy bathroom, then taking them out into the cold night air. xo

jori-o said...

Kat has had croup almost every blessid winter since she was three. I've always just put her in a steamy bathroom, but never tried going outside. Maybe no one does that in Vegas cuz it's NEVER cold enough??! ;o)

Jennifer said...

you didn't overreact- if she couldn't breathe, she needed to go to the ER. I had a friend here whose two-year-old had croup and she first told herself it was the same old croup and didn't think it a big deal. Then, she started having trouble breathing and, alarmed, her mom called the clinic on base who of course had no appointments and told her that she needed to make sure it was an emergency before taking her to the ER because if it was deemed not critical, she would wind up footing the entire bill and it would NOT be covered by our insurance. So, she decided not to take her daughter to the ER. A few hours later, it became clear to her her daughter needed to go to the ER and she took her where they immediately gave her a breathing treatment and put her in an ambulance to a children's hospital. She stayed in the children's hospital receiving oxygen treatments for two days. And it was just a bad case of croup. So... my point is... don't beat yourself up.. if she had trouble breathing, you did the right thing.