Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What to Really Expect - Part 2

Child: HRH
Age: 7 weeks

It's 5:00 am on a very chilly January morning. HRH begins to stir in his cradle beside my side of the bed. I reach over and attempt to plug him to catch another few moments of precious sleep. He makes a strange noise. Instantly awake, I flip on the light to find HRH struggling to breathe. I scream Andy awake. He jumps out of bed, into HRH's room across the hall, grabs the snot sucker off the changing table and suctions him, pulling out a nice little booger nugget. HRH begins sucking in air again like a pearl diver returning to the surface.

We bundle up our little prince in at least three layers of fleece over his 'jamas to ward off the pre-dawn chill and drive off to the emergency room. With the dome light on and me in the back seat, monitoring his every breath.

We arrive at the hospital and wait...and wait...and wait. (Have I ever mentioned that the effing emergency room is named after my father in law, who had been chief of emergency surgery until his death?) Eventually the baby is evaluated. Or, rather, we are evaluated.

ER Doc: So you say your son's nose was stuffy.
Us: Yep! And he wasn't breathing!

ER Doc: Do you have the heat on?
Us: Yes, it's set to 9,000. Can't have our precious getting all chilled.

ER Doc: And his cradle? Is it near the heat source?
Us: Yes indeedy! Right next to the radiator. But don't worry. We made sure our newborn baby couldn't reach out and grab it. We're cautious.

ER Doc: And this house that you just moved into six weeks before his birth? Does it have carpeting?
Us: Yep. Nice older (dusty) carpteting. We were going to pull it up but thought we'd leave it til spring to keep the room warmer. Besides, it goes well with the peeling wallpaper.

Baby's Diagnosis: Your child is "stuffy." I'll give you a minute to digest this complicated bit of medical information. Then go buy a humidifier.

Parents Diagnosis: Morons of the overreatcting variety.

(Moron) Manic Mommy: He's hungry. Is it okay if I nurse him?

ER Doc: Blank stare. Did anyone ever mention to you that newborns only breathe through their noses?

Us: Blank stare.

ER Doc: Yeah, they don't learn how to breathe through their mouths until later.

Us (later, to each other, not the doctor): Good fucking tip, don't you think!?

Still take HRH to see his pediatrician that afternoon. Just to be sure. Same diagnosis; parental mania/moronic-ness.
Buy a humidifier the size of a refrigerator (wallpaper is steamed off in a matter of weeks).
Alert every new/expecting parent we ever meet about the mouth-breathing thing.


natasha the exile on Mom Street said...

I honestly didn't know about that mouth-breathing-thing.

It's a wonder Grasshopper survived!

But then, he's a June baby, and down here we have PLENTY of humidity in the summer months...

Mama Goose said...

Um. Yeah. Guilty as charged. I was the Queen of Panic with #1.

I didn't know about the mouth breathing either!

Rachel said...

Scary! Don't worry, I've been laughed at by pediatricians a time or two, too...

Kate Coveny Hood said...

This is SO funny. And HI - I have three kids all born in 2005-2006 and I'VE NEVER heard about that mouth breathing thing.

Our best overreation as baby parents was when 7 month old Oliver had a temp of 102.9. We sat in the ER for hours only to find out that there is nothing we could do but give him Tylenol to bring the fever down and that it's not an emergency until the fever is 104 or higher. The doctor asked me, "exactly why are you so concerned about his fever?" I said, "because it's cooking his little brain?" Apparently not. Live and learn.

Otter Thomas said...

Better safe than sorry. We have been running a humidifier so much that I actually miss the humming sound now.

Manic Mommy said...

I was starting to doubt myself so I Googled the mouth-breathing thing. This link is is pretty anecdotal but seems to support what we were told:


KC said...

yes, better safe than sorry!

But that's kind of cool about the ER's name...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Thank you for a Parent Panic story idea for Flashback Friday--sort of the opposite problem from what you had.

I think I did know that about the breathing.

Sue @ My Party of 6 said...

OMG - so funny! It's a wonder our eldest children survive all that parenting!

(Perhaps that's why mine has a nervous condition. Or maybe he got it from me! Hmmm...)

Funnyrunner said...

LLOL! I actually had no idea that babies only breathed through their noses! I remember so well staying awake at night when the oldest was a newborn in his bassinet next to me, staring at him to make sure he was breathing. They seem so fragile...

Jason, as himself said...

Maybe the problem is that the heat was set for nine thousand degrees!

Oh, wait. That's not farenheit, is it?

I like this What to Really Expect--great idea!

Em said...

I actually called my ped because Oldest had "erratic" breathing and dark circles under his eyes right after we brought him home from the hospital.

She told me (in the most loving way, I worship this doc) that he was just trying to get the hang of "air," and don't I get dark circles when I'm tired?

I've heard this nose thing from this doc as well - explains how they can nurse/bottle feed and not choke. Crazy how the body works.

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