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Nearly half a million babies (1 in 10) are born premature in the US each year which is higher than that of most other developed nations. This is the journeys of our first born son, Finnegan, who was born 14 weeks early and weighed only 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. Of our daugher, Korrigan, who was born a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces at 37 weeks. And of our second son, MacKeegan, who was also born at 37 weeks at a whopping 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Our continued adventures reminds us daily how good God is.

Friday, October 23

Breathing is important

Korri had a "lung virus" all week. I took her to the doctor on Monday and they told me what to watch for so it didn't turn into something worse (like pneumonia). Wed Mac woke up with a low grade fever. Since he'd had shots the day before at his well-child appt, I prayed that it was from that and NOT Korri's virus. He was a little "off" all day but nothing major. He slept well that night, so I thought we were in the clear.

Until he woke up yesterday, Thursday AM with a higher fever and a little cough. Crap. It isn't the shots! It wasn't bad and the fever had only been for one day, so even though it worsened throughout the day, I just told myself I'd take him in tomorrow (Fri) if it wasn't better in the morning. Even though his cough and breathing was worse than earlier, I handed him off to Jim and went out to Mom's Night Out for dinner (which was GREAT, as always!). I figured he would be in bed when I got home and all would be fine until morning.

Well...Jim called me as I was leaving to drive back home to ask where the thermometer was, which is never a good sign. The other thing that instantly got me worried was that he was holding Mac when he called me and I could HEAR Mac breathing through the phone. I drove as fast as I could home, fully intending to take him to the ER when I got home.

When I got home, Jim was strangely calm. Normally he freaks out and I do nothing. He said he'd done some research and it was probably either RSV or Croup and Mac should be fine. He'd just given him Tylenol so even though his temp was 103.7 degrees, I was hopeful it would go down and he could go to sleep. After five minutes, I decided to call the Nurse's Line at our clinic. I just wasn't comfortable with how he sounded and how he was behaving.

Two signs I knew things weren't good: 1. normally you call the phone service and they have a nurse call you back within X minutes...usually 30-60 minutes. After explaining Mac's symptoms, she told me to hold and had a nurse on the line in 30 SECONDS! 2. The nurse asked a few questions about Mac and his symptoms before asking me if he was grunting when he was trying to breathe. Jim said YES!

Nurse: Stacy, I need you to hang up the phone and call 911.
Me: Really? I can just drive him to the ER, can't I?
Nurse: Stacy, I need you to immediately hang up and call 911. They will have somebody there to monitor him and resuscitate him if necessary.
Me: Ok. Bye.

I obviously called 911 immediately, something I've never had to do before for a health emergency. She asked me the address of the emergency and my phone number and then asked what was the emergency. I told her the information and Mac's symptoms. She said she'd dispatched the sheriff and the ambulance. At which time Mac was hysterical so I handed Jim the phone and took Mac. Within ONE MINUTE, the sheriff was in our driveway. He didn't have child equipment with him but he did a rudimentary assessment. About five minutes later, the Waverly First Responders were here and they started going over his vitals, listening to his lungs, etc. In less than 15 minutes (which is impressive since the drive is 10 minutes!), the Howard Lake ambulance was here. At that time, they took his oxygen level (94, which they were NOT happy with) and started a nebulizer. Mac at this point was completely hysterical, which was just making his breathing worse.

They talked to the Allina ambulance and decided we needed to go to the hospital. I left with Mac in the ambulance. About halfway to Buffalo, we met the Allina ambulance and a paramedic got in ours and rode with us the rest of the way. I can only assume it was because she was better qualified to treat Mac?!?! I'm not sure if things weren't explained to me or if I wasn't paying attention because I was focused on Mac (Jim said as people came into our house, they said who they were. I'm pretty sure at one point, there was close to 15 people in my entryway.). They nebbed him again in the ambulance and gave him blow-by oxygen. By the time we got to the hospital, his oxygen levels were 100, which I can't even believe.

Once there, they gave him another neb (between the three nebs, they gave him two different medicines) and an oral steroid. They didn't really tell me the diagnosis until much later when I asked, but it was Croup. Then they wanted to observe him for 3-4 hours to see how he did after the meds wore off. This whole time, Mac switched between being hysterical anytime somebody looked like they there were even thinking about touching him, much less when they DID touch him and calmly flirting with whomever he thought was NOT going to touch him. What they failed to tell me is that epinephrine (one of the meds they gave him), apparently, is like pure adrenaline, which means Mac didn't sleep the entire time we were in the ER until about maybe 2 or 2:30! Momma was EXHAUSTED. When he finally crashed, he CRASHED! Oh and his fever broke about the same time and the bed and my sweatshirt were soaked. I'll take it as long as the fever was gone.

Finally, around 3, they said they were happy with his progress and that we could go home. They said he shouldn't get worse, now that some of the meds had worn off and he was still stable. They said we needed to see his regular Ped in the morning (Fri), just to check him over and to make sure he was still doing okay. Jim, Finn and Korri got to the hospital around 3:30am to pick us up. All three kiddos were troupers on the way home, especially considering the time. I think my head finally hit the pillow around 4am.

It was exhausting and frightening. Finn had Croup once when he was little but it was NOTHING like this. I mean, it hit Mac quick and hard. His little chest was compressing all the way in just so he could get a breath. While I hope to never have to call 911 again for any reason, I rest assured that we have a good First Response team in our little rural community. And I obviously had an amazing experience when I gave birth to Mac at Buffalo Hospital but now I also really appreciate their ER and the hospital as a whole. Well done for a little hospital in the middle of nowhere! Although an ambulance bay would be nice since it was cold and rainy when we got there, but I guess that is getting a little picky ;)

A huge thank you to everybody who sent kind words, wishes and prayers. We've been through worse, but any time there are scary times, it is nice to be reminded about how many people care about us and take the time to say a little prayer for us and/or our children. Thank you!!! Nobody likes it when their baby is sick.

I brought Mac to the Dr. this AM (I LOVE our clinic and the fact that Fridays our regular Ped is in our office!). She was shocked to see us back (since we'd just been there on Tues!). She said his oxygen levels were still a little low and she didn't like how his chest sounded (um, I told her I thought it sounded a MILLION times better than last night!). She gave me an oral steroid to give him if his chest/breathing seemed to get worse at all over the next couple of days. AND...he had an ear infection. Argh! It was clearly from the Croup. So she gave us an antibiotic and said we do NOT have to go to the ENT for tubes because of it. Good! He is doing better today but it will take a while for him to get over this one...probably a week or so. Patience and lots of love!

This is him this morning, sleeping on mommy's bed on mommy's lap (I got up to take the picture). He was TIRED!

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