Croup Is The Devil

Why does the devil want to play in the middle of the night, when we are too tired to think, when anxieties are fueled by the loneliness of the hour, when one of our worst fears is imagined and appears to be unfolding before us- our child struggling to breathe?

My now 3 year old son, Lu, has had reoccurring croup since he was about 6 months old. Until last year, he got it several times every Fall/Winter and it has always been very dramatic. The first time he was about 6 months old and we rushed to the 24/7 pharmacy to pick up Prednisolone. It started working on the way to the hospital and he was breathing easier, but I was definitely traumatized.

As Lu gets older, his croup symptoms seem to be getting less severe (save for tonight, when he had a fever as well). His airway is growing along with him and the swelling doesn’t usually affect his breathing as much as it did before, but this has certainly been a sleepless night. When he was a baby there were plenty of sleepless nights where I just listened to him breathing. Even if I fell asleep I would wake up every few minutes to watch his chest rise up and down.

Usually croup is treatable at home, with steamy bathrooms and cold air. With the more severe cases of stridor (difficulty breathing at rest) we’ve experienced, Prednisolone has been the only effective treatment to open his airways. I’m usually all about waiting and seeing if something clears up or using natural methods to remedy an illness, but I am thankful for this steroid. It has brought him fast relief in the past.

But, the Devil is not in the business of easy solutions! We are currently staying at my in-laws rented beach house and Lu woke up with the croup cough at 11am. I could not get him to take the very bitter Prednisolone; he’s much bigger now! I only had one dose left and I wasted half trying to mix it with chocolate syrup, chasing it with peanut butter, taking it slow, bribing and waiting. I could hear his raspy breathing, sitting there watching a video. I tried just holding him and shooting the meds towards his back teeth, but missed and squirted the back of his throat. Can you guess how that ended?

So, I’ve been cleaning up chocolate peanut butter vomit off the guest comforter after getting my 9 month old back to sleep, who woke up to the commotion. My poor, sick little dude is calmly watching shows because he gets to do whatever he wants now, crying makes the stridor and coughing worse. I’m pretty sure my in-law’s and possibly everyone within a mile radius thinks I was torturing my baby from the amount of screaming and yelling, “get that away from my mouth!” It’s 5am, I haven’t slept a wink, and I need to call our pediatrician in the morning to see if there is an alternative to prednisolone because we have at least one more night of this. I will probably have to go to an urgent care, but health insurance is pending through CHIP…

In conclusion, croup is watching your children suffer. It is sleep deprivation and moms rambling on. It is the only thing I fear late at night because it is sneaky. Croup is the devil!

‘Tis the Season for Sickness 

School just started back up for many and, here in PA, it just started getting chilly. Every child that comes around our house to play seems to be coughing and have a runny nose. (And of course I cringe at the thought of my 9 month old and 3 year old catching anything…no one will sleep for a week and, ugh, the anxiety of having a sick child!) It got me thinking…why does this happen every year?

It was not hard to find a decent answer, thanks to Google. Apparently, when the weather gets cooler, cold and Flu viruses flourish. The air becomes more dry and our nasal passages are not as effective at trapping and expelling bacteria and viruses because of the lack of mucus.

So, best solution to preventing the Fall cold and Winter illnesses in general appears to be a humidifier! It keeps the air humid enough to support our body’s natural protection against illness.

On top of the Smartypants multivitamins we take on the daily, along with extra vitamin C, and probiotics, I added a humidifier to the bedroom and I’m crossing my fingers it will make a difference for us this season!

“I Support Breastfeeding, But…”

IMG_20150807_184415372This photo of me breastfeeding my son and my friend’s son went viral two years ago and I have seen and heard opinions of support and outrage.

My desicion to nurse this little baby was never in question for me, as I knew it was the right thing to do. He was under my care at 6 months old when I breastfed him for the first time. I was able to relieve his digestive issues, ease his mother’s mind, and conveniently feed two babies.

I asked my husband to take this picture one day, when I realized my friend’s son had not asked to nurse in awhile and it was possibly one of the last times we would share a moment like this.

I was not thrilled with how I looked or the set up, but you can’t stage a picture with nursing toddlers and I get terribly nervous in front of a camera!

I then realized it was World Breastfeeding Week and posted the picture to breastfeeding support groups I was in, to celebrate wet nursing still being an option. Someone “stole” the picture from one of the groups and leaked it into the world.

I was inundated with support and criticism, reporters and interviews.

We made the best of the situation, using it as an opportunity to spread awareness about milk sharing, wet nursing, and breastfeeding in general.

I did read many hateful and uneducated comments, that surprisingly did not phase me. I knew then how confident I was in my actions and beliefs. How could feeding a child ever be wrong?

The one phrase I saw over and over, that was the most irritating to me, was: “I support breastfeeding, but…”.

If you support breastfeeding, you know there is no shame, no need to hide it, no need to cover up, no need to deny a baby the comfort of nursing because he isn’t your child (with permission from parents of course).

I’m sure debates will continue on, but my hope is that at least one person will realize:

• It is normal and recommended by the World Health Organization to breastfeed until at least 2 years of age.

• The World Health Organization promotes breastfeeding as the optimal source of nutrition for babies. If that is not possible, then a wet nurse or milk donor is recommended. As a last resort, formula should be used. (I personally take no issue with mothers who formula feed. I am sure you have good reason to feed your child as you do. (Hugs to moms everywhere feeding their babies around the clock during that first year!)

• The more we see breastfeeding in public, uncovered and unapologetic, the more it will become a part of our accepted culture again.

Now, if you still take issue with my breastfeeding picture and are getting upset, try Googling historical breastfeeding photos. See if you get as mad at the wealthy women sitting for paintings while breastfeeding, or the vintage photos of mothers nursing their babies. I know, they didn’t post it to Facebook, but maybe they would have if it existed!



Sisterhood of Mothers

A blog was never something I thought I would be interested in taking on. My voice is just one of many. What do I have to offer that is different from everything else out there?

The answer lies within myself, just as it does for everyone else. I have thoughts, opinions, and ideas that don’t need validation from a publisher to be spoken. And the truth is, I’m upset about the dissemblance of women’s confidence in carrying, birthing, and raising their children. I’m passionate about women’s rights and our need to reconnect with our roots, to believe in our own instincts and primal knowledge.

I have stories, opinions, and topics I look forward to exploring and sharing. I hope to include humor, wisdom (as much as my own is worth), knowledge on various pregnancy and parenting topics, and perspective.

Mamas, as different as we all are, we will always be part of a sisterhood. We are raising children, juggling responsibilities, dealing with finances, and loving our partners. We have a full plate, so let’s share and connect at every opportunity we have!