Parker was sick last night. He had croup and I knew it.
He had the typical barky cough and irritated larynx that began yesterday morning. I watched him progressively get more barky as the day went on. However, croup is a *funny* virus in the sense that it can completely freak you out as a parent because it can cause some breathing discomfort but its bark is almost always worse than its bite.
And after three babies I know exactly what croup is and exactly what to expect. I know the whole cold air trick to help with the irritated larynx, humidifier/ steamy shower trick, and propping the mattress to help elevate the child's head. I also knew, and expected, that when I laid Parker down for bed last night that he was going to have a tough time falling asleep. I even called my mom to give me some input on whether I should be concerned or not. But sure enough 20 minutes after he fell asleep he was up coughing, and struggling to get comfortable.
What I didn't expect was for both Andrew and I to look at each other and admit that it was really hard not to get anxiety and worry built up that it might be something else(Que flashes of enterovirus 68 news reports!). Andrew and I kept Parker's video monitor on the highest volume so we could listen to Parker breathe in hopes of catching it if it got worse.
I was trying to keep Andrew and I's anxiety at bay by baking some pumpkin-oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies with Jack. Sure enough when Parker awoke, and we heard our little guy crying in discomfort we decided that I would take him to urgent care.
Like I said before, Parker was not in any distress, he was not struggling to breathe, and I knew he had croup. But I still couldn't shake my anxiety. Even Andrew, my calm, cool, and collected parent was encouraging me to take him in. Sure enough, we arrived at urgent care, and were seen by the doctor. Parker was at 100% oxygen levels, we were given an oral steroid medication to help with inflammation, some apple juice to wash it down, and sent home. It all was done within about an hour.
I knew we overreacted. Even texting Andrew at the clinic we both agreed it was croup but we just couldn't chance it. Like most parents our worries are endless with our children but after the loss of Max, our worries feel endless to the Nth degree. We just couldn't chance it. Breathing was not something we were going to mess with. I wanted to tell the doctor, "Look, I know you are wondering what the heck I am doing here, but my other son died and I can't do that again. I can't take a chance right now, in the stage of my grief that my other child is fine." We needed validation and someone else to tell us it was going to be okay.
I am not mad at myself for going last night. I am glad I went to urgent care, got Parker more comfortable and made it so Andrew and I could get some sleep last night. And I know I won't always be like this and I am thankful that my anxiety was only being tested with a nasty little virus and not something very serious. But sometimes I still get irritated at the fact that after dealing with the loss of my child I am utterly aware that bad things do happen, no matter who you are. I enjoyed my blissful ignorance in the previous life I lived. But right now playing it safe and getting some sort of validation from a medical professional that Parker was fine was what I needed in order to feel at ease. It's not that I doubt my intuition as a mother, rather that I knew what it was and needed to know that I was right and not wrong. I was so convinced that Max was fine, only to find out that I was terribly wrong. I need to prove to myself sometimes that my mom intuition does work.
Sure enough Parker is going to be just fine. He even slept comfortably for the rest of the night (even thought I checked on him a few times--just in case).
After all, it was croup, and I knew it.