Sunday, 19 February 2012
My First Illness: Bronchiolitis
One afternoon this week I ended up in the Children's A & E. A few weeks ago little Ned picked up a horrible cold which the children had brought home from school and infected us all with. It wasn't really getting better and he started projectile vomiting all his milk. It was really quite dramatic, not just a small amount, literally the entire bottle followed by an enormous amount of slimy mucus. Associated with this was a little cough, like nothing I've ever heard before, really rattly. The problem was that once he started coughing he couldn't stop. Even though I'm used to a child who holds his breath and passes out I found this coughing quite unsettling.
So I took the little fella to the doctors. I am increasingly realising that the doctors (well, ours at least) doesn't actually want to take responsibility for diagnosing small babies and children. Unsurprisingly I found myself referred to the paediatric team via the A & E at the hospital. Off I dashed, slightly panicked only to find myself stuck in a traffic jam on the A1. This was the longest traffic jam I've ever been stuck in and probably the most stressful I will ever be stuck in. I sat there hoping Ned was still breathing, realising how much I really did love him and how much we have bonded. I'm cold hearted, but I nearly cried.
In the hospital there was a dramatic moment when the car seat fell off the pushchair whilst Ned was sitting in it. I thought they might take him off me there and then, but actually the nurses just look concerned for my sanity. After that there was a few hours of monitoring. His oxygen levels going up and down. I felt quite alone and quite scared. There was no cot, I had to hold him or steady him on the bed. This was tiring.
Eventually we were seen by a paediatrician. I had to repeat myself loads of times as she clearly wasn't listening to what I was saying, rather she had her own idea of what I was telling her. After more monitoring it was decided to send us home, with the condition that we should come back at any moment if I felt concerned about him. This was because his oxygen levels were OK (so he didn't need to go in a ventilator) and since he wasn't premature or had a weak heart there isn't a lot else they can do to help.
At the moment Ned is doing well and seems to be on the mend, since life goes on, he is coming out and about with us usually in the baby sling so I can keep a close eye on him. I'm finding the feeding extremely tiring. He has to be fed little and often, if a baby has a full tummy it can compress their lungs and therefore reduce the ability to get oxygen into the blood. I'm concerned he might get into a pattern of feeding like this. I hope not.
Although none of my other children have suffered from Bronchiolitis, I am told that its actually quite common. If you have a young baby or are pregnant I'd urge you to read up on it just so you know and you can spot the symptoms. The NHS page is here.