Last year, on January 31st, My Sweet Harper was admitted to the hospital with RSV. She was so tiny, only 5 precious weeks old. RSV is a nasty virus that causes high temps, and severe cold symptoms; with her being so young it made her breathing very labored, and her oxygen levels were low. I took her to Children’s in St. Paul, MN. We were admitted and told that we had probably come through the worst of it, but they’d keep her overnight just to be cautious…we ended up staying for 5 days.
Harper got worse the first night in the hospital, and it was the worst night of my life. It was difficult to feel so helpless as a parent, and protective, and emotional, and alone (my husband was home with our son), I could go on and on. If I close my eyes, I am right back there again.
Harper steadily improved and we were released from the hospital with a still coughing and stuffy daughter. Unfortunately, we returned to the Children’s ER 5 times from February to June for breathing issues. Basically, kids who get RSV so young suffer from asthma (although it’s called RAD [reactive airway disorder] since asthma isn’t diagnosed until age 2). Some grow out of it, and some don’t. We’re hoping Harper will!
I have two reasons for writing today. One, I needed to recognize this day in some form, and two, I wanted to share some advice. I now have a small taste of how life is with a child that has a chronic condition. My son was always “healthy as a horse” as they say, and I really took it for granted. So here comes the advice part:
- Never take your child’s health for granted, good health is a blessing
- If you know someone who has a child with a chronic condition, offer support in any way you can. It’s very stressful. Medications, sleepless nights, doctor visits, doctor bills, etc. It can wear you out!
- Offer support to parents with a hospitalized child-Living in a hospital room is not easy. My husband and I took turns, but also because I was nursing-it was mostly me. We were just not comfortable leaving her alone at all. So if you can offer to bring clothes/toiletries for the parent or child, or a care package with snacks so they can avoid the cafeteria and vending machines.
- Offer to care for their other child(ren)… besides seeing my daughter so sick, it was heart breaking to be away from my son Jack. To know that he was getting extra TLC from family and our daycare provider made me a little more at ease.
One year later, Harper still gets nebs with even the slightest cold, but she’s grown so strong! We had several doctors tell us that she would still be very sensitive to having respiratory issues for the next 12-18 months, which was true with how many times we were in the ER after her hospitalization. So, we decided it was a good time for me to stay home with our kids to help keep her as healthy as possible. Sometimes, life’s biggest decisions are made for us, we just had to go with it.
Well, staying at home has also led me to some new endeavors, so this is how our life will stay for a while at least-one lucky mama!
(photo by JR Photography, from Harper’s 1 year pictures)
Tracy spends her days being a mommy to Jack (3) and Harper (1), and creating new products for her Etsy shop, Sweet Harper. Her venture as a “stay at home” mom was spurred by her daughter’s hospitalization and subsequent health issues. Tracy enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, drinking coffee, and anything sweet! Tracy can be found on Twitter at @sweetharper or you can see more, including her blog, at www.sweetharper.com.
About Tales From The Crib:
Thought up by Dawana, author of A Bittersweet Existence, as a way to share stories from a variety of Moms in one place regarding the trials and tribulations. A Stay-At-Home Mom herself who often thinks she is losing her mind, Dawana has found a great deal of comfort in the stories from other Moms and wanted to share them all in one place. If you’d like to submit a story, please feel free to email Dawana by clicking here.
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