A new baby is such an exciting time for the entire family. My older two children were 3 and 2 years old when Adam was born, so while they may not have fully understood the entire pregnancy journey… they were thrilled to have a new sibling coming home from the hospital!

Adam was born full-term and weighed a whopping 9 lbs. 8 oz. at birth. We thought everything with him was perfectly normal, until he was diagnosed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) at 6 weeks old.

It was a terrifying time for our entire family as Adam was admitted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for several days. He was hooked up to breathing machines and oxygen as he fought for his little life.

During that time, Luke and Eden didn’t visit him at the hospital. We made that decision because we knew Adam would be coming home soon and seeing him in the hospital would be such a difficult thing to explain to them. I fully understand that is not reality for all families, as the older children will spend a lot of time in the ICU or NICU.

Many of the questions we were faced with: Why is our baby brother in the hospital again? What’s wrong with him? When will he come home? When can we hold him again? Am I as important as the baby?

I wish there was a simple way to explain what was happening to Adam, but my husband and I had to rely on simple conversation to try to answer their questions to our best ability.

I recently attended a summit with the National Coalition for Infant Health in Washington, DC where parents, physicians, researchers and other advocates gathered to discuss all aspects of infant health. A lot of the conversations spotlighted preemies and what life is like in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

It’s at this summit that I learned about a wonderful organization that is working hard on providing resources for families, teachers and parenting professions. Platypus Media‘s goals are relatively simple. They are educating adults and children about the world around them. They publish books that foster warmth, closeness, literacy, curiosity, and an openness to other cultures. Specifically, they have two products to support siblings of children in the NICU–both are coloring books, a format that keeps young kids involved while they learn. One of the coloring books my children love: Come Home Soon Baby Brother/Sister!

The coloring book does a fantastic job explaining to older siblings why their baby brother or sister is in the NICU. The short story follows an older sibling’s journey at the hospital as he explains to the reader what is happening to his baby brother/sister. The child then encourages the reader to draw a picture of him/her for the baby at the NICU. It challenges the reader to think outside of the box and focus on the health and safety of their baby sibling. It’s also important for the older children to know they are just as important and just as loved as the sick baby, even though mom and dad are spending a lot of time at the hospital.

I really wish I had these coloring books when Adam was in the ICU at Children’s Hospital. Even though the books focus on the NICU, I think they are extremely valuable resources for any family with a small child in the hospital.

You can purchase any of Platypus’s Books on their website, here! They are also available in Spanish.

*The post is sponsored by Platypus Media. All opinions are my own.*

Come Home Soon, Baby Brother! (Platypus Media)

It’s always such an honor to be recognized by any publication for our family’s efforts to raise awareness around Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). But to be featured by Scary Mommy is kind of like the Chip and Joanna Gaines of mom publications.

I was interviewed by one of Scary Mommy’s staff writers a couple of weeks ago and then our story was published last week while we were on vacation. We are in the height of RSV season, and Adam is actually sick with a respiratory virus as I type this. It’s so pitiful. But to know his story is helping others warms my heart.

I’ve had about a half-dozen moms reach out to me during the last couple of weeks about their child’s recent diagnosis with RSV. They would not have known what to look for if it wasn’t for Adam’s story!!!! I tear up every time I think about the lives our son is saving.

So thank you, thank you, thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for listening to our words and sharing our story.

Here is Scary Mommy’s recent publication:

https://www.scarymommy.com/espiratory-syncytial-virus-rsv/PicMonkey-Image7

I haven’t blogged in a bit, and I’m sorry for that. School started a few weeks ago for both my older children. With school started soccer, ballet, tap and a boatload of new germs.

Last week, we spent two days at Nationwide Children’s Hospital with my oldest son who contracted a scary Respiratory Virus. If you’re a parent, you probably hate the word “virus” as much as I do. You already understand when a doctor utters the first syllable it means there really isn’t an easy treatment for your child. Luckily, and unluckily that wasn’t the case for Luke last week.

Our family went to our local swimming pool along with every other family in the entire city on Labor Day. That evening we went to my parent’s house for a cookout and Luke played golf with his dad…. all was perfectly fine!

Around 4 AM, Luke came to my room complaining he couldn’t breathe and he felt like he was going to throw up. I took him to the bathroom, he seemed fine, so I went back to bed with him. I didn’t notice labored breathing then… it was 4 AM, dark and we were both groggy.

The next day Luke spent his time on the couch watching movies and napping, which is very unlike him. I noticed his breathing was fast and labored, so I called his doctor. The after-hours clinic asked us to come into a children’s urgent care where his breathing was monitored. The physician there advised us to rush him to Nationwide Children’s Hospital… or he was going to call a squad. I’m awake now!

After a very long and quite uncomfortable wait in the ER waiting room, we were finally seen by doctors around 2:30 AM. He was immediately hooked up to an IV, injected with steroids and the breathing treatments began. Doctors decided to move him to a room and admit him after his breathing wasn’t slowing down and his heart rate was through the roof. It was pretty frightening, if I’m being completely honest.

Luke underwent several breathing treatments, every 2 hours and then every 4 hours the entire next day. The doctors were sure he would need to stay another night, but Luke started to improve rapidly and was reacting great to the treatments so we were able to go home the next evening. Armed with medicine and breathing treatments.

A week later, Luke is completely back to normal. He has been in school all week, had swimming last night and a soccer game this weekend. Back to normal for us all, and keeping our fingers crossed we can skip out on a couple of rounds of sickness in our near future.

Here are some things I learned:

  • A child’s breathing should be anywhere between 20-30 breaths per minute to be considered normal. Luke was at 72 breaths per minute.
  • Follow your mama gut. I should have taken him to the doctor much earlier in the day to avoid urgent-care and perhaps crazy long waits in the ER, but I didn’t. I should have listened to my mama gut much earlier.
  • Respiratory season is starting early this year. The doctors at the hospital told me when school started, the school bus basically dropped off busloads of children to the hospital for respiratory viruses.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS! I make my children wash their hands first thing when they get home or get in the car from school. Even if it’s using anti-bacterial soap as we drive down the road.
  • If your child is sick, please keep them at home. I completely understand this is super easy for a stay at home mom (or work from home mom) to say, but some children (like my boys) are very prone to contracting respiratory viruses and it’s dangerous for them. I know there are millions of other children like mine, and children who even fair even worse than a couple of nights at the hospital.

*special thanks for the wonderful team of doctors at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for taking care of our Luke.*

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Can I be completely honest here? I am beyond terrified of what is to come in the coming days.

I’m not talking about the huge responsibility of raising three hood rats, 3 years old and under. I’m not talking about the constant crying, challenging feedings or sleepless nights newborns graciously come equipped with. I feel like all that will come back like riding a bike. Naive? Perhaps. Optimistic? I’d say.

What I am terrified of is Labor and Delivery. Anyone who says it’s easy, I’m eye rolling you right now. This is the fear that keeps me up at night. Nightmares. Night sweats. I am more horrified of labor and delivery than I am to see how this election season unfolds. Selfish? Obviously.

Historically, epidurals have not worked in my favor. I attempted one with Luke and after 7 boosts, the hospital staff gave up. He was going to be delivered naturally with no drugs. 12 hours of labor and 3.5 hours of pushing. Hell. Homeboy had a big head.

Eden came so quickly. By the time we were set to go to the hospital I was in full blown, want to blow my brains out, labor. 9.5 centimeters dilated by the time I got checked into hospital. Nurses asking me questions about allergies and I was screaming there was a baby about to fall out! Eden was born within 45 minutes. No drugs. Hell. But it went so fast.

That’s the thing about babies. All of them are different. All deliveries are different. This one will be different than the other two…but that doesn’t calm my fears. Sweating in the middle of the night from anxiety/being the size of Shamu is causing restless nights.

My husband and I have talked ad nauseum about how we can make this one easier, but in the heat of it there is really nothing you can do but pray to get through it all alive! And to deliver a healthy baby.

I’d love some help/support/kick in the a**. What about you mamas? Anyone out there choose to not have an epidural (or perhaps they don’t work)? What do you do? What helps? I know breathing techniques, and I know there is no perfect answer. However, any advice is G R E A T L Y appreciated!!

Signed,

A very honest/tired/scared/nervous/sweaty/Shamu mama