This winter was going along pretty well until very recently Baby Pencil caught RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)! While RSV can be handled pretty easily for older kids and adults, it can be very dangerous for babies under 1 years old. My pediatrician told me that when it came to any type of wheezing or breathing issues for young babies, it’s always best to bring them in just in case.
I first noticed Baby Pencil having a tiny cough that started to turn for the worse. I thought nothing of it since it seemed like a regular cold. She didn’t have a fever and was still eating just fine. However since it was Friday, I dropped by the pediatrician to get a prescription just in case we needed it over the weekend. She listened to her lungs and they seemed fine, but still gave us a prescription of Albuterol just in case we needed to use the nebulizer. I gave her a couple Albuterol treatments over the weekend, but by Sunday afternoon her wheezing was getting much worse. Her breaths started to become faster and drinking from the bottle was starting to get difficult because she couldn’t breathe through her nose. I took her to urgent care, where she was given a steroid shot and another round of Albuterol through the nebulizer. I was sure she was going to respond to at least the steroid shot, but after about 1-2 hours of waiting around she was doing the same. They also took some x-rays to check for pneumonia and swabbed her nose to check if she had the flu. She tested negative for both, but they told us we should admit her to the Emergency Room anyway because of her shallow breathing.
I drove her to the Emergency Room where I was met with a sea of sick people. I was so paranoid about the flu, so I tried looking for a clear corner of the room! After being admitted in the ER, I noticed that her breathing was actually getting better. I think the steroid shot just took a few hours to finally kick in. I really thought they were going to check her out and that we could go home right after. But after another couple hours of waiting and talking to the nurses, they said that we should admit her at least overnight for monitoring. I was totally not prepared at all for this! It seemed like such a small thing – a cough and some wheezing. With the rectal thermometer she did end up having a small fever of about 101. But they really wanted to make sure that she had enough oxygen and didn’t get worse.
I had gone to urgent care at 3:00pm on Sunday, and by the time we got admitted to our hospital room it was 2:00am, Monday morning. Baby Pencil had been pricked, prodded, monitored over and over so many times. She basically didn’t sleep for about 11 hours because someone needed to do something to her. She is usually such an easy baby but she cried so much many times to the point of throwing up! (I don’t blame her!)
Once we were in our own little hospital room, things went along more smoothly. Her oxygen was being monitored and mucus was suctioned out of her nose every so often. She was hooked up to an iv, which was pretty horrific for an infant! They strapped a foam board to her arm to make sure it didn’t bend, but I couldn’t imagine it being very comfortable. Since she was hooked on so many wires, it was hard to hold her – let alone feed her! I couldn’t breastfeed her because of the awkward positioning, so I mostly gave her formula bottles or pumped milk. My husband and I had to take turns staying over the night, which was really exhausting. Her oxygen was really low sometimes so they had to put in the nose oxygen mask – another horrible thing for an infant to wear! Nurses came in all through the night and we ended up sharing the room with another family with a 7 month old boy who also had RSV. It seemed that the hospital was pretty full of poor, sick kids!
After a few days, her oxygen levels were getting better and her wheezing had cleared up. She was off the oxygen mask and definitely had no fever. It felt wonderful to go home! Even though the staff was wonderful and understanding, the hospital was the last place I wanted to be with an infant!
Here are some random things I learned about staying at hospitals with young babies:
- Anything related to wheezing or the inability to breathe well – go straight to the ER. (Not urgent care.) It may save you a trip and double waiting time!
- If Albuterol nebulizer treatments aren’t working at home, you may need to get a steroid injection/oral treatment. After that, the Albuterol treatments should have more of an effect.
- This may vary per hospital, but in order to be discharged Baby Pencil had to be off the oxygen machine, have no fever and have better breathing for 24 hours.
- Much like your stay in the hospital after birth, the hospital provided pretty much everything from facial wipes to diapers! It was really nice to have these supplies readily available. Since I was a breastfeeding mom, I even got free hospital food. (Which I kindly rejected, after seeing what it was like!)
I truly hope everyone one can avoid being hospitalized because it’s heartbreaking to see your babies so uncomfortable and upset, but at the same time I was really grateful that they were taking extra precautions to make sure she was recovering well. They take breathing issues seriously for a reason!