...RSV--otherwise known as respiratory syncytial virus--and it is cause for postponing today's "R" picture. Poor sweet Addie evidently picked up the virus last week sometime, and by Thursday night had a full-on case of bronchiolitis (diagnosed by her pediatrician on Friday morning).
Because Addie is a generally happy baby, it was very obvious she wasn't feeling well. She didn't want to eat, could hardly sleep, and around 1 am Friday morning I found myself sitting on the steps outside our front door, holding a feverish baby struggling to breathe.
Anyone who has held a child who's fighting for each breath can tell you it's one of the most agonizing things ever. Ever.
I held her that night, counting her breaths. I watched her chest rise and fall--52, 53, 54, 55, 56--and could feel myself holding my own breath--57, 58, 59, 60. And then the minute would start over.
More than 60 breaths in a minute meant I needed to call 911.
She was close, but she kept it at 60 or under. In between the moments of listening to her breathe, I listened to the night sounds. I heard frogs croaking, heard the far-off sound of traffic crossing the Salmon Creek bridge. I heard tree needles fall onto the carport roof.
It was a quiet night, except for the labored breaths, except for the cry of pain after a cough.
That night there was no rest for the weary or the worried, but eventually morning came and with it an open doctor's office which gave Addie a breathing treatment and a prescription for an inhaler (with a special breathing tube that allows babies to breathe in the medication from the inhaler). Jason took the day off from work to watch over Jules--also sick--and allow me to nap when I could.
Friday night found Addie and I on the outside steps again, intermittently sleeping. We alternated between sleeping outside and sleeping on the bathroom floor as a hot shower filled the room with steam.
Again the quiet night. Again the coughs and wheezes. Again the frogs.
Yesterday and today, Addie has improved. She smiled this morning after a night spent entirely indoors, in bed. A good sign.
My arms and shoulders and neck ache, and I'm coming down with something myself, but it's okay. It's okay because we're okay.
We're all breathing at a normal rate, and for that I'm grateful.