Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Buttoning Down the Hatches

Every night, we try something new.

I wish I was referring to our dinner or romance, but, in reality, we just try something, anything to get the baby to least for a couple of hours. I think of those days, when he was not even 2 month old, when I'd say to my mother "Don't tell Maria, but he's sleeping 7 hours at night." Maria, my sister, was still up several times with her own infant son back then.

Now his sleep is restless and fitful. He cries out, often without even opening his eyes. Sometimes we both lay as still as the dead, hoping the other will take pity and be the one to get up to comfort him. Other times, we both jump up, trying to spare the other, pleading with the other to just go back to bed and get a little bit more sleep.

After a quick camera down the nose, the doctor assures us that its nothing of grave concern and not even a surgery is required. We breath a sigh of relief. He continues. But his breathing, that labored rattling and wheezing, that's just his way, at least for now. Expect him to outgrow in another 6 months. He's going to probably keep getting sick and continue to sleep poorly, at least through the winter. Continue the medications and do what you can to make him comfortable. This prognosis is good, we know that. But as we laid in bed last night, our son cuddled up next to us, seeking comfort as he struggled to get a good breath, it was easy to say "Really, this is the best you can do for him? Six more months of this?" The doctor's only advice was, "When people look at your kid funny because he sounds like he's dieing, just tell them to mind their own business. He'll be fine."

The actual diagnosis is tracheomalasia, a floppy trachea. It explains not only the loud, Darth Vader-esque breathing, but also the reflux, developmental delays, possibly the weird Echocardiograms at birth, and even his issues with nursing. Having a definition rather than a bunch of "it could be's" offers its own measure of comfort.

So, at least for now, we'll button down the hatches in hopes of keeping our little flock as healthy as we can. Ella asked yesterday why we don't hibernate like the bears. This winter, we might give it a shot. Minus the part where you get to sleep a lot.

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