You always know it’s inevitable but when it hits that never makes it any easier. The first time my babies got sick they were four months old and it was two and a half weeks until Christmas. I had just had a visit from my in home nurse and she told me that it was bound to happen that the babies would get sick. Not that I thought we would be immune but we don’t get out of the house very often. It was not a couple of days later, it was a Saturday, and we were headed to the grocery store when I heard Noah coughing. It started off as a dry cough and it was pretty persistent. Now before you judge me I am a first time mom and my husband is just as neurotic as I am (if not more) and we called the pediatrician’s office. They are open Saturdays and we wanted to make sure that there was nothing in particular we should look for as the weekend went on. They told us the usual, watch for temperature and signs of dehydration. We had each other convinced that it was probably just a cough, maybe their room was dry and it was fine even though deep down I knew he was sick. As the day went on his cough got worse. We made sure to go out and get a cool mist humidifier, Safety First Humidifier. However, let me take a second to say make sure you go online and read reviews before you buy a product like this. I wish we would have. Last February we had a house fire, so you would think that we would be more cautious. About a month and a half after purchasing this humidifier, I went into the boys’ room to get them up and the front of their dresser was ruined and wet. The humidifier had leaked all over the front of the dresser. This is a huge fire hazard. In defense of the company I did contact them and they offered to rectify the situation including replacing the dresser. However, I did not take them up on their offer. The manufacturer of the dresser sent out new drawer fronts and I decided I did not want this humidifier. The reviews were really bad and quite frankly scary. So, I ordered a Honeywell Cool Mist Humidifier and it works much better and is easier to change the water/clean.
As the next couple days went on Noah’s cough got worse, his nose started running and he wasn’t really interested in eating. I could still get some of his bottle down but he would only eat three or four ounces and then didn’t want anymore. Before getting sick Noah was Mr. Independent. He didn’t really like to be held, loved attention, but liked being on his own. But he was super clingy while he was sick. He just laid in my arms, pathetically. I loved the baby snuggle time but hated that he was sick. Then on day four he started to wheeze. Then Gabriel started to come down with the cough. I knew it was bound to happen even though deep down I was hoping we would skate by with only one sick bambino. Everyone said that it was normal but it didn’t seem that way. Everyone said it was just a cold and it needed to run its course. But it didn’t feel right. I rather go to the doctor and be wrong than the alternative. So, I made a doctor’s appointment. When I got to the doctor she asked the normal questions: temperature? no. Eating? yes but not like he normally does. Any rashes? no. Then I told her he was wheezing. She looked at me skeptically. I knew she just thought I was being a uber paranoid first time mother. But I knew what was coming from his chest was not normal. So, the doctor listened to his breathing. I will never forget the look on her face. She said, “Wow, you were right. He is wheezing.” I wanted to say imagine that, but I really, really like their doctor. After a full inspection of both bubs. They were diagnosed with bronchiolitis. She did not run a test for RSV but she said it was more than likely caused by that and the treatment would be the same. She sent us home with a nebulizer and we were told to do breathing treatments every four hours. If you have ever done breathing treatments you will understand the dilemma. At first, Noah was so sick he just let it happen but after a while it was like wrestling tiny little alligators. Never underestimate the strength of a four-month old. I got a lot of comments from moms on Facebook. They understood they had sick babies recently. Did they have two sick babies the same age? NO. I appreciate people’s empathy but it gets frustrating when people don’t really understand. I don’t know anyone that has had twins (that are my age). Having two babies sick at the same time is really, really hard. It’s not just that I had two babies that needed breathing treatments. It was that I had two babies that needed me and it was really hard taking care of one, while the other needed snuggles and love. I wanted nothing more than to scoop both up and love on them but it just was not possible. As the days followed, Noah slowly started to show improvement and Gabriel got sicker. He got it worse than Noah did. It was so sad seeing them sick and I felt helpless. I know that most babies that come down with RSV end up in the hospital and I was bound and determined to make sure that didn’t happen. I kept with their feeds every three hours trying to get them to eat even though I am sure they didn’t appreciate my persistence with the bottles. I also made sure I had plenty of saline nose drops and bulb suckers. I made sure to spray their noses with saline and sucked out the snot before every bottles. To this day all they have to do is see the bulb and they start smacking me. But I had to make sure they could breathe.
The poor babies were miserable for well over two weeks and their wheeze stuck around for at least 10-12 days. It was awful. I kept up with their nebulizer treatment until it seemed it was doing them more harm than good (from them fighting with all their might). They also wanted to sleep constantly. I let it happen. Just let them get as much sleep as their little bodies need. They slept through the night while they were sick as well. Which freaked me out . I usually get up to pump anywhere between midnight and 2:00 a.m. every night. I sat in the chair watching the baby monitor and freaking out when I didn’t see them move the whole 15 minutes I pumped. So, every night I would sneak in their room to make sure they were breathing. We also did this after we put them to bed but before we would go to sleep.
I think the biggest thing for new moms to understand is to not underestimate your motherly instincts. I was convinced I didn’t have any until this happened. I knew my baby was not okay before his symptoms had really even got “bad”. People try to tell you everything is all right. I’m not sure if this is because they are trying to reassure you or they think they know better because they have been there. I don’t think anyone means any harm. I just don’t want people to ignore their inner voice telling them something isn’t right. Who cares if you look crazy if you go to the doctor and they are okay. My biggest thing is we don’t have money for more medical bills but the medical bills would have been much more if the babies ended up in the hospital. So, I will gladly take the $25.00 doctor co-pay. Also, while they were sick I didn’t take them out and I didn’t let anyone over. My mother came over to help a couple of days but that was it.
Also, know that the first illness sucks. It sucks really bad, there is no sugar-coating that. But it will pass. Also know that you will probably get sick. My husband and I both came down with colds. It was nothing like they had but I felt like shit. I didn’t even really focus on me at the time. I just pushed through to make sure that they were okay. But try to take care of yourself. Think to that saying of if you are on an airplane do you put on the oxygen mask or do you give it to your kids? You take the oxygen because if you have to take care of yourself in order to save the others. Just know your health is important and others need you. I have a hard time doing that, so I should really follow my own advice. So, with constant feedings, breathing treatments and rest the babies overcame their first illness. It sucked but it’s life and you just push through.