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Mommy's Little Panic Attack

Mommy's Little Panic Attack

An unexpected and scary early-morning wake-up call from my baby that left me more than a little shaken.

I love my baby more than words can possibly express…sometimes it can even be a little overwhelming. There is a quote by Elizabeth Stone that says, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

And it couldn’t be more true.

To be a parent is to make yourself truly vulnerable. As a parent we experience so many overwhelmingly happy moments, but there are also moments of overwhelming sadness, fear, and anxiety.

I had one of those fearful/sad/anxious moments a couple mornings ago.

Every morning I wake up at 6 AM, I make my husband a lunch and he makes me a mocha, then I settle in to write until Fern wakes up. She often wakes up around 6:30 for a minute and then falls back asleep until 8:30. But, on this particular morning, the 6:30 marker came and went and still she slept soundly with not a peep on the baby monitor.

Around 7:20 as I was finishing up the last of my coffee, I heard a sharp, loud noise on the monitor. Then I heard it again. Immediately I made the connection between the sound that she was making and the sound I would expect to hear from a baby who wasn’t getting enough air. I practically spilled my coffee as I leaped off the couch and raced to Fern’s room, certain she was choking or worse.

By the time I made it to her room, I was shaking as I scooped her up from her bed where she was standing up, crying, and gasping for air. Tears streamed down my face as I quickly flipped on the light (it was still dark) to assess the situation. When the light switched on, it startled her enough to make her stop crying for a moment, and I realized that what I had heard wasn’t choking. It was a terrible, wheezy sounding cough that had been intensified by her cries. She went to bed feeling perfectly fine, so I definitely wasn’t expecting to wake up to this.

Her poor, little labored breaths were heartbreaking and I immediately remembered all the commercials I’d seen during my pregnancy about whooping cough and began convincing myself that she must have it. She hasn’t been vaccinated for it (that’s a story for another day), so it’s a possibility.

Even though I was still shaky, I calmed down enough to call the advice nurse at her pediatrician’s office and as it was before office hours, they suggested bundling her up to take her outside to breathe in the cold air. I did this and after about 15 minutes she seemed a lot better.

She’s still pretty wheezy, but after researching whooping cough online, and looking up croup, I think that what she has seems more like croup than whooping cough, but it could just be a regular sickness, maybe just different than anything she’s had before. She still has a slight “seal” bark when she coughs, but thankfully it’s getting better. It was definitely a really scary moment for me and not what one looks forward to hearing first thing in the morning.

I’m just happy she’s okay now.

Have you ever had a scary parenting moment? What happened and how did you handle it?

Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on TwitterFacebookPinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.

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