Just breathe.

This winter vacation was perfect. It didn’t snow, and we didn’t go to the Caribbean, and Jeff and I didn’t even go on a single date. But we ate lots of good food, saw our friends, played with our boys and loved on each other.

The last day of our Christmas vacation together didn’t do the two weeks justice. At all. And that’s because of our little love, Arthur, or should I say because of his lungs. He was fine for most of the day. We did some art and practiced somersaults.

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We ate pancakes at the diner and took extended naps. And then Arthur woke up and had a cold. Runny nose, a cough. Not much else. No fever. Come bedtime there is some wheezing. At 10pm we can hear him through the door and over the noise machine, just working to breathe. He’s making a weird clacking sound with every breath and is really working hard. I can see it on his neck and chest and belly. He is panting like someone who just ran a marathon. My baby.

So in his Christmas pajamas I wrapped him up in a blanket and the Ergo and we rushed off to urgent care. A place I had never been to before and don’t care to go to again, although it was so perfectly pleasant, and everyone was so nice and kind. And there was a giant F train painted on the wall. Arthur hadn’t given anything a second glance in hours, but when he saw this, he almost flipped!

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They took good care of him. He got some steroids and a nebulizer treatment, and his breathing finally calmed down. The doctor came in and sat with us for a while, Arthur sleeping in my arms, and we both listened to his breathing. The doctor confided in me that when we first arrived, she was “really, really scared” for us and didn’t think we would be going home that night. She was positive Arthur would have to be observed in the ER. But he turned a corner, just as quickly as this all came over him in the first place.

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Today he’s been fine. More doctors, more nebulizer, more steroids. We’re looking at a milder version of steroids for months.

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And, I mean, here I am, some Brooklyn mama who feeds her kids spinach and chia and organic chicken. With a side of steroids. I know it’s not the kind that will cause personality changes or blurred vision or stomach bleeding, but it’s still something that I wish we could do without. But my boy is telling me differently. Seeing him laboring so hard to do the simplest of things, breathe, was heartbreaking. I’ve never felt this mix of panic and calm in my life before. Panic because this is terrifying. Panic because his chest keeps rising and rising and he is making sounds no kid should make. And calm because there is nothing else to be. If I’m not calm, who is. Jeff and I were both very matter of fact. Take the baby, get a cab, let’s get this fixed.

In the end, we are fine. Arthur is fine. We live in a place where every treatment is available to him. And not that we need any excuses, but we will make sure to love on him some extra.

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