Monday, January 30, 2012

Were We Overreacting?

What started off as a very normal Sunday afternoon turned in to anything but.  The girls all had their late-morning bottles and were getting some good shut-eye in separate rooms during their afternoon nap.  Maddy was the last to wake and we soon found out why.

Now, Maddy is normally a little fussy when she wakes up because she's not one to let anything come between her and her bottle.  Today was different, however.  I didn't notice it at first because she was wrapped in a blanket, but she was hot.  I'm not talking warm-from-a-nap-because-I-was-cuddle-wrapped-so-nicely warm, but hot.  I changed her diaper which, usually, gets her excited because she knows a bottle isn't too far off in the distance.  Instead, she proceeded to grunt continuously.  It wasn't a heavy grunt, but a bunch of little subtle grunts, strung together at the end of every breath.  It was very un-Maddy-like, which was our first clue something was wrong.  Our Ped always tell us ignore half of what you hear and pay attention to what you see.  Well, we saw a baby that was in obvious discomfort.  All was soon verified by 102.6F degree temperature.

We called our pediatrician and, fortunately, while we expected to get through to their after-hours call service, were pleasantly surprised to actually hear our doc's voice on the other end of the line.  He prescribed 2.5ml of children's tylenol (the new packaging) every four hours.  He also told us to count her breaths.  If it was over 60, then there was probably reason for concern.  At one point, she was up to 78 and it seemed a little labored.  Of course, he couldn't diagnose it as RSV over the phone, as there are dozens of cold viruses out there, but he did seemed concerned.

Several hours later, her fever was gone and she was exhausted.  Her temperature was down to a much more pleasant 97.6F and her respirations were down to 37/min.  Still, our concern with RSV didn't end just because her fever had broken.  We knew with our preemie girls that contracting RSV could pose some serious risk to their short- and long-term health and could escalate quickly if, indeed, that's what she had.  We wondered if we were overreacting in considering whether we should take her to the ER.  In the end, our answer to that question was, "Who cares?"  This is the first time any of our girls have been sick since they've left the NICU and we're in prime RSV season.  Better safe than sorry with RSV.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I was reluctant, at first, to taking her to the NICU.  She seemed like she was recovering from whatever had caused her discomfort several hours earlier.  However, I did come around, especially when I thought about how bad I would feel if she did have RSV and we delayed taking her because of me.

We asked Mandi, who helps us out on weeknights, to come over a little early so she could take care of Izzy and Sophie.  We packed up the triplet trolley and rolled in to the Edward ER.  It was a little different than the 1000 times we parked in the parking lot so we could visit the NICU.  This time, we used the entrance for "special" guests.  There was no wait and with a little coaching from Melissa, NICU nurse turned friend, we talked them in to taking us directly back to our own room to avoid any unnecessary contact with additional germs.  What has more germs than a hospital, right?  Well, possibly, an elementary school I guess.

An unsuspecting Madelyn, enjoying getting out of the house

The ER doc, checking to make sure she didn't have an ear infection

So, they didn't actually test for RSV because they didn't hear anything in her lungs and her respiratory rate was in a good range.  The issue with RSV is it can turn into bronchiolitis and affect her lungs. That's what is dangerous.  She does have a virus and RSV or not, it has to take its course.  Right now, it's just a runny nose and fever, but it could migrate to the lungs over time. We have to hope that doesn't happen and that the others don't get it.  The doc said they probably would, but gave us pointers to try to prevent it.  Maddy should be better in 14 days or less, though I'm not sure she'll ever recover from the trauma induced by the saline and mega-booger sucker!

Maddy, thinking the worst was over

In the end, the visit to the ER put our minds at ease, at least temporarily.  It netted out to be a $100 saline administration and booger-sucking lesson.  As a bonus, we got to leave with a screaming baby.

Mom, consoling a very upset daughter


  1. Hi, Megan & Jeremy--just found your blog via another trip mom on FB. I, too, have triplet girls (mine are fraternal and 3 1/2 years old), and can honestly say I am happy to be out of the RSV major freak-out times. You definitely did NOT overreact. Those little grunts you were hearing could easily have been her having some wheezing and distress, and having that checked out is never a bad thing. I hope Maddy recovers quickly and your other cuties stay well :)

  2. Speaking as a mom of triplets who DID have a daughter with RSV (though she was 15 months at the time), going to the ER for peace of mind is definitely worth it. I had a doctor in my pediatrician's practice tell me I was overreacting over the phone when my daughter was struggling to breathe, even with nebulizer treatments. I took her into the ER and her pulsox was 82. Yeah. Turned out she had RSV (insurance hadn't covered Synagis the second year!!) and she ended up spending a few days in the hospital. Fortunately, she ended up doing just fine in the end, but it was really, really scary. She wasn't nearly as premature as yours were (33 weeks), but she's been the most susceptible of my triplets to problems (she came home on a heart monitor, has had lung issues since birth, is the slowest to recover from any illness, etc). You can never be too careful.

  3. always go with your gut. always. screw what the doctors may "think" of you.

  4. you did the right thing!! my micropreemie was just hospitalized twice in one week due to RSV! always go with your gut and like you said, who cares! better safe than sorry!

  5. You didn't over react at all!!! The first time my boys got colds at 6 months, we were out of town. They hadn't been sleeping or eating well & then all 3 woke up in the middle of the night all congested with runny noses & struggling to breath. I called the on call doctor (which happened to be our pediatrician that night) & asked if we needed to come in. She did want to see them as soon as we got back into town... well we packed up right then & headed 7 hours back home!!! They didn't even have fevers but I think the first time they get sick & they are preemies (my guys came at 29 weeks) you worry it could be RSV & don't want to take any chances. My guys recently caught colds again & 2 of them developed ear infections. I don't care what anyone thinks, at this age & during cold & flu season, I'm taking them to the doctor... every time!!!