When you have a baby, you spend a lot of time thinking about their “firsts.” First tooth, first word, first step…all the first milestones that you look forward to and celebrate. But, unfortunately, life is filled with other “firsts.” First broken bone, first heart break, first ER visit….These are the firsts that we hope our children are able to avoid and the firsts that break our hearts when they regrettably happen despite our best intentions otherwise.

Saturday night (well, technically very early Sunday morning) we experienced two horrible firsts; the first time my heart stopped in complete and utter panic and our first ER visit with Leah. Backing up, Saturday we had a pretty uneventful day, minus the fact that Brett broke out in a horrible rash due to what we are 99% sure is a mango allergy. We were supposed to have dinner with friends, but as Brett’s rash continued to spread we decided that a quick stop at a CVS to pick up some allergy meds might be a better idea. During the day I noticed that Leah’s nose was a bit runny (but she is teething, so that’s pretty common these days) and she coughed a few times, but her spirit was high and she did not seem to be any different (well, besides the 4 hour morning nap she took, but it was rainy and dark and long naps aren’t that rare for this kid so it didn’t tip me off!)

Fast forward to Saturday night. Talk about a mother’s intuition, but around midnight I shot up in bed in a complete panic, my heart racing. I sat up so fast that I woke up Brett who looked at me with concern and said, “Is everything alright?” I answered “I don’t know..” and sat there for a few minutes, trying to slow my heart rate down. Now sweating, I got out of bed and turned the fan on and then got back into bed and tried to fall back to sleep. I was just dozing off, not 45 minutes later when Brett rushed into our room, Leah in his arms. The sound that was coming out of Leah’s mouth is something I never hope to hear again. She was gasping for air and her eyes were open in a wide panic. I snatched her out of Brett’s arms and tried to get her body to calm. At this point, hearing her gasping and barking cough, I was 99% sure she was having a stridor attack that comes from having a nasty case of croup. However, after what felt like forever (but was probably only 2 minutes) of not being able to get the attack to stop I turned to Brett and said, “We need to get to the ER now.”

This is one of those times, looking back, that I think; “Hey, we are a pretty good team in an emergency situation.” I had never felt this level of panic before, and I don’t think Brett has either, and yet together we stayed relatively calm. Neither of us freaked out, which is rather shocking to me as I tend to be the freak out type. We jumped into action, pulling on whatever clothes were lying around (on a different note, I later asked Brett, “How the heck did I change with Leah still in my arms?” I have no idea how I did this as I have no memory of actually getting dressed…but somehow I managed to calm Leah in my arms while changing into yoga pants and a t-shirt….talk about being in super mom mode). Luckily, we live about .5 seconds from the hospital where I work (literally, as in it’s at the end of our street) and as soon as we ran into the ER waiting room I saw a nurse I knew well (she came to Leah’s baby shower over a year ago!) I walked right over to her and called her name. She took one look at us, heard Leah’s gasping and bark and ushered us right back. A part of me felt a bit guilty at being able to skip what was a very busy waiting room, but the larger part was just feeling thankful for the fact that this nurse whom I knew just happened to be working that night and just happened to be out in the waiting room when we walked in. Within minutes the doctor was in our room, Leah’s attack was coming to an end, meds were given and prescribed, and we were on our way back home. Everything over and done with in a matter of 45 minutes.

So now we’re home with our sick baby who is barking like a seal, but who hasn’t had an attack since Sunday morning, so hopefully we are in the clear. It breaks my heart to hear her cry every time she coughs because I know that deep cough is hurting her little lungs and throat and I am helpless in making her feel better. All I can do is offer unlimited snuggles and cart her around on my hip in a sling, even when my back starts to cry out in protest (this kid is getting heavy!) We’re off to the pediatrician’s office today for a follow-up and hopefully she will be well enough to start her new school tomorrow!

So a “first” was experienced this weekend, one that I hope we never have to repeat. Let’s hope that the next “first” is a positive one. Like maybe a first step?? This kid’s getting pretty darn close!

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