I'm posting this just in case it is any use to any other mother on this board who looks things up because she has a baby with a cough that develops in this way and is wondering whether it is serious or not. As some of you will have picked up from my thread straight after Christmas, Sophie ended up in hospital for 4 days with Bronchiolitis. How that came to be, and the rubbish advice the doctor gave me that any other mother should choose to ignore, should her doctor give it to her, is detailed below, and I hope the rather long story will give you a feeling for why you don't want to get into this situation:-
Sophie caught a cold and had a very hoarse cough and cry with it. Two days later she was taking less milk at mealtimes. Three days later she still had the hoarse cough, still taking less milk, vomitting up her entire feeds and sleeping more than usual. I took her to the GP who 'examined' her without taking her out of her car seat, listened to only the front of her chest and never took her temperature because she said she could tell it was fine as her fontanelle was depressed. She said a 'smoker's cough' was normal for babies and also sicking up feeds with it, so nothing to worry about. She said as long as Sophie was still having wet nappies, no need to worry about reduced feeding. From looking at her she could tell it was just a virus so nothing anyone could do about it.
That night, Sophie slept all the way through the night without waking for a feed, which pleased DP but worried me. She was 'blowing bubbles' at the mouth all the time.
The following day Sophie was still taking very little milk and stopped feeding completely from 10am onwards. By the afternoon she was grunting as she breathed. I got an emergency appointment with a differerent GP who listened to her chest front and back and said it was completely congested, took her temperature and said it was raised and then told me to go home, pack an overnight bag for me and Sophie and then take her straight to the hospital. As I drove there Sophie started making a high pitched cry, in between the grunting. I was terrified she was going to die before I got her to the hospital and kept telling her to 'hold on Sophie, mummy's going to get you help' over and over again like a mad woman as I drove her there.
I virtually ran down the hospital corridors with her in her car seat. The GP had rung ahead and when I got to the children's ward reception the on-call paediatrician was waiting for me and took Sophie straight into a room where she put an oxygen mask on her face. The paediatrician said Sophie was very poorly due to lack of fluids and had bronchiolitis which was stopping her getting enough oxygen in her blood. She was put in an oxygen tank to help her breath and given an intravenous drip for fluids. The paediatrician later told us that when she got home that night she rang back in to the ward to check how Sophie was, because she was so worried about her.
I spent the night on a pull out bed next to Sophie's oxygen tank at the hospital and it was hideous, with alarms constantly going off as her breathing or pulse went wrong and her temperature soaring and dropping. At 3am a consultant told me a blood test had suggested Sophie had a bacterial infection, so she was started on intravenous antibiotics as well - another machine to terrify me as it sounded its alarms when it blocked up and ran out.
The next night I asked DP to do the overnight stay at the hospital because even though it would be awful not being there and knowing how she was I felt my nerves couldn't cope with another night like the previous one - I was so sensitised by listening out constantly for the alarms on Sophie's monitoring equipment that even the 'ting' of the microwave oven and the 'bing' of the pc made me jump out of my skin. I had even had a dream the previous night that had Bruce Forsyth in it (mercifully he was only talking to me) which I took to be the sign of a very disturbed mind indeed. It was awful being home that night and seeing Sophie's empty moses basket, but I slept well and awoke the next morning to the sound of a text message arriving from DP on the mobile phone I had slept with next to my bed. He said Sophie had turned the corner in the early hours of the morning and was breathing without oxygen and was off the drip and bottle feeding. She was kept
in another night and then released with a seven day course of antibiotics. She seems fully recovered now.
The lessons I have learned from this are:-
1) The fontanelle can be depressed even when the baby has a high temperature, if the baby is dehydrated.
2) A baby can be dangerously dehydrated even if the nappies are still wet when you change it - Sophie's nappies still had a wee in them, they just weren't sodden any more.
3) Apparently the blowing bubbles all the time is a classic sign of bronchiolitis.
4) Whilst they can't 'cure' a virus, if your child is very sick with one then other support can be given, like oxygen and IV drip, to basically keep them alive until their body fights off the virus itself, so the 'it's a virus, nothing can be done' line, is misleading.
5) Bronchiolitis tends to affect babies worst who are aged six months and under and is common in the winter and more likely to be serious for babies born early
6) Whilst babies born 3 weeks early are considered 'full term' they are vulnerable to the illnesses that more premature babies suffer from, so you need to keep that in mind, because the medical profession doesn't always do so.
Me 44, DP 40, DS born August 2008. M/C July 2009. DD born October 2011. sometimes dreams really do come true