OK, maybe now we are shooting for a day without a doctor's visit.
Claire went to the pediatrician yesterday morning, who diagnosed her with bronchiolitis, as expected. Slightly more worrying was the fact that she had lost six ounces in two weeks, and her diaper count was getting a little bit low. She was down to 12 lbs 14 oz, which isn't exactly great for a seven-plus-month-old. It was particularly upsetting because we got weighed right after a cute baby who was there for his four-month checkup. The balance scale showed me that that baby, three months younger than my daughter, outweighed her by almost a pound, and it's not like he was fat.
As background, at their six-month checkup on March 7, Claire weighed 12 lbs even (Katherine was 13 lbs 8 oz). She is a delicate little thing, and has always hovered around the 3rd percentile, but at 12 lbs, she had fallen off the bottom of the chart. The pediatrician and I discussed it, and we're both pretty sure it's not a milk supply issue, given how well Katherine is gaining. Perhaps she just doesn't nurse enough or as effectively, and it's true that she is a very active baby. In any case, the doctor wanted me to start supplementing her with solids, which we did, and to come back for a weight check in a month. When I took Katherine in for her second bronchiolits visit on April 2, I popped Claire on the scale just to check, and was pleased to see that she was 13 lbs 4 oz, surpassing the pediatrician's goal of 13 lbs. After the weight-loss issues of the early days, I definitely feel like a failure if my babies aren't gaining adequately; but more importantly, with that kind of a loss, you start to wonder if she's getting dehydrated.
The pediatrician thought Claire was wheezing and seemed unhappy, but that she wasn't seriously ill. She prescribed breathing treatments for her, which I had already started anyway, and recommended that I nurse as much as possible and bring her back if she seemed worse. I did just that for the rest of the day, and while I didn't see much improvement in her, she didn't deteriorate either. She coughed in her sleep a good bit again, but was always back asleep by the time I'd make it upstairs to check on her.
When I went in to pick her up this morning, she sounded just horrible, like she was drowning in her own lungs. I brought her downstairs and nursed her, and halfway through, she started coughing so hard that she vomited. I gave her a breathing treatment and nursed her again, and she had another coughing fit and lost most of that. She wasn't acting like she was in serious trouble -- she was responsive and alert, although she definitely was cranky and miserable -- but we went back to the doctor, just in case.
The fill-in pediatrician said that her lungs sounded pretty junked-up, but that overall her respiration is adequate -- she's working a little bit to breathe, but not enough to need supplemental oxygen. She had lost two more ounces, so we talked about dehydration, but her mouth and eyes were still plenty moist, so he recommended just nursing aggressively rather than rehydrating via IV. He gave us an antihistamine/decongestant and oral steroids to supplement the inhaled steroids, and suggested I do breathing treatments of saline solution in between the albuterol/steroid treatments. He said he wanted to see at least three wet diapers in a 24-hour period, and again, bring her back if she seemed worse.
She has not nursed well today, and has been very sleepy -- she had two 30-minute naps in the morning, an hour-plus midday nap, and then a giant three-hour sleep from 2 PM to 5 PM. She's had two wet diapers and a third one that could be generously described as "damp", and that was a cloth diaper, which always feels wetter than a disposable. She nursed a good bit before bedtime, mainly because she was cranky and wanted the comfort, but I'm not sure how much milk she really took in. We'll see what her morning diaper looks like, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if we go back in tomorrow to check her hydration level and her weight.
I'm very worried about her, but also, I'm getting frustrated and tired of worrying about my babies' health. Someone has been pretty sick for a solid month now, and the constant anxiety is wearing on me. Plus, on top of everything, G woke up with some sort of gastroenteritis thing on Monday morning, and so I'm nursemaiding him too, because obviously he is languishing on his deathbed. In fairness, he has been running a 101-degree fever, so I don't doubt that he genuinely feels bad, and I'll be pushing him to go to the doctor tomorrow if he's still not any better. (For those of you keeping score at home, that will be at least two visits in one day, since I rescheduled my pulmonary function tests to tomorrow so that I could take Claire in today. Hey, if Claire has to go back, that'll be three separate doctors in one day! Aaaagh!)
Still, I'm a little less sympathetic when I'm spending all my breaks from giving the babies nebulizers and meds and nursings by turning the fan off and on, fetching glasses of sprite, making soup, bringing blankets and fluffing pillows, and so forth. If the babies weren't sick, I'd have more energy to worry about G, but as it is I've had to fight the urge to tell him to take care of himself a little bit. After all, I have to do exactly that when it's me who's ill -- he takes great care of me when he's home, but while he's at work, I still have to manage myself and the babies. I have managed to bite my tongue thus far, though, because it's not his fault I'm burned out from sick babies. I did flat-out refuse to go to the grocery store and buy chicken soup at 11:30 PM, but then I made him buttered noodles instead, so I think I earned a few good-wife points back.
He's asleep now, so I can go back to spending all my energy worrying about Claire. She's only had one coughing fit in the three hours she's been asleep, and has passed her is-she-still-breathing checks with flying colors. I'm hoping hoping hoping she is better tomorrow.