11 March 2011

Helpless Mommy

I think the worst feeling a parent can have is that of being helpless - at least where your kids are concerned. Today, I felt totally helpless as I watched my little LR struggle to breathe during an asthma attack. Her asthma presents as coughing episodes that just don't quit. After giving her breathing treatments and consulting with the pediatric nurse over the phone, I finally realized that I could not load her into the car in this condition for a drive to the doctor's office. So, I dialed 911 with shaky hands. My fear of being a crazed, overreacting mother was surpassed by my fear watching my daughter unable to draw a breath between coughs. She was shaking herself and looking rather troubled by her current state. Distressed is the term they use and it described not only LR's current state, but mine as well.

The paramedics arrived with the fire department and the police. As I told her story, I broke down, crying. Forgetting for a moment that I had no time for dwelling on the helplessness. It was time to be a hero for LR. The EMT quickly responded by commanding me to look him in the eye and reminding me that LR wouldn't know to be afraid if I didn't act the part. A calm mommy equals a calm baby. I was momentarily embarrassed, but there was no time. I put a smile on my face and started talking to my little Peanut. She calmed noticeably.

After an ambulance ride and her fourth nebulizer of albuterol, we made it to the hospital. LR immediately started to act better, of course, and I questioned myself for being so dramatic, but a short while later, her cough was back and she was struggling to catch her breath. I was back to feeling helpless. She coughed and cried and gagged and looked at me with sad, pleading eyes. And I could do nothing. It is frustrating to be unable to fix it when you're a mommy. That's what we mommies do. We fix things.

We were finally admitted overnight. LR needed to respond to a breathing treatment and not need another one for at least four hours and we were only making it one hour. I must admit that I was oddly relieved that we would be staying. No one wants their baby to stay overnight in the hospital, unless you feel so helpless that you want to be surrounded by people who are not.

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