Mama’s Life: The truth about croup

Hi! Long time, no see! Whenever I desert you for more than about three days, I start feeling guilty. I know, I know, your life be-bops along just fine without my injections of ramblings, but I know your minds must be racing with what’s happening in my life since you haven’t heard from me in five whole days! Apparently, yes, I am that self-centered.

Well, to be honest, most of what’s been happening under our little, ranch-style roof can be summed up in one word: Croup.

At my cousin’s wedding. Croup-y Olivia was trying SO hard to have fun, but was struggling a bit.

It all started when George woke up last Tuesday morning around 2:30 a.m., struggling to breathe and hacking up a lung (not literally, obvs). It was really sad, y’all. I threw on appropriate clothing, stuffed random items in a bag (I ended up with snacks, phone charger, two jackets for George, and a book for me. You know, in case I had some downtime when I wasn’t having to entertain a toddler. Eye roll for my 3 a.m. logic), and took him to the ER. They gave him a crushed steroid pill in some Gatorade and a dash of ibuprofen and sent us on our way. He has perked up since.

Silver lining: The nasty cough has given him plenty of practice in “cover your mouth!” So now, he won’t necessarily sneeze or cough in your face, but through his fingers, then into your face. Progress!

As to Olivia’s story–y’all, I saw the germ transfer happen. When I was at the ER with George, the nurse joked how I needed to keep George from kissing Olivia while he was contagious. I laughed and told her how that wouldn’t be a problem since they aren’t really that close (yet! maybe someday!). Well, the next day, I took them to the grocery store. They were sharing a race-car cart. Suddenly, George decided to be super sweet, leaned over to hug Olivia, and kissed her square on the mouth (his little “kissing” sound comes after he actually makes contact, which I think is precious). It was one of those, “aww! Wait! Oh crap! No! Why are you doing that for the first time ever when you have a contagious illness?!” moments. I couldn’t exactly yell at him for kissing his baby sister. Sigh.

And now, five days later, we’re wrapping up Olivia’s bout with the barky beast. That cough is just so pitiful coming from a tiny body. She hacks and hacks and wheezes, then looks at me like, “Mama! Why is my body hurting me?” Heartbreaking.


She took her very first steps on Sunday! Of course, she had my phone in her hand when she did it, so I can’t visually prove it to you. But it happened! And there were witnesses! Precious baby girl.

So, with croup going around, here are a few words of wisdom from my house to yours.

  1. Marry a man whose mother is a nurse (she diagnosed croup from 500 miles away at 3 a.m. over speakerphone. Boom.).
  2. If you’re already married and your mother-in-law is not a nurse, stay married, but talk to a nurse friend.
  3. If you don’t already have a nurse friend, they seem to like to hang around hospitals. Therefore, if you loiter around a hospital long enough, you should eventually be able to find a nurse friend, preferably peds.
  4. If it’s a cold outside, the wheezy cough/breathing will get better, so the hospital doc may not believe that it’s actually croup.
  5. If the doc doesn’t believe it’s croup but your nurse mother-in-law called it, press the issue. Perhaps an older, wiser doc will come in next and diagnose it from the doorway.
  6. Beware that cool-mist humidifiers may seem to do absolutely nothing except get your baby, crib, and sheets wet.
  7. Live somewhere cold enough to help baby’s constricted airways relax in the cold air (i.e. not Florida!).
  8. Google some, but not too much.
  9. Get sleep now so you can survive without sleep during croup week.
  10. Rejoice that croup doesn’t seem to affect adults (praise JESUS!).

Stay well, everyone!

For more Mama, follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

Published by Christine Boatwright

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