I actually have it marked on our calendar. It was the first Sunday of the month, and even though my son was fighting his third cold in some odd weeks, my husband and I had taken him outside for some fresh air and to help burn off some of his unending energy. Sutton was all smiles while getting to explore outside, and within an hour we came inside to eat dinner. That's when it started: a dubious cough. Sure he had a cold, but there was something different about this cough. It sounded desperate; raw and booming. It also seemed to come out of nowhere, literally presenting itself in a matter of minutes. I tried not to panic, but I just knew in every cell of my being that something wasn't right. Every time Sutton coughed, in bewilderment, I looked to my husband for answers but he always gave me a reassuring smile. I had seen that smile several times before. That smile had accompanied me as I was wheeled back for the emergency c-section that had birthed our premature son and again one year later for the surgery that resulted in my hysterectomy. Yes, I had seen that sensible smile before, but tonight it was not doing the trick. In an attempt to keep calm, I busied myself with preparing dinner but inside my anxiety was growing. Call it intuition, but a mother always knows. I barely got dinner on the table when my husband looked at me flatly said, "We're taking him." I knew exactly what he meant. I hurriedly threw a few things in my purse, scooped up Sutton and we ran out the door.
Upon release from the hospital, we went home to get some rest and start Sutton's breathing treatments at home, but within a few hours we were at our pediatrician's office. The good news is we had a diagnosis: Reactive Airway Disease. The bad news: it's a touch and go disease with unspecific implications. Will it develop into asthma? Is it intrinsic or is it allergies? Right now there is no way of telling. Since that night we have done Albuterol breathing treatments three times a day (t.i.d.), Flovent airway treatments twice a day and have given our son steroids and allergy medication daily. If any part of us as parents had learned to relax these past three years, it was instantly erased as we have reverted right back to "preemie mode."
We are back to checking our son multiple times a night to make sure he is breathing.
We are back to bringing all but the kitchen sink when we step foot outside of our home.
We are back to doctor appointments, follow-ups and phone calls for the smallest of concerns.
We are back to not knowing what the end result will be.
Because of these unexpected circumstances, we have had to make some heartbreaking decisions. Sutton was withdrawn from preschool and now spends days at home with me. I have put my professional career and aspirations on hold to care for and educate my son at home so he can be in a safe environment while he gets his lung strength back. I have questioned myself in these past few days and wondered if we made the right decision. Sutton was ready to go to Pre-K4 in the fall, but now it looks like we will be starting from square one come August. In the meantime, we're taking it one day at a time and adjusting to our new normal. Things have definitely changed in the Lubin household, but in this season of renewal, my hope for this family is to grow in faith, strength and wisdom.