Dear Natalie: Week 11

Dear Natalie,

You’re on the mend now, but it’s been a rough couple of days as we’ve navigated your first cold (or allergies, or run-of-the-mill congestion – we’re not really sure). Whatever the cause, the symptom is clear: you can’t breathe, and it’s heartbreaking to watch.

It’s not so bad during the day, probably because you spend so much time upright in the Ergo carrier or just being held in our arms. But then we put you to bed, and the congestion creeps back in. The soft snuffling and snorting coming from your bouncer (no, we haven’t finished that transition yet; we didn’t want to stress you out while you were sick) becomes more labored, until you suddenly wake up coughing and choking.

Sometimes I’ve been able to hold you tightly against me and sway in the dark until your breathing normalizes before putting you back down without a fuss, since you never completely surfaced from sleep.

Other times you wake up hungry, but can’t nurse and breathe at the same time. Your face scrunches up and you wail in frustration, beating your tiny fists of fury against me, wordlessly (but not soundlessly) begging me to make it all better.

The only solution is one that you really, really hate: saline drops and the Nosefrida. Sometimes even the magical Nosefrida doesn’t work and we have to wait for you to sneeze – that works best of all. I’ve always been terribly grossed out by small children with runny noses, but your dad and I are both overjoyed when you sneeze and ribbons of snot come shooting out your nose, flying clear across the changing table.

I guess it’s a parent thing.

Of course, there are many, many more colds in our future, as well as currently-unforeseen ailments and injuries. That’s all part of  life, and there’s not much I can do to stop it. But know that I will always do my best to make it better – even if it at the time it feels a lot like torture to you.

Love always from the person who cares more about your mucus than anyone in the world,



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