A few weekends ago, my little family had to take a trip to the ER. The Anh Hai (big brother) was having breathing trouble. It was scary. All day we were monitoring his breathing. We listened to and counted his wheezy breaths, took note of his behavior, and gave him his inhaler treatments. By 11pm, we decided it was time to go to the ER.
It was at that point I learned my first lesson. Both kids need me, sometimes at the same time. With a week old newborn, my husband and I had to decide if I should come with him and Anh Hai to the ER. I’m breastfeeding, which means if I go, Em Gai (little sister) has to go too. It was a tough decision. The hospital ER room was the last place we wanted to bring our newborn daughter. We didn’t want to expose her to any additional germs. I was also recovering from a long labor. Despite those two compelling reasons, it was more important to be there for Anh Hai. We knew the ER would be a scary place for him and the stress could worsen his symptoms.
I learned my second lesson in the ER. I can’t be the main comforter all the time. Having one kid, I was happy to be the Anh Hai’s go to soother. With each boo boo he ran to me instead of his dad. As we sat in the ER room, our daughter sleeping soundly wrapped to me, I could not hold Anh Hai while nurses and doctors examined him. Instead, he had to sit on my husband’s lap. My husband has always been there to sooth our son, but while sitting in the ER I realized I would have to let go of my desire to be the main comforter all the time. With two kids, that role has to be shared more equally and I have to be ok with that.
As the night went on we learned our son would have to be admitted. At that point my adrenalin had run out and exhaustion set in. The third lesson I learned was I need to take care of myself in order to take care of my son and daughter. In the hospital room, once I saw that my son, daughter and husband were all resting, I closed my eyes and slept too. I woke up to the sound of my husband talking to the doctors about our son’s status. I felt so much better having gotten a few hours of sleep, I was more alert and able to care for both kids. Luckily, Anh Hai recovered faster than expected and we got to go home after about 22 hours at the hospital. I am happy to report he is doing much better now.