Wife, mom to two...love chocolate, trendy cupcakes, shoes, hot deals and throwing festive bashes...usually with chocolate.

More from this author »

What’s Wrong With My Son?

My son is ten months old and something isn’t right.

We all know that newborn babies can be noisy.  They snort and grunt, but sometimes they can be so quiet you have to lay your hand on their chest just to make sure that they are still breathing.  This has never really been the case for him.

When he breathes, his chest rattles, and it’s noisy.  The strength of it comes and goes, but it never goes away completely.  At his eight week check-up, I pointed it out to our pediatrician who listened and told me that she thought he had caught on to his ability to make a noise and was continually repeating it.  I was impressed with him for about a day until I realized that it wasn’t going away.

A week later, we brought my daughter in for a check-up, and the attention turned quickly to my son and his breathing.  The doctor was worried that he may be developing pneumonia.  I felt terrible that we had missed it, but with his happy disposition, no other symptoms and his already irregular breathing, I hadn’t realized he was sick.

We stepped up our game after that.  He’s been treated for croup.  He’s been on Albuterol and the insurance company has sent us our very own breathing machine.  He’s been pin-cushioned and tested for a variety of food allergies as well as pet allergies and all blood work has come back negative.  He’s had a chest x-ray.  He’s been to a pulmonologist three times.  He’s been treated for reflux.  He’s been to a gastroenterologist.  He’s changed formulas four different times.  He has two other x-ray orders waiting for him later this week.  He’s seen our doctor for his breathing more than he has for well baby exams.

Everyone thinks he’ll grow out of it.  But the rattling continues and so do the tests.


I worry about him.  I want someone, anyone, to tell me why he sounds like he does.  I appreciate the efforts of the doctors, but we’ve had so many treatment failures that when a new suggestion is made, I have a hard time believing that this will be the ticket.  But I try it anyway.

He brings so much light to our family, and if this is the worst he has to face, I’m so grateful.  There are so many sick children in the world, and I know how lucky we are.  I remind myself every day as I listen to his little rattle that we could be much, much, much worse off.

But I still want to know why he sounds like he does…

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Comments (23)

  1. Erin Oltmanns 06/16/2012 at 9:43 pm

    Yikes! I am so sorry you are going through this. I’ll be thinking of you…please keep us posted.

  2. Michelle Liimatainen 06/16/2012 at 8:16 am

    It’s nerve wracking. First of all, you are the mom and YOU know your baby better than ANYONE…even the Dr.’s that think they know it all. Don’t give up.

    I am the mom of 5. I have seen a LOT! My youngest son was very similar. His chest rattled constantly. Allergy tests came back neg. etc. He was put on Albuterol at 3 months. By the time his first birthday rolled around he had had pneumonia 2x. On his first birthday the Dr. asked if I had a cat. I did. I had 2. He told me to get rid of it. Not just the cat but the carpets, the couches, the beds…everything. It was severely costly. We had tested him. He was negative. We did what he said. Gurgling, STOPPED! Turns out he was and still is deathly allergic to GUINEA PIGS. They have a very similar dander to cats. Cat dander goes everywhere. Hence getting rid of anything fabric the cats slept on.

    He still, at 13, has severe allergies and asthma. He didn’t test positive to anything until he was almost FOUR when a guinea pig almost took his life.

    The other thing I want to mention, I just watched a TV program where the baby had severely gurgled. Turned out, after having a scope put up his nose and in his throat that he had extra *swelling* in his throat. It’s “normal” for some babies. It’s like an extra layer of muscle or something that goes down in time. When the *swelling* goes away the gurgling does too. I would recommend seeing an ENT. It can’t hurt.

    Hang in there. My 2nd son had seizures. NO ONE believed me…not even my own husband. But sure enough every time he went to sleep he woke up violently shaking. My husband believed me when baby woke doing “that thing” as I called it one night and flipped right out of my arms at 8 months old. The bed saved his fall. For 12 months. I fought tooth and nail with people about these sleep episodes. Everyone told me I was CRAZY. That he just woke up funny.

    I took him to the Pedi one day for an ear check. He was sound asleep in his carseat. I carried him in and he was still sleeping laying on the Dr.’s table. Dr. checked his ear and low and behold he did *that thing*. I jumped to grab him and the Dr. made me wait. I cried.

    When the baby was done. My Pedi handed him to me and said “I apologize…you were right and I was wrong, you are not crazy. He is having what we call Rolandic Seizures…they are SLEEP SEIZURES and extremely RARE for an infant/toddler”.

    DON’T GIVE UP! You know your baby best!!!! You are not crazy. Take him to every Dr. you can until someone figures it out and puts your mind at ease.

    I am sorry I wrote a novel. BIG BIG HUGS!!! Feel free to e-mail me at any time. I have been there!!!

    • Shannon 06/18/2012 at 12:26 am

      Thank you so much for sharing your story! It really does help to know that other people have and are going through similar things…I’m going to suggest an ENT at our appointment this week, good idea! I’m going to keep pushing, thanks for the support!

  3. meg 06/15/2012 at 2:53 pm

    Fingers crossed you get an answer soon! So frustrating…will keep coop in my prayers! Xoxo

  4. Erica Fehrman 06/14/2012 at 2:59 pm

    I agree with Rachael on the non-traditional route. I found that traditional medicine tends to divide up the parts of the body and not look at the whole, in addition to thinking of a diagnosis and then fitting your son into those parameters. Non-traditional medicine (I love my naturalpath) will look at the whole body, history, everything, and put it together like a puzzle, and then follow that to a diagnosis. *big hug*

  5. CHeryl 06/14/2012 at 2:21 pm

    Have they checked his adenoids? That is how my son sounded and he would always gag when he ate. Turns out his adenoids were so large that he could barely breathe through his nose at all. Good Luck!

    • Shannon 06/14/2012 at 11:23 pm

      They haven’t! That’s a good suggestion, I’ll be sure to bring it up. Thank you!

  6. Melinda 06/14/2012 at 12:58 pm

    Possibly layrngomalacia. Immature larynx. I have a friend who’s daughter has it and is slowly growing out of it.

    • Shannon 06/14/2012 at 11:24 pm

      That’s a great suggestion. I’m going to do some research on it. Thank you!

    • NK 06/18/2012 at 4:51 pm

      The ENT visit is the way to go. My daughter had laryngomalacia, as well, which resulted in stridor (squeaking during inhalation– she was the cutest squeaky breather ever). Hers was bad enough where she needed to be put on supplemental oxygen (I’m guessing your son’s oxygen levels have been checked on at least one of his doctor’s visits, right? If not, you may want to ask about it), and she had a supraglottoplasty to open up her airway when she was 3 months old. Now she’s five, and she’s just like any other kid. If you end up going to PCMC in Salt Lake, try and see Dr. Marshall Smith (ENT) because he is a fantastic doctor.

  7. Dani Van Voorhis 06/14/2012 at 12:25 pm

    My son has sounded the same way since he was born and it’s because he swallowed fluid when he came out and his lungs have never fully gotten out all of the fluid and partly because of that his nose is full every day. When they do chest xrays have them check his lungs, and just keep his nose cleaned out.

  8. Tracee Sioux 06/14/2012 at 12:21 pm

    Go to a Kinneseologist. They will muscle test your baby and it will give you better information about what is bothering the little one. http://www.kinesiology.net/

    My son had the same thing, it was hay fever, simple allergies.

    Because he was too young to take medicine, I took him to a massage therapist who did 15 minutes of lymph node therapy on him. It worked wonders. I took him once a month or so.

    • Shannon 06/18/2012 at 12:27 am

      This is a great suggestion, and one that hasn’t been brought up. I’m going to check it out, thank you!

  9. LynnS 06/14/2012 at 11:23 am

    Have they checked his heart to make sure it’s pumping efficiently? Sometimes a heart condition can lead to fluid in the lungs causing the “rattling” sound. Another idea is to have him see a pulmonologist asap. I think it would be a relief to you to have more serious disorders ruled out; and, heaven forbid, should they find anything, then at least they’ve diagnosed it early! But I DO think your “mother’s instinct” (i.e. “gut”) is telling you something. I’ve had two nieces diagnosed with serious illnesses and with both of them my sisters had to become fierce advocates (as you are!) and PUSH for answers! Praying for you and your son and that there will be a healthy resolution for him!!

    • Shannon 06/18/2012 at 12:28 am

      Thank you for the support! They haven’t checked his heart, but it’s a good idea, and one I will bring up. I’m going to keep pushing!

  10. Karen 06/14/2012 at 11:13 am

    Is your baby gaining weight and in every other way is his development normal? Does he sleep through the night or as much as any baby of his age would? I would use unscented lotions, shampoo and detergent. Switch to a non milk formula. There are many out there. Love him and know that you are searching for answers and there might not be any right now. Stop wearing perfumes and scented stuff and see if he gets any better…
    Our daughter had a milk protein allergy and it showed up in her breathing and asthma. She has since grown out of it as the Dr. said she would.

  11. Heather 06/14/2012 at 10:53 am

    A sensitivity to milk, even in formula can cause a noisy baby. My youngest son and my friend’s son is like that.

    Milk can cause a response to people to create extra mucus. We, as humans, all do it in response to cow’s milk. Switching to soy made the difference for us.

  12. Lacey T. 06/14/2012 at 10:52 am

    I would say that you’re on the right track. Continue following you mother’s intuition and don’t let up until you feel at peace with the answers you’re getting. I don’t think anyone knows a child better than his/her own parents. You are his advocate! I hope that you find out what is going on with his breathing. My best guess is that he has allergies or possibly ear infections? I wonder if there is fluid draining from his sinuses and it is making his breathing sound abnormal. Or, he could be like my little boys and have ear infections that cause drainage and loads of other crazy issues. Good luck!

  13. Rhonda Grisham 06/14/2012 at 10:34 am

    Prayers that this isn’t anything major. Allergies will cause lots of strange noises and symptoms.

  14. Jared Garrett 06/14/2012 at 10:30 am

    Are you sure it’s in his chest and not his sinuses? I’d guess allergies too.

  15. Liz F 06/14/2012 at 10:26 am

    My son was like that as a baby–in our case, it’s environmental allergies. Now that he’s older, he’ll cough and it’ll go away. I have it, too, and so does his maternal grandfather. Some of us are just a little phlegmier than others 😛

  16. Rachael Herrscher 06/14/2012 at 10:19 am

    The one thing I’ve learned with all of my 3 kids is that you’ve got to keep pushing to find answers. We see a mix of traditional and holistic doctors. I think if you can find a good “integrative” doctor who handles pediatrics that would probably get you lots of help. I’ll send you a link to the guy we see locally – the Bay Area has got to be crawling with good peeps!

  17. Amy 06/14/2012 at 7:27 am

    Hang in there. It’s definitely a game of collecting details and sharing them every time you have an appointment. Check to see if your insurance or local hospital has a patient care manager. Sometimes they can be the Dr.House to pull together all the details and solve the mystery. We’re thinking of you!!