July 07, 2011

THE STORY


 

Two weeks ago, life changed in a split second. Why is it that it takes a crisis to gain true perspective? When things like this happen to you, it’s never in slow motion.



7 pm. It had been 4 hours since the baby last ate. She was in her bassinet in the kitchen and parked by the pantry door, and I knew as she began to stir awake that she was hungry. I began to make a bottle. She was 3 steps behind me. She made a weird noise and I quickly turned around to check on her.



You’ve all seen newborns when they are startled. Their bodies go stiff, arms fly out, and legs go spread eagle. Their eyes are wide open, usually in shock as they adjust to whatever scared them. (My babies usually do this when I take them out of their bathwater and their body hits the cold air just before I wrap them in a towel.)



Well, when I glanced over into her bassinet, her arms and legs were straight in the air, eyes wide open—but staring up at the ceiling. Her eyes were full of fear. I ran to her and immediately picked her up, knowing something was wrong. She was making weird noises. Gasping sounds. Her little body went suddenly limp and she lost consciousness. I immediately screamed for my husband who came running. I threw him the baby and he began to assess her. She had stopped breathing, but she was now foaming from the mouth and nose, preventing us from administering CPR.



When anything happens to my children, I shut down. I can’t help, I can’t think. But I ran for a phone, asking over and over if I should call for an ambulance. I waited on pins and needles as my husband tried his best to revive her and help all 6 pounds of her. In a calm voice, my husband told me to call 911, but I could hear the panic in his voice. I braced myself to look at the baby. She was gray.





I don’t know what happened in all the moments that followed, but I remember feeling panic and a deep sense of loss. My newborn baby was dying.


 
I kept muttering a prayer, repeating it over and over as I cried. I prayed that she would be all right. I don’t know where my husband was when I was on the phone with dispatch—the operator kept prompting me to be in the room with the baby. I refused. I couldn’t bring myself to see that. I couldn’t force myself to go into the same room where my lifeless baby was being held by her father.



My husband has extensive training in emergency situations. As a Nurse Practioner he knows how to handle all kinds of medical drama and has saved lives; but knowing he was unable to help our daughter, knowing this was out of his expertise, I knew we were in trouble. That is when I lost it. If he couldn’t do it, and didn’t know how to help her then…



The paramedics were at our house in 1 minute. (The perks of living a few streets away from the fire station!)



The moment they arrived, my husband flung open the door and ran out to THEM. They came in our house eventually. I don’t know when or how long they were outside, I was in the kitchen, unable to be in the same room. I was a mess and I couldn’t watch as they began to suction out her nose, her mouth, and bring their instruments out to save her life. I couldn’t bear to see that. Even now, the memories haunt me. I can’t shake them from my mind.



My 2 week old baby began to scream. A wonderful sound! But it was the sound of agony and pain. Not the cry of hunger. I wanted to cover my ears as she wailed so loud. I have never heard a newborn cry so hard. I went into the room only to see three paramedics hovering around my husband who held the baby while police questioned me about what happened. I don’t know what I told them or what was said, my eyes were anxiously watching my baby.



I remember seeing my front door open. Several ambulances outside, a fire truck, a police car…and my entire street lined with neighbors 3 people deep.



Eventually, my baby began to recover. To make this short, we decided against transport and decided to take her to the ER ourselves. We called a neighbor to watch our other kids while we loaded her in the car to drive to the hospital. But before we left, 2 members of our faith, including my husband and neighbor, administered a blessing to her. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, these blessings are sacred to us and we believe in their power to heal and help those who are sick or afflicted with infirmities. {To learn more, click here. Or, you can email me if you have more questions.}



I don’t know what was said in the prayer. I didn’t hear anything. In fact, my baby began to choke again and I ran to her and began to suction out her mouth and nose while she was given this special prayer.



The ride to the hospital was an event all its own. I chose to drive, knowing I was no good to her as I bawled—but I could operate a car! Halfway there, my husband told me to “floor it”. No other words were needed as I knew—she had once again started to choke. I did 80 MPH down our highway—speed limit 45. My husband told me to pass people on the double line—I didn’t have time to argue. I broke all kinds of laws and we made it to the hospital in 5 minutes. (usually a 15 minute drive) He was getting panicky—which he NEVER has in his entire medical career. I knew then, the baby had stopped breathing again. As soon as I drove recklessly into the ER parking lot, the baby was already unstrapped from her car seat and my husband scooped her up and ran inside.



I had enough sense at that point to go park the car. But I sat there and cried for 20 minutes. I didn’t know what was happening—or what had become of her—and I was too chicken to get out of the car and be there with her. I kept seeing dramatic ER scenes from TV episodes run through my mind. (Stupid TV shows!) 


Finally, I found the will to get out of the car—but I threw on my husband’s sunglasses to hide my swollen eyes. Still wearing my Pj top, my hair still a mess, sunglass on, I looked like the perfect zombie drug seeker as I walked into the ER. They led me back. Nothing ever prepares you to see your baby hooked up to all the machines. But she was calm, asleep, and they were waiting on tests that had been done.



My husband told me she would be just fine, but staring at our baby, I was skeptical. I couldn’t stay long as all the memories came flooding back. The reality of where we were was too much and I had to leave again. I sat out in the waiting room, sobbing, uncaring of who watched. I should really have worked harder on my faith; faith to believe that things were going to be okay, but post partum hormones kicked in and I wasn’t functioning.



After another half hour of waiting, I had this terrible feeling (which I now believe to be conjured up by my fears) that I needed to be with my daughter in her final minutes of life. (This is something I live with for having an overactive imagination. You should take a walk inside my dreams—pure I.N.S.A.N.I.T.Y.)



I went back into her room, fearful of finding a tragic scene, but she was still sleeping in her father’s arms, resting comfortably. It’s quite comical when you look back on it. My husband is calmly sitting there, holding our baby while she sleeps, and I’m sobbing like someone just ran over me with a backhoe!


 

Anyway, it turns out a mucus plug got lodged in her lung, which cut off her airway and prevented her from breathing, which caused her to foam from the mouth and nose—and prevented us from administering CPR.



It was a freak accident. Something that just happened (and I dare say, something that doesn’t happen often) but as I look back on the incident, it happened at the perfect time when my husband was home. It was on a Sunday, and he and I were at the right place and time when it occurred. Should you take any of these coincidences away, she would have died. Had it been just me, had my husband not been home, had it been on a weekday when the roads were busier, etc—I believe she wouldn’t have survived. In fact, the miracle in this is, just two weeks before our daughter’s accident, our little city council approved 3 full-time paramedics to be at the fire station 24 hours a day—whereas, we had none before. Had this not happened, we would have had to wait 15 minutes for paramedics to arrive—15 minutes my daughter didn’t have. I know this because our neighbor had a massive heart attack 6 weeks ago and it took 15 minutes for help to arrive. In fact, his accident is what prompted city officials to approve full-time paramedics. Had that not happened…



I have a hard time not playing the ‘what if’ game. Everyone is fine—baby is good and healthy. I am so grateful that her life was spared—that I get this precious chance to be her mom and that I get to raise her.



This is life’s greatest calling and I am so glad I get a second chance. It just reaffirms to me in the hard times of parenting children, that this is STILL where I want to be. That THIS is what I want—given all the whining, drama, tantrums…the hugs, the loves, the smiles and giggles, the funny things kids say, FAR outweigh the negatives.



I have heard people ask what others think the definition of hell is. My definition of hell is this: To not be their mom. To not get the chance to raise my own children—to not be around to watch them grow, live, and fulfill their dreams. I want to be around for that. I want them to be around so that I can do that. They are my children and I don’t want to share that parenting responsibility with anyone—they are mine to raise and I want them around—tantrums and all—so that I can continue enjoying in life’s greatest gift.



I have often heard the phrase, ‘life’s tender mercies’; what happened to our family and being able to see my infant daughter make a full recovery is one example of life’s tender mercies.



The price was paid centuries ago, but the debt we owe is incalculable.



We’re back to normal around here, as normal as it can be with a new baby in the house. We’re still adjusting to her schedule. The days are long, the nights even longer, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.



*photo courtesy here*   
 
 
 
 

7 comments:

MommyMert said...

**chills.**

We will talk about this later. I obviously didnt make it over today... Long story. Lots of **life**. HA! Tomorrow perhaps?? Thinking about you.

Kari

jordan @ mean mommy academy said...

Okay- bawling. That's so scary!!!! I'm so sorry you had to deal with this but bravo for recognizing the Lord's hand in this event. ((hugs))

Amy said...

Seriously seeing that precious baby girl tonight just makes my heart break of the stupid, "what ifs" that we play. I am so grateful that she is okay, I'm sorry that you guys had to go through that. You do have an amazing hubby who knows just how to handle situations, thank goodness right. Thinking of you guys and thanks for the sweet glimpse into PERFECTNESS, she is DARLING!!

Kayli said...

Oh my gosh! I have 2 little one's and it hurts to breathe just reading your story! Thank goodness your baby is ok.

Angela said...

I am so glad that everyone is okay and doing well.

Traci said...

so sorry i haven't visited ur blog in ages! what a scary story to come too! sooo glad to hear that everything is ok with ur baby and family. what a very scary thing to have happen. i bet u have said a many a prayers in thanks!
i am excited to read ur other posts and see the new babe!
congrats!!!

Chance's Mom said...

What an awful thing to have to experience as a parent! I am glad that all was as it needed to be so that your baby is still here.
I'm with you. I'll take the good, the bad the ugly. Just let me be their mother.
Thinking of you and your family.