calling 911, or how my worst fear came true

This little being

is so tiny and so sweet

yet so incredibly powerful,

and she has no idea

just how powerful she is.

This past Friday night, I found out that this little teeny human being has the brute power to rock me to my core and her power over me is scary and it is strong. I discovered that she has the ability to take everything I’ve built up over the last 7 months – all of my mama confidence, all of my aha! moments, all of my high fives and low fives and behind the back fives I’ve given myself, all of my silent pats on the back, all of my I don’t know how I knew how to do that, I just knew moments – and in one quick moment she placed all of my big blocks of courage and confidence and chunks of I-can-do-this one by one into a glass ball, and gently gave it a little shake. She shook that little glass ball back and forth, back and forth in her tiny little hands, until all of my mama strengths that started out as big ol bricks broke into a million pieces and started floating and swirling around like a breeze through the ball, eventually settling to the bottom, leaving each little jagged piece like an unpredictable little flake of snow in a snowglobe.

This Friday we had our first very real emergency. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it, and I did everything in my power to stop it. I know that. I’m proud of the fact that my baby is still alive and healthy and that I stayed calm in the scariest moment I’ve ever faced. But now that the snow storm has settled in my glass bubble, the emergency long forgotten in her mind, I feel like my pieces of courage will never quite fit together the same, they’ll never again be that solid brick of mama invincibility again without little holes of fear of another emergency looming just under the surface. This Friday shook me back to reality and smacked me in the forehead with the reminder that even if you do everything right, life is fragile and anything can happen in an instant.

So this Friday…

We have all wood floors throughout most of the house and have a nice big fluffy comforter folded on the floor in the living room, a comfy place for Summer to sit and play and topple over on her head safely if she reaches just a little too far for a toy. It’s where 90% of the pictures I take with my phone are actually taken. It’s the place where every night she rubs her little red-rimmed eyes and she lays down on her side, spooning me the wrong way so we’re face to face and even though it’s the wrong way, we still fit perfectly like the big spoon and little spoon were meant to fit. She tries to grab my eyeballs before I close them up tight, she giggles when I try to eat her fingers if they get too close to my mouth, she closes her eyes and takes a handful of my hair and rubs it on her cheek like she does with her soft blankies, then she drifts off into sleep until I scoop her up and put her to bed. It’s her little safe place, her cozy spot, a spot made especially for her.

So Friday night around 9:30pm, she was on her blanket, laying on her back, pacifier in her mouth, she was awake and playing and I was sitting at her feet. And in an instant, she threw up, breathed it into her lungs, and started gasping for air. I will never ever forget the look on her face. I’ve seen her face when the dogs startle her with their barking. I’ve felt her shudder when I open the shades and the loud noise makes her cry. But this look was different. It was an almost frozen look of fear and panic, of confusion, of mama, I can’t breathe and I don’t know what to do…

My absolute worst fear in this entire world.

My baby couldn’t breathe. She had aspirated and was choking and couldn’t breathe enough air into her lungs to cough it out. Mama rescue overdrive kicked in and I picked her up, flipped her over and, holding her chin in my hand, I hit her back over and over to try to get it out. She wasn’t really doing anything and the drool was pouring out of her mouth and the tears out of her eyes and I wasn’t sure if I was clearing her airway at all – I know I wasn’t hitting it as hard as they taught in our CPR class but I was hitting, slapping. Scott kept asking if we should call 911 and at first I said yes! Then just like that, she seemed to be breathing again. So I told him to wait. And before I knew it, she coughed a tiny little cough, some of the vomit came out her nose, and she was gasping again. Until that moment I thought she was clear, and at that moment I realized she was not and I had no idea how much was left in there so I held her still face down with drool and spit up and tears landing on the blanket below us as I smacked her over and over. Then Scott grabbed her from me and took over with her chin in his hand, hitting her between the shoulder blades, trying to get her airway clear. And it was the same thing all over again. 911? She’s ok! Gasps, 911! No, wait, breathing! No, choking again! And finally I called the audible. I grabbed the baby and threw the phone to Scott and barked for him to call 911 because THIS WAS NOT NORMAL.

And in less than a minute, 3 EMTs were coming through our front door. I have never been so grateful to have a nursing home on the other side of the fence because they were over there, literally feet away when they got the call. And I shit you not, within seconds she stopped gasping, caught her breath, coughed out the last of it, and flashed the big brave firemen in big bright uniforms a big gummy grin.

After they took her info, offered a ride to the hospital which we all agreed probably wasn’t necessary anymore, and left, I grabbed the bulb syringe and squeegeed the last of it out of her nose and she, although exhausted, seemed fine. So I laid her back on her blanket, let her grab at my eyeballs before I shut them up tight, I nibbled on her fingers as they got too close to my mouth, I let her grab a handful of my hair and rub it on her cheek and I watched her drift off into sleep while I stayed wide-eyed for hours and hours just listening to the most beautiful sound in the world, the sound of my precious baby breathing.

I have never been so scared in my entire life and I will forever be haunted by the look I saw in her eyes that night.

Life is precious, go hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight.

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23 Comments

Filed under craziness, Summer

23 responses to “calling 911, or how my worst fear came true

  1. I’m SO GLAD she is okay – I can’t even imagine how scary that had to have been!

  2. Reading this had me catching my breath. I am so glad that she is ok!

  3. How terrifying!!! I am so glad that she’s okay and I’m so sorry for the scare!

  4. Oh my gosh, I have the chills from reading this. I’m so sorry Jaime and I am very, very glad that Summer is ok.

  5. I hope to God that if something like this ever happens to us that I can handle it as well as you did. Amazing job, mama! I’m so glad that she’s well – such a scary situation.

  6. emayendeewhy

    I just cried reading this. I am so glad Summer is okay, and so are you!
    Was it THROW UP or SPIT UP? if it was spit up, perhaps she has infant reflux – its very common, and she can be medicated for it.

    • She hasn’t spit up/thrown up for a few months now until this, so it was definitely a fluke, whatever it was. Her cousins both had reflux and after watching them battle that for a while, I’m almost positive it’s not that. I couldn’t even imagine my mental state if this was a regular occurrence

  7. There’s a difference between throw up and spit up?

    • I’m not entirely sure of the difference…frequency and cause I suppose?

      • emayendeewhy

        To my understanding, throw up/vomit is throwing up just like adults – emptying the entire (or large portion) of stomach contents, as well as being forceful. Spit up tends to dribble, be burped/hiccuped out, and is basically just thicker or chunky spit. Big difference.
        Regardless – I am very relieved Summer is fine 🙂

  8. Kate

    im so glad she is okay! that brought tears to my eyes!
    ill never forget that feeling, if not being able to help when my little girl stopped breathing. god bless

  9. oh poor sweet baby! that must have been so scary for all of you–thank goodness she is alright.

  10. I’m so glad Summer is okay – that must have been absolutely terrifying. Kudos to you for knowing infant CPR!

  11. Oh my gosh! That’s terrifying! I’m so glad she’s ok and that the EMTs got there so fast!

  12. Oh my gosh, Jaime that is the scariest thing ever! I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. I’m so glad that Summer is ok and that you had such fast EMTs nearby.

  13. Mandy S

    Wow, Jaime, I can’t imagine how you and Scott felt!!! So glad she is ok, and kudos to you guys for staying calm enough to do what you had to in order to keep her safe

  14. oh my shit, that’s scary. i’m so glad she’s ok. you were so collected- those mama instincts kicked right in!

  15. emayendeewhy

    do you think the soother may have had something to do with it? like, when she threw up, do you think the sucking motion or the having something in her mouth prevented her from expelling it and instead she breathed it in?

    • I know it didn’t cause her to throw up but I know it definitely didn’t help the situation. It’s so hard to say if it still would have happened or not if she hadn’t had it in her mouth at the time. I was definitely afraid to give her one for a few days after but I realized that I can’t live my life in fear of what-ifs from now on so she’s back together with it! Ugh, everytime I think about it, I picture her face all over again when it first happened and it freaks me out. 😦

  16. I loved this post so much that I spotlighted it for Lots of Link Love at my blog, Stress Case.

    http://stresscasey.blogspot.com/2012/02/lots-of-link-love.html

    Lots of Link Love is a link-up to encourage bloggers to highlight their fellow bloggers’ exceptional posts every other week. I would love if you shared Lots of Link Love with your readers, and if you considered linking up with me for the next one!

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