Friday, January 15, 2010

Life is not meant for a mother to experience giving her child CPR. But what are you to do when your 23-month-old child is not breathing, lying lifeless and blue on the kitchen floor?

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Yesterday wasn't abnormal, for the most part. Ella awoke with a cough and runny nose, but little more. We went out, she ate some french fries, she sang in the supermarket -- all things that she would do on any random day.

After waking from a nap later, she had a croupy cough and her fever started to rise. We are not new to the baby fever thing, having fought fevers as high as 105 with her, so I wasn't panicked. As the evening wore on, it wasn't getter better. The doctor suggested we dose her with the normal kid drugs and if her fever didn't go down before bed we take her to the emergency room.

Her fever started to go down, even if just a little. A little while later, a sudden spike and some lethargy had us worried. As I held her in my arms, she started to -- for lack of better description -- go out of it. Her eyes weren't focusing, she couldn't keep her eyelids open, her body was going limp.

And then suddenly something strange happened. She opened her eyes and looked up, not eyes rolling back, but actually looking up and focusing on something on the ceiling. When I stood up, she turned her head so she could see the same spot on the ceiling. For some reason, my actual thought was, "She's staring at Jesus." The hair on the back of my neck stood up.

I yelled for Todd to start the car to take her to the emergency room. Moments later, she clenched her teeth, she stared away, unfocused. She was obviously having a seizure. As I ran through the house with her in my arms she went totally limp.

She was unresponsive.
She was unconscious.
She wasn't breathing.
And she was turning completely blue.

It's true what people say, things start to happen in slow motion like you're in a movie. I remember screaming in a voice I didn't even know I had, "NO GOD! PLEASE NO!" as I placed her on the kitchen floor. Her face was completely blue, her lips even bluer. There were dark, bluish-black circles under her closed eyes.

My health care training took over and I went into auto-pilot mode, alternately barking orders to Todd on the phone with 911, giving my 23-month-old daughter CPR and screaming at her to come back.

I don't know how much time elapsed, I suspect a minute or so, but it seemed like an eternity. She started breathing and the scary blue went away, but she was still out of it. I started doing things to trigger her memory. I sang Jingle Bells. I asked her about her favorite teacher at school. I used stern voice to tell her to stop it. Things that all seem ridiculous now seemed perfectly reasonable then.

We spent four hours with her in the emergency room, doing tests, keeping watch. She had a seizure. She has a sore throat. She has a cough that they're treating like croup.

Concrete evidence I can handle. A blue dying baby on my floor I cannot.

I slept in her room for the few hours that we did sleep this morning. I checked on her throughout the night and then awoke in a panic during the times I drifted off.

I was never happier than hearing, "Mama, hold you?" as she lifted her little toddler arms for me to pick her up this morning.

Things were back to normal for her, but they will never be the same for me.


Michelle said... @ 8:39 PM

Oh, poor baby! Poor mama, too, I can't even imagine. No, you're right, no mother should have to go through that, I'm so glad she's feeling better.
Hugs to you.

Monica said... @ 11:34 AM

Oh my gosh. That is so scary. It's very easy for me to imagine that happening here since my son is 21 months. I don't know how I would respond.

I'm so glad she's ok now. Keep us updated, please. And take it easy. I'm sure it's going to be hard for you to rest soundly for a while but you certainly need to.

Colleen said... @ 12:36 PM

I could barely breath while reading this. Thank God she's alright... and thank God you were trained in a way that you could save her.

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