Baby Dhis typically sleeps in her nursery, but Monday night, she was excessively fussy, so we put her in the car seat as her pediatrician suggested and put that in her bassinet next to our bed. David went to sleep downstairs to escape the sounds of an unhappy baby and I stayed in our bedroom. In the dark, I heard her fuss a little so I used a small flashlight to check on her. She had dropped her binky and was rooting around for it. SuperMom solved that problem for her. I turned off the flashlight and thought to myself, "ok, no more checking on her or you'll never get to sleep."
A couple minutes later, I heard her moving around. I ignored it at first but then realized that it sounded like a lot of ruckus (1) for her age and size and (2) considering how restrictive her car seat is. I shined the little flashlight on her and saw her eyes were wide with a panicked look and her body was jerking trying to turn over. I dropped the flashlight and turned a lamp on. Her face was purple. (Purple!) Her eyes were wet, her mouth was frothing, and she was writhing around struggling to breathe.
Baby Dhis has had 5 or 6 choking episodes before, but she was always red-faced, not purple. I was alarmed but thought "we've been through this before, I'll just turn her face-down and she'll be fine." I flipped her over and patted her back. Nothing. I patted harder. Nothing. I reached in her mouth with my finger to clear some of the thick liquid. Nothing. Her face just got darker and she kept jerking as she tried to breathe. That's when I ran out of the bedroom with her in my arms and yelled "SHE CAN'T BREATHE!" David ran up the stairs and tried the same thing I did. After a couple more attempts, we heard her gasp for air. She was still struggling but was getting a little air every so often. She struggled for another minute to get bigger gulps of air. I've never seen her struggle this bad or this long. Her body calmed down a little as she cried weakly in between mini-breaths. Then, her face went to the opposite end of the color spectrum and turned scary pale, and she became listless.
We ended up speeding to the American Fork Emergency Room. By the time we arrived, she was acting and looking better, but we registered her anyway because I wanted to know what was causing these episodes and if she had any damage from this particular one. I expected the E.R. staff to tell me either what they suspected the problem was or "I don't know, keep an eye on it." Instead, they surprised me by saying they wanted to keep Baby Dhis overnight for observation. I felt simultaneously worried and relieved.
In her hospital room, the nurses began hooking her up to monitors and taking her vitals. Considering that it was now hours later since we arrived at the hospital and time for her to eat, Baby did not like being poked and prodded! She screamed, she kicked, and she batted the nurses' hands. As soon as the nurses finished what they needed to do, I snatched her up and loved on her. I felt like a Mama Bear licking her Cub. I dare say it's the first time I truly felt like her mother.
David and I squeezed onto the hospital bed to sleep. Baby wouldn't sleep in the big steel cage, so she slept on top of Papa Bear's belly. Though I would have preferred sleeping in my own bed, I felt pretty comfy squished into that hospital bed with my little family. I fell asleep with a little smile on my heart.
I so wish I would have had my camera with me at the hospital. That morning, David went home to get our toiletries and I asked him to get said camera. Alas, poor tired hubby forgot it. (But he did get all the makeup items I requested! Good job, honey!)
The doctor scheduled an upper GI test for the baby just to make sure there weren't any "anatomical errors" in her digestive system. I got to watch Baby Dhis on a video x-ray as she gulped the contrast fluid (the liquid shows up on x-rays). So cool to see her as a skeleton drinking! I viewed her on the radiologist's monitor and saw her jaw move up and down and watched the liquid drip down her esophagus and move into her stomach. SOOOO COOOL! I even got to see the little teeth waiting in her gums. Wish I would have had my camera! (Psst... This x-ray photo is not of her.)
The procedure was also helpful in that I got to see exactly how food settles in my baby's body. In her case, the food goes straight to her stomach but then doesn't stay there, it starts sliding back up to her throat. The radiologist tipped the baby up just a couple inches and I watched gravity pull the food away from her throat. For now, it pretty much looks like she has an exaggerated version of infant acid reflux, which she'll (hopefully) grow out of in the next few months. Simple problem, we just need to keep her from choking due to it.
I felt relatively calm through the whole experience. It was only until last night when we were back home that, as I watched Adhis fall asleep in her bassinet, I cried. I realized then that she is irreversibly woven into my emotions and has commandeered a sizable portion of my heart. I am vulnerable.
[Posted song: "Vulnerable" by Secondhand Serenade]