Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One Year Ago Today....

One year ago today, I had the worst day of my life.  Not the kind of bad day Shania Twain sings about, or the kind that once you get home a glass of wine can fix.  This was seriously the worst day of my life.  My baby choked.  And for about an hour, I was not sure if he was going to be ok.  I still feel sick to my stomach thinking about it, and because of that sick feeling (and not being able to see the computer screen through tear filled eyes) it has taken a whole year to write about it.

Taken the morning of December 14th

On December 14th, 2010 Harrison and I were in the living room after Daddy left for work.  I was paying some bills while my little man played on the floor with his toys.  My cell phone rang and it was Harrison's pediatricians office confirming his 15 month appointment for the following day.  I told them we would be there and hung up.  That is when I heard my son gag.  He was breathing, but he kept gagging.  I never saw anything in his mouth so I called my mom.  Trying to keep me calm, my mom told me if he was breathing to calm down and call his Dr. and that he would be fine.  He had just had some blue berries so maybe one was stuck in his throat.  The doctor's office said they would get us right in so I went to his room to put his coat on.  That is when he started vomiting blood.  I freaked.  I was crying uncontrollably trying to talk to a woman who answered my 911 call.  I am so thankful she could understand me, because I am pretty sure I was screaming/sobbing the whole time.  He was choking and I didn't know on what.  Talk about being punched in the gut.  How could I be his mother, the one that was in the same room as him and not see what he had in his mouth?!?  Quicker than I ever could have imagined, the ambulance came screaming down my cul de sac.  Three men ran out, quickly observed the situation and we were off to Kosair's Children's Hospital. 

I realized once I was in the ambulance that Matt had no idea what was happening so my poor husband received a frantic/sobbing phone call from me with sirens in the back ground.  He made out the part that we were on our way to Kosair's and left immediately to meet us there.  The trip from my house to the hospital should have taken a solid 30 minutes but I know for a fact we made it in half that amount of time.  The whole ride, Harrison continued to breathe, but he was still vomiting blood.  His sweet footed pajamas, my sweatshirt and pregnant belly were covered in blood.  We looked like we belonged in a scene of a horror movie.  I saw the fear in Matt's eyes when he saw me, and I will never forget that look.  

Harrison needed to be xrayed, not only to find out what it was he was choking on, but also to find its location so that the doctor could remove it.  A nurse asked me if there was any chance I was pregnant because if I was I could not stay in there with my baby as he was being xrayed.  I couldn't lie.  I knew I had to take care of the little one in my belly, but I wanted desperately to stay with Harrison.  As I kissed Harrison before I left the room, he was crying holding his hands out wanting to hold my hair.  He had always loved my hair and twirled it before falling asleep.  The one bit of comfort he wanted as he was being restrained on a table I could not even give him because I had to leave.  I was crying so hard I could barely breathe and I knew if I didn't stop I would faint.  I do not remember the nurse's name, but a wonderful nurse came and held me as Matt stayed with Harrison.  I will never forget the comfort she gave me at that moment.  She was my angel. 

The xray confirmed that Harrison had the metal top and hook of an ornament lodged in his throat.  Because it was not too far down, he did not require invasive surgery and within an hour of getting to the ER my little boy was asleep, breathing easily after having part of an ornament removed from his throat.  They transferred us to the Kosair's downtown and we spent the night so that doctors could monitor him for any infections.

Because Kosair's is a teaching hospital residents and interns were in and out of our room all night eager to meet the little boy who swallowed an ornament.  At one point I had gone to the nurses station to request juice for Harrison and as I approached the desk I heard four or five nurses talking about "The little boy who swallowed the ornament".  By the end of our stay Harrison was famous.  No one could believe his story and that we were leaving the hospital the next day with a healthy happy 15 month old.

For weeks I had trouble sleeping.  Every time I closed my eyes I could see the events of that day being played over and over again in my head.  I have never been so thankful for something in my whole life.  I still pray every day thanking God for my babies and their health.  But for several weeks I really struggled with guilt.  I just could not forgive myself for letting that happen.  I know that accidents happen, but this could have been prevented.  I could have been more prudent in child proofing my decorations.  I felt guilt for not knowing or seeing what it was that he had choked on.  I was so mad at myself for letting that happen to him.  It took a lot of prayer and time to finally move past that day.

On a much lighter note, this morning I received a call from Wave 3.  They are doing a news segment on child proofing your home for the holidays.  The reporter heard about our story from our ER doctor and contacted us to share our story.  As I spoke with the reporter on the phone, she wanted to know all of the details so I shared the whole story with her.  She then asked when this happened.  I paused as I choked back some tears...."One year ago today".  I had goosebumps.  I could tell she was a bit amazed at the timing as well.  Even though it is hard reliving that day, I am excited to share our story so that maybe another child can be spared a trip to the emergency room.  I will be sure to post our interview as soon as it airs.  Wave 3 is hoping to air it sometime Monday.


Clementsville: Population of 4! said...

Thank you for sharing such a horrific story. You are NOT a bad Mom for this to happen, it could of happened if you were sitting there watching him. Things happen and praise the Lord for him being ok!!
I will forever be cautious over this now thanks to your story!!

Ashley michaud said...

I have tears streaming down my face...thank you for sharing, as I will always remember this story and be extra careful. I cannot even imagine what it must have felt like and never want to. I am so thankful he is okay and you are such a great mommy! Love you Danielle :)

melissaballard said...

Oh Danielle, you are the farthest thing from a bad Mom that I can imagine! I didn't expect to read your blog this morning and cry! I'm so grateful that Harrison is ok and excited to see you on TV!!!!!

Kim said...

Oh my goodness I can't even begin to imagine how scared you were for that sweet little. I am so glad that everything was okay and as hard as it is to retell and relive that day, I hope others use your story for the good and take extra caution this Christmas.
You are an amazing mom and your kiddos are lucky to have you! :)

Amanda Hervey said...

Thanks for having the courage to share this story, Danielle! With a very curious 10-month-old, it's just another reminder of how quickly they can find trouble and how as mommas, we have to learn to forgive ourselves. You have a beautiful blog (and family) and I'm glad I came across it through Jessica Jasper.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Jaime (Metts) Gooch said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. Because of your story, I have planned to baby-proof all my Christmas decorations before putting them away this year. I am glad Harrison was alright. I hope the news story helps make other parents more aware. You are certainly not a bad mom.