We Almost Lost Him
Many people make the comment that I’m a good mother. I try to be. I try with all my might to be. I want nothing but the best and the most for my babies. Isn’t that what all parents want for their children? When I started this blog, the main purpose was to pass on information that other new moms like me might be struggling with finding answers to. Not because I had THE answer or the RIGHT answer, but because everything I had searched for, read or come across wasn’t what worked for me, and if I could pass along something that DID work for me, then why not share so someone else may garner the same results? I also enjoy writing and journaling – and this was a way to share my love of babies, children, being creative, photography, gardening, small home repairs, recipes and everyday learnings. I am not an outright advocate of anything particular except for making choices in your life that make you happy and thinking of other people and their happiness and well-being. I also like keeping a record of things and journaling my feelings at a moment in time. Often this is done through my photos but with the onset of social media, with Facebook and Blogging, Instagram, Etsy, Flikr, etc., it appears I’m not the only one that feels this way! I like capturing what my life is like. It may not be of interest to others, but to me, it’s everything. And I like to print my blog and have it so my children can read it when they get older if they so wish. I know I would have LOVED to read about my mom’s life when I was little; to know her wishes and dreams for me. I don’t have but a few hundred followers but of those followers, each have friends and family with pregnant mom-to-be’s. And if this can reach each of my followers and they tell each of their friends, then I will have told at least a few hundred people and maybe, just maybe, this could help save another baby’s life.
I digress but needed to give background t o the TRUE reason for this post today. Not because I’m an expert or because I think I know all. But for the following reasons. I have meant to write this since the day I saved one of the twins life. This was by far, BY FAR, the SCARIEST moment of my life – – and I have had scary moments! I was in a roll over accident where the car flipped three times and friends of mine were thrown from it when I was 16 years old. I have had a panic attack that sent me to the hospital. I climbed the highest church steep in Europe in January with snow and ice covered cobble stone stairs, holding on for dear life to a railing that was loose and looked as old as the church itself, just to witness the Danube from afar. I have stood in front of a large conference and given talks, been on live TV, I have been in pageants in my swimsuit, I have been down a drag strip on the floor board of a genuine race car, run until I passed out because I couldn’t breathe on the side of a road, been so sick I was hospitalized, battled anxiety, panic disorder and agoraphobia, I’ve been date raped, I’ve been through 14 hours of natural child birth, had two epidurals and given birth via c-section twice and once to twins. None of that may sound scary to you, but to me, those were up there as some of my scariest moments. But NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING compares to the level of SCARED or PARALYZED I felt that night.
When the twins were born, they were 37 weeks and one day exactly. They were and are considered FULL-TERM in all medical fields. I thought we were in the clear with beautiful healthy twin boys that delivered with no problems via c-section, with APGAR tests each of 9 and no need for the NIC-U at all. All was well. In the hospital, we were given the basic guidance you’re given for a newborn. Difference was, I had two 5lb newborns – and one was close enough to 4lbs upon leaving that we had to have a car seat test performed with him in it for 90 minutes while his breathing was watched carefully. That’s it. Nothing different.
The truth is, at 37 weeks, they are considered late-term premature. They have little things that I was unaware of that are referred to as “a manifestation of prematurity,” (boy if I had a hundred dollars for each time I heard that these past few months I’d have a good start to their college funds).
Things like premature tear ducts that get mucus covered and their eyes seal shut. Tiny, smaller than a straw, sized esophagus’s that prematurely spasm and close up on them while eating or coughing or with hiccups. There is a long list that I plan to share eventually as well – things that ANYONE with a premature baby should know but aren’t necessarily told. But at 37 weeks, they aren’t considered premature because they’re twins. Following me here???
At 7pm on a Saturday evening in December, about a week before Christmas, when the twins were barely three weeks old, my mom and I had just finished feeding the boys and they were laid in their crib, next to each other, on their backs, in a swaddle – all compliant with doctor’s orders and everything you’re told upon having a newborn in 2014. We have a monitor, a Samsung monitor, hung directly above their heads above their crib. Some might think overkill, but we want to be able to see them while they sleep. It had been about 7 minutes since we laid them down and walked to the kitchen. Mind you, the room is only ten feet away, the doors were open, it was me, my parents, my 22-month-old daughter and my husband getting ready to eat dinner. I hadn’t eaten dinner with anyone since I went to the hospital December 4th. I was going to get my plate of food and go back to their room. Upon turning around, I noticed Twin A madly moving his head back and forth. I thought for a moment that I was seeing something that wasn’t there BECAUSE THERE WAS NO SOUND. I told my husband it looked like he was in trouble. He ran back to the room and swept him up and yelled he’s choking. He handed him to me, blue in the face, not even gasping, eyes rolled back in his head, spit up all over his face. He was choking on his own spit up. He had been fighting and couldn’t fight anymore. I flipped him over in my arms, patted his back, I flipped him back over and proceeded to do the baby Heimlich then when that didn’t work I tried to give him mouth-to-mouth. Nothing was working. I was crying, screaming “He is DYING PEOPLE, HELP ME, DO SOMETHING!!!!” My husband was calling 911. My mom grabbed the nose aspirator that they were given in the hospital and my dad tore off the wrapper and I stuck it down his throat after several attempts to put my finger down his throat. I was scared I was hurting him but feared he was dead anyway. I pumped it twice and he coughed. HE COUGHED. I cried even harder and watched him try to breathe. He was beside himself but BREATHING. Then the paramedics arrived.
TERRIBLE STORY. TRUE STORY. I am sitting here typing this, reliving his tiny little body in my hands and I was panicked to do ANYTHING. He was dying and there was nothing I could do. He was blue, eyes rolled back in his head and unresponsive. How was I going to live with myself? How could I have been entrusted with beautiful healthy twin boys by God and allowed him to die in my hands by doing what I was told by putting him on his back?
I want to pass along to everyone:
- The Samsung Monitor turns ON from a black screen when there is SOUND or MOTION in the room. Although we couldn’t hear anything, because Maxton was choking, we saw the monitor blink on and I saw him moving his head violently.
- A 37-week old twin IS STILL PREMATURE. His esophagus was too small and when he spit up, his esophagus spasmed and when he tried to get a breath, he began choking. A newborn PERIOD needs 24 hour watch and care. A premature newborn needs EXTRA watching in the very beginning. Even being fed too much could have lead to his spit up and ultimately his choking.
- Put your baby on his or her back. My biggest question was still, “Why on his back? Look what just happened!!!!” And over and over again we were told on their back is still the safest.
- After almost two minutes, he began to breathe. I can’t imagine (because I’ve TORTURED myself with it) what would have happened if we didn’t have that monitor on them, if I had just walked away for FIVE MINUTES and he laid there choking to death, literally, next to his brother and I couldn’t have done anything and all I had done was EVERYTHING I WAS TOLD TO DO, including feeding him the amount I was feeding him – straight from the hospital nurses mouths.
- We didn’t put them in a separate room from the living room from that point on. Wherever I was for the rest of the month, they were RIGHT NEXT TO ME. I don’t think I slept with an eye closed from that point on.
- They were put on apnea monitors after this episode and another scary episode the day before with Carson in his carseat on the way to a doctor’s appointment. This is a WHOLE DIFFERENT POST I plan to write. I think an apnea monitor no matter how premature the baby is is NECESSARY. Because even if they are breathing just fine on their own, there are MANISFESTATIONS OF PREMATURITY that play into your baby’s life.
- As a mother or a father, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. Do whatever it takes and know you did what you could. In a moment like that, I thought I was freaking out and losing it but I pulled through AND SAVED HIS LIFE. Trust yourself and never, ever doubt your instincts or ability.
I have wanted to get this posted for SO LONG now and tried to find the time to write it at least one hundred times. If this can help save a life, I am forever grateful.
XO ~ Stephanie