The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Friday, September 30, 2005

Choked up

Almost every mother of a child old enough to eat solid foods has had a moment like I had this morning or lives in fear that she will one day have one. Evan took a bite of toast. He chewed it a bit and swallowed. And the toast went down just far enough to get lodged in his throat. First he tried to cough. I sat and watched, knowing that he always manages to get wayward bites like this out on his own. But that didn't happen this time. His eyes got wide. He started to gesture wildly. And I suddenly realized that my child really and truly couldn't breathe.

I know intellectually that a finger sweep is a mistake in these cases, that I could have lodged the toast further into his throat by doing it and that I should have tried a Heimlich or something first. But I'm a tad unclear on the Heimlich. Evan was strapped into a booster seat with a tricky-to-remove tray attached. And the kid wasn't breathing. All I could think of was getting that toast out so he could get air in his lungs again. Fast. So the finger sweep it was. The piece was jammed so far down, I could barely reach it. Thankfully, it was also soft enough that I was able to scoop it out.

I sat for a long time afterwards, holding Evan and trying to compose myself. He was breathing normally again, but I wasn't, not by a long shot. As he squirmed out of my arms, I couldn't help think how tenuous my grasp on him really is, how easily he could just get away from me -- permanently. If I could have, I'd have held him there safe in my arms forever, not even caring what a cliche that was. Instead we returned to the kitchen table, where I fed him teeny tiny bites of toast as if he were a baby again and watched him like a hawk. Our morning progressed as if it had never been interrupted. Evan babbled happily about Cookie Monster and Julia sang a little song she'd learned in preschool. And I just sat there, trying to breathe around a lump in my throat much larger than any piece of toast -- and much harder to remove.


At 4:24 PM, Blogger Steph said...

Glad to hear that the finger sweep worked and that Evan is okay. I had a very similar moment a few days ago with J. And, of course, you know all about our penny incident. Very scary stuff, indeed. ((hugs))

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Heather said...

I have a lump in my throat and he's not even mine. Glad the finger worked - that is always one of my biggest fears!!

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

At least you could react! My choking story? Included me utterly freezing, right before I melted into hysterics. Thank God Tim was there, or, quite honestly, I'm not sure what would have happened. As it was, it was a good minute and a half AND I'M NOT EXAGGERATING before we, er, he dislodged the hot dog. I was as much shaken up over my utter inability to react AT ALL, much less properly, as I was over my son's blue face and near-deah experience. I shudder just writing about it here

At 9:54 PM, Blogger Lisa(lildaus) said...

What a scary moment.... Emma's was with a leaf in the backyard, but no one is ever sure what their reaction is going to be. You did good, mamma!!

At 6:42 AM, Blogger gkgirl said...

good for you for reacting tho
i'm the same way in that i freeze
and panic
and do whatever i'm sure i'm not
supposed to do but i blank...
i used to be terrified allll the time
that the kids were choking
until my husband said
if they are making any sound at all
they are still getting air
and that helped to calm me down...
and i have had CPR a number of times
for infants and children
but those classes just don't feel
like enough
to me...
thank goodness everything was ok tho

At 4:27 AM, Anonymous Gretchen C. said...

Oh GOD, the choke scare. Time stands still and you are definitely a total wreck afterward. I'm glad Evan is okay, and that you survived too. It's the scariest feeling on earth for a parent.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Oh, how scary. I know how to do the Heimlich manuever in theory only; I just don't know how I'd react if my child was choking. So glad Evan is okay!

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Dana said...

I too did the finger sweep when Iain was choking. I got it out - lucky. Afterward my heart pounded and I broke out into a cold sweat about what might have happened. Terrifying feeling.


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