Saturday, November 6, 2010

what it means to be a mother

"You don't know what love is until you have a child," were the words of the paramedic as he was trying to comfort me while I'm holding my baby girl on the couch on her 15th month birthday...

You know those situtations you hear about and watch on tv?? Those moments where you can't imagine it would happen to you and you wonder if it does, how you would react?? Well, I was there last night. I had the scariest moment of my life.

Marisa and Natalie were playing on my bed with some soft balls while I was in the dining room on the phone with my sister. I figured they would be fine. Natalie knows how to get off of things so easily now, plus I regularly check on them anyways. I had a feeling that I needed to check on them at this one particular moment on the phone, but I ignored it. I'm always told that I am an overprotective, paranoid, high stress mother, and that I need to relax more. Told that everything is fine. I should have listened to my motherly instincts though because right then I hear a thud...then no sound...then instant loud crying. I quickly told my sister, "I gotta go!!", and instantly had this sick feeling that this wasn't going to be good.

Natalie is my active baby. Always climbling, always getting herself into something. She is very daring and loves to challenge herself physically. This has ultimately left me more paranoid than ever about keeping my eyes on her. I wish I had an extra set of eyes just for her. As a consequence of her curiousity and her adventurous personality she has bumped her head more times than Marisa has ever her whole life. Not even a close comparison. So although having Natalie fall of something was nothing new to me, I knew this time felt a little different. It sounded like a bad fall.

I rush into my room to see Natalie on all fours crying right beside my bed. (Luckily, before they were jumping on my bed, I had moved a coffee table, that was broken and upside down and left along our bedroom wall for the trash, further away from the bed. Thank goodness I listened to my instincts then because she would have definetly fallen on top of it.)As I pick her up, Natalie is really, really, really crying. Dang I thought. This was a bad fall. My first thoughts were, I really hope she didn't do any permanent serious damage to her head??
As that little thought came to my head, Natalie suddenly pushes away from me. She then suddenly arches her back and there is no more sound coming from her anymore. No crying, no nothing. She is silent as her body, arms and hands go rigid, her face turns blue and purple, and her eyes look up toward the ceiling in a spacy, empty kind of way.
Instant panic.
While her eyes are looking up, kinda seizure-like/fainting-like, her body goes kinda limp. Absolute total body and mind transformation happens to me. Panic like I never imagined I could feel before.

It is amazing how fast your brain can process in literally one second.

My thoughts in one second were...

"Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. This is not happeneing. This can't be happening. Is she going to have a seizure? Why is she doing that? How hard did she hit her head? Is she going to stop breathing? Is this how she is going to leave me?"

I'm then running full speed to my phone screaming. The panic, the shock, the scare. I'm yelling out loud to the heavens, "Heavenly Father please! PLEASE! PLEASE DON'T TAKE HER AWAY FROM ME! PLEASE! PLEASE! HEAVENLY FATHER PLEASE!"

I had no idea what was happening to her. As I'm running and dialing 911, the call I never thought I would have to make, I hear her crying again. This time it is a cry of pure terror. I have never heard her cry like that before. And I hope I never do again.

Thankfully I hear her crying, but I'm still in full blown panic mode. Something wasn't right and I need someone here, NOW. I'm hysterically crying on the phone trying to give the lady my info and trying to find a pacifer for Natalie to calm her a little. The lady on the phone can't hear me though. I'm yelling into the phone desperately trying to get something, anything through as I try to find her pacifer, careful not to drop the phone and move Natalie too much. Luckily, I find the pacifer pretty quickly which drowned out the noise a bit and was slowly calming Natalie down. I'm finally able to explain what happened in full blown tears and she assured me help is on the way and that everything is going to be ok. The lady on the phone tells me that this happens all the time and not to worry. The only thing running through my mind when I heard that was, "I know. I know! But you didn't see what I saw! Why did she react the way she did? Why was she blue and purple! Why did it look like I was losing her!"

I eventually calm down as much as I could at that moment. I hear the sirens down the street. I heard it almost instantly when I gave my address to the lady on the phone. The fire department is super close to me. The lady then asks me how Natalie is breathing. Her breathing was steady again, but she was completely lethargic-like in my arms. You can tell she was trying to slowly recover.

The paramedics arrive at my front door, check Natalie while asking me questions. They were super nice and comforting, but were not giving me the answers that I wanted to hear to my one question.

"Why did her body react that way??????"

"Well, she may have had the wind knocked out of her plus she is just super angry."

"Angry? My child doesn't go blue and purple, limp, eyes roll back to her head, stops breathing, every time she is angry!!"

I asked him 3 times. Same answer everytime.

They advise me that everything is ok. The most important signs are there. She is walking around, eyes are fine, no bumps on head, but to bring her to the hospital just in case and for my sanity.

I had called Tim right after I got off the phone with 911 balling my eyes for him to come home because Natalie had fallen off the bed and was going off in an ambulance. Luckily, and obviously, that didn't happen, but you can imagine Tim's reaction and thinking process when he said, "Ok", then hung up the phone immediately with no further explanation from me. While the paramedics were at my house he was calling my cell a ton of times on the drive home.

One of my best friends, and luckily my neighbor as well, had heard the ambulance from her house and saw out her window that it had stopped right in front of mine. How grateful I am to have her so close by because I can't explain how incredible it felt to walk out onto my porch and see her there. I'm crying right now just thinking about it. I really needed a hug and shoulder to loudly cry on while I waited for Tim. And I did just that.

Natalie was given a priesthood blessing by Tim and again our good friend and neighbor.

I really needed to hear that blessing as well because I felt so much peace afterwards. I knew she was going to be 100% fine. Plus, we were going to have her 15 month check up the very next day and I knew I was going to get my answer of what happened exactly to her during the fall.

Last night I kept crying really hard on and off all during the evening, even while in bed, and even until I finally went to sleep. The feelings of panic, fear, and love kept pulsing through me like a wave all that time.

I know it may have seemed so dramatic or not a big deal when Tim came home because Natalie was smiling and laughing after her blessing, but it was very real to me. Even to those of you who are reading this probably feel the same way. But it was too real and absolutely frightening to me. I caught a glimpse of just how fragile and minute life really is. I have always known and felt how much I love my children, but I learned after this scare that my love for them runs through my blood and body. I learned that love is literally a physical part of my being. I caught a glimpse of understanding when people say they feel physical pain over a loss of a loved one.

The check-up was this morning and the doctor said that the reason why she reacted that way because she had the wind knocked out of her, plus she was crying so hard out of fear, hurt, anger, whatever it may be, that she literally forgot to breathe. Have you ever cried so hard that sometimes you have to gasp for air? I think she was trying to do just that plus forgot to breathe which caused her to not breathe and struggle for breathe resulting in blue and purple face and almost fainted. The doctor said that a lot of kids will actually cry so hard and get so angry that they forget to breathe and faint. That was Natalie. When I heard his explanation I knew it was right. I was very relieved to hear that, plus so much more that he explained to me and assured me with.

What a relief. What a scare.

I'm not really sure why I am writing all this down in detail. Mainly because I think the feelings are still so intense and raw right now that I just have to let it all out. I never want to have those feelings again and I'm so grateful for the Lord's tender mercies. Oh how I love my little girls.

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