So, today I went to visit a friend with Olive. We had a great time and Olive got to munch on some delicious teething biscuits. When she was finished, she was very fussy and seemed tired, so I quickly loaded up and started driving home. I had just left my friend's apartment complex when I heard strange sounds coming from the backseat.
I looked in the rear-view mirror, which reflected her face off the mirror we have attached to the headrest. I saw my baby turning red, fighting to breathe.
She was choking. Luckily, I was able to pull over right away into a gas station. My mind was racing and my blood was rushing so fast as I entered crisis mode. I threw the car in park and jumped out. After I pulled her door open, I could see the sheer panic on her sweet little face. No mother ever wants to see that look.
I was already in tears and scrambling to unbuckle her harness before I even knew what I was going to do next. Then I remembered the article I recently read about what to do if your infant is choking. I had read it, just in case, since we had started solid foods. I was so angry with myself for never taking a CPR class. Why couldn't I have just taken the damn class?! I quickly held her facing forward on my arm and began slapping on her back, between her shoulder blades. At this point, she was coughing and drool was going everywhere. I could hear something was still caught in the back of her mouth, so I fished it out. It was a clump of regurgitated teething biscuit. I glanced around and saw a cop just happened to be pulling out of the gas station, so I flagged him down. I don't know what he was thinking when he saw me, baby in arm, tears streaming, and screaming "OFFICER!!"
He promptly back up and rushed over to us. I wasn't really sure why I called him over, since at that point she wasn't choking anymore and was just crying. I think I just needed to know everything was going to be okay. He asked what happened and I stuttered, "She was choking, and I think she is okay, but I don't know, I'm not sure what...please, help" Poor little Olive just looked at him with bits of biscuit all over her face, covered in drool, and tears in her eyes. He said, "She seems alright now. Did she throw up?" I nodded and said I got the food out. He stayed for a few minutes to make sure we were calm, telling me he had five kids of his own, and that it's always scarier for the parents than for the kids when they choke. Olive eventually gave me a little smile. I finally felt like she was alright.
So here I am, writing this while Olive sleeps, checking on her every now and then to make sure she is still breathing. I feel embarrassed, like if I was a better mom I could have prevented her from choking. If only I had given her something to drink after the stupid biscuit to make sure it all washed down. I'm lucky everything turned out fine, but I can't help but feel like I am to blame. This little life is dependent on me. She relies on me to make sure she is safe. The least I can do is make sure she swallows her food.
Well, I messed up. But I was able to fix it thanks to this article I read a couple weeks ago. If you have kids, please take the time to educate yourself on what to do. You never know what can happen...
To find a CPR/First Aid class near you: