Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"911 What's your emergency?"

This is not a question you want directed at you, and moreover, a question that you need to answer. I've had a few moments these past two years that I will never forget, and this will indeed be one that is added to the short list. Ryann had surgery last Wednesday, September 8th, and so I was home alone Thursday evening with Regan and Reese. (More on Ryann surgery later.) Reese hasn't been herself these past couple of days. She seems fussy and hasn't eaten well. I can't really put my finger on it, but as her Mom, I just knew she was different. I got home from St. Vincent hospital in Indy Thursday evening around 7:30. Exhausted, but relieved to be home, I took back my "baby duties" and let my Mom go home. She mentioned that Reese wasn't herself and that she just seem to miss me. She said when she fed her, it was almost as she was looking at her with a question on her face asking, "where's my mom?" Poor baby! I couldn't put my finger on it, but she just wasn't herself. Because I had spent little time with the girls the past two days as I was splitting my days with Ryann in the hospital and with Regan and Reese back home, I couldn't wait to spend some time with them at their 9:00 feeding. The feeding began just as usual. I changed them and they were smiling and cooing as I put them in their boppies to begin the feeding. Reese was a little fussy as I began to feed, almost as though she realized how hungry she really was (although she just ate 2 hours ago at 7:00!) Shortly after she started eating, the bottle fell out of her mouth and she screamed. When I picked up the bottle, I realized she had already taken 2 ounces, so I knew she was due for a burp. She didn't quite act right as I was burping her, almost like she had an air bubble or something in her chest. Although I burped her for a while, she didn't really burp or atleast that I noticed, but she seemed a little better and more relaxed like she had worked through whatever was bothering her, so I put her back down and started feeding her again. She began screaming again and acting like she was very hungry, half crying, half sucking. And then it happened. She started making a weird noise. I picked her up and she was just different. I picked up the phone to call Adam, but what was he going to do? He was an hour away and couldn't help, so I called my friend Cindy, who lives 5 minutes away. Cindy is also a respiratory therapist, so I knew if something was wrong with her airway, she would know what to do. Besides the fact that I was exhausted and my nerves were shot, I was alone, so I just needed someone with me to convince me that she was okay! I continued burping her and keeping her air way open by putting my hand under her chin, lifting her head. She started to mimic breathing, she was sucking in her chest, but there was no air moving in or out. I kept burping, pausing momentarily to see if she was breathing. I'd feel her chest, I'd feel her back, I'd listen for air movement...there was none! These are all things we've learned to do from the NICU days. Because our babies were premiee's we are familiar with these events and know what to do and how to stimulate them. But even though I was doing everything right, she began to be limp in my arms, I looked at her, and although she hadn't lost consciousness, she was turning blue around her lips and nose. I jumped up, ran to our home phone and called 911. As I rushed over to the phone and dialed, I remember thinking, "I cannot believe this is happening, this just CAN'T be happening!" As soon as I dialed 9-1-1 and pushed the "talk" button, I heard, "911, What is your emergency?" I remember screaming, "My baby's not breathing!!" Immediately, I heard the dispatchers in the background repeating my address to the emergency personnel, so I knew they were on their way. The dispatcher began asking me questions, most of those next few moments, I don't remember. All I remember is saying that she wasn't breathing over and over and praying and all of a sudden she began to cry. Immediately, I knew that this was a good sign! The man asked if that was her and I said it was and he reassured me that if she was crying, she was breathing. All the while, poor Regan was crying because her bottle fell out of her mouth and she was hungry...poor girl! Reese still wasn't quite back to normal, I could tell she was working through it, but she was much better. She stopped crying for a moment, and then began crying again, only this time it was her strong LOUD cry. Thank you Jesus! About a minute later the paramedics and fire trucks arrive. The medical personnel came right inside and took Reese from me. The lady looked at her and Reese smiled. She was ok! A couple minutes later, Cindy arrives at my house. (Cindy left immediately when I called her and she only lives 5 minutes away, and yet the EMT's got there before her...kudos to the fast response of the EMT's!) Thank you Lord for her! The paramedics suggested we take her to the hospital to be evaluated. But, I didn't really feel it was necessary, and with Cindy there, I felt comfortable staying home. Cindy stayed for a while, put Reese in the bouncy seat and sat her right in front of her on the couch. She laid on the couch for about 30 minutes not taking her eyes off of her, looking a her breathing techniques, etc - all of those respiratory therapist things that I know nothing about- and she reassured me that she was ok and I knew the right thing to do as her Mommy. It was 11:30 and we were all exhausted. By now, Reese had been asleep for a while with no incidents. Cindy left, I prayed for protection over them and we all went to bed. What a dramatic ending to a couple of exhausting and emotional days! Friday morning, I got a call from Adam that Ryann was being discharged and by Friday afternoon we were all back as a family, all alive and well! The Lord is faithful!

Conclusion: We still aren't sure exactly what happened to Reese. She might have just got choked up or it might have been her reflux. There's no way to know for sure. She wasn't herself the few days we were going back and forth to Indy for Ryann. Maybe her schedule was off and she wasn't eating or sleeping the same...who knows! I knew all week that she wasn't herself. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what was going on but knew it wasn't quite right. Thankfully, she is back to her beautiful, smiley, and spunky self!

Lesson Learned: If you are like us, we have been debating for days, weeks, months, and years if we should get rid of our land line. We barely use it and feel like we are wasting $40/mo for a phone we hardly use. However, my mind is made up and the discussion is officially over: we are keeping our land line. I had my cell phone sitting right next to me when I knew I needed to call 911. Instead, I instinctively jumped up and headed straight for the land line. I knew they can track me immediately instead of wasting precious time while I tell them my address. Yes, they can eventually track my location with my cell phone using technology like satellites and cell phone towers, but who wants to wait for that? The moment I said, "my baby's not breathing!" I heard someone in the background giving my address to the emergency personnel. I didn't have to give them my address. What if I couldn't remember my address at that moment? What if there was a mix-up in the address he thought I told him? What if this happened just one feed before to my mom and she had to use her cell phone because we didn't have a land line but didn't know my address to tell the dispatcher?  What if my cell phone wasn't charged or the cell phone of the baby sitter wasn't charged?  So, my take...if you are contemplating ditching your land line, don't!! If you don't have a land line, you might consider getting one! It's worth the $40/mo in our budget and if we can't afford it, I'm willing to forgo a few extras in life to ensure we have this essential safety feature in our house!

Update on Ryann: Ryann had surgery on Wednesday to repair her tethered spinal cord. She did great during surgery and it went completely as planned. We are trusting the Lord for a complete recovery and a perfectly healthy girl! He is our healer!


Jenny said...

O Tami, I know you had already told me this story on the phone, but to read it made me cry. You are such a brave mom! I am so glad everyone is ok! You have made me think about getting our land line back. Love ya!

Tiff said...

Oh my Tami!
Glad the surgery went well... wondering like you said, if it was her reflux. My Owen used to do that in the NICU... even stimulation wouldn't help him. Even being a nurse, and having a lot of ICU experience, I would have done the same thing. THANK GOD it was a good outcome!

Meghan Rogers said...

So glad everyone is ok. What a scary scary moment!

Ms. Munro said...

How scary! PRAISE GOD for His protection over you, Adam and all three of your darling girls.

Glad you went for the landline! Keeping the landline is a great idea. I have done my share of babysitting, and nothing came in handy more than a phone placed by a fridge, with emergency numbers posted right next to it. In an emergency even a very level-headed person's mind can just go blank.