Friday, October 8, 2010

The Night my Heart Stopped

I had the scariest experience of my life last night.

After picking baby up from daycare, I was driving home when she began to get very restless.  She was already overtired when I picked her up, and I have learnt over the last few months that very little can be done to pacify an over-tired child.  Usually when she's tired and grumpy in the car, a small snack will keep her occupied when a dummy doesn't.  So I broke one of her muesli bars (which she loves) in half, and handed it to her.

She proceeded to dig into it, still whimpering every now and again (which was an indication that she was beyond tired, she was ready to crash), and continued the drive in some form of peace and quiet.  I should point out that traffic was in the usual post-peak hour condition - bumper to bumper but moving at a relatively normal pace.  

All of a sudden she started coughing.  She gets colds fairly regularly, as most children that attend daycare do (it's almost completely unavoidable the way any kind of infection/bug/virus circulates within the nursery), so I wasn't too alarmed.  Keep in mind, she loves these muesli bars, eats them all the time, has most of her teeth, and has no trouble eating the majority of solid food she is given.  But then the coughing turned into spluttering, and I looked around in alarm as the spluttering turned into choking.  Serious choking.

In that instant, I literally felt like my veins had turned to ice, and my heart was in my throat.  I screamed out her name and tried to reach back to her and push her tummy, but I knew it wouldn't work.  By this stage, I was sure I had stopped breathing too.  And this is what made it so scary.  If we were at home, I would grab her, pat her back vigorously, and stick my fingers down her throat if I needed to.  To my horror, I realised straight away that I could barely reach her, let alone pat her back, and we were in bumper to bumper traffic on a main road that I could not pull over on.  

She started going going red and gagging... choking so badly she was losing air.  I hit the accelerator, swerving around the car in front and over the kerb into the side street - screeching to a halt and jumping out of the car to run around the back and stick my fingers down my baby's throat to clear it and let her breathe. It sounds like a long story, but this all happened in about 20 seconds, and I've never been so terrified in my whole life.  As soon as she spewed a bit and gasped in a lungful of air, I slumped to the ground beside the car and cried and cried and cried.... I was shaking so hard I couldn't stand up.

I have never been so frightened in my entire life.  My heart literally stopped, I cannot explain the feeling of blind despair and horror that gripped me in that instant.  A parent should never outlive their child.  I think I experienced the tiniest glimpse, last night, of the horrific trauma a mother experiences when she loses her son or daughter.  I could never and would never claim to understand it, but it highlighted to me again last night exactly how much of my life she is.  Not only is a part of me walking around in the world, but if something were to happen to her, it would happen to me too.  If she died, that part of me would die.

I didn't make her stay in her cot to sleep last night.  When she woke up in the night, like she usually does occasionally.... I picked her up instead of laying her back down, and brought her into bed with mummy instead of patting her back to sleep. It was like she knew.  I hugged her and she clung tightly onto me until we both felt asleep.  I love my daughter so much, I could not even begin to imagine life without her.  And last night, I just wanted to hold her, counting every moment I had with her as a gift, to never ever let her go.  I will surely endeavour to never again take a moment with her for granted.  I am blessed to have been given a gift as wonderful, amazing and beautiful as my little girl - and honoured to be entrusted with raising her. 

Every day is a gift!

*today's entry written by the Luckiest Girl in the World*


  1. This is so true you never know until it happens to u i had the same thing happen to my sunday in church when i went with a few friends the pastor was preaching very big church then i heard my son age 3 choking i picked him up and patted his back and notice that it got worst i was so scared that it just felt like a part of my life was slipping away so out of nowhere i picked him up and bent him over on my knees and pushed on his back with forces and for sum reason he had picked up from nowhere a marble it just popped out of his mouth i can tell u right now you should have seen my face i just wanted to cry hugged him so much and never could forget that day would never ever want that to happen to me again your doing a great job as a mum it aint easy when u have to do it on your own i was brought up by one of my auntys and she was a solo mum as well what a great job that she did bringing up all of my cousin by her self so from me to you life is so short and u dnt know what u have until one day its gone people like u need to know that u r a great mum if u r ever feeling down just send me a message i dnt mined chatting my facebook name is john johnstone your daughter is so lucky to have a great mum like u being a mum is a 24/7 job take care and hope to here from u

  2. Elyse, my heart goes out to you. God bless you both.

    This is a prayer I have started with Willow at night..

    Dear lord our father
    I have come to say
    Thank you for your love today
    Thank you for my family
    And all the friends you give to me
    Please guard me in the dark of night
    And in the morning
    Please send your light.

    With Love Maria xoxo