Monday, February 8, 2010

Another close call

Ashlinn's first illness was fairly memorable to say the least. We have been blessed with a healthy little girl who never been the slightest bit sick until now. She starting displaying symptoms of the flu Friday, acting as though she just couldn't get enough sleep and was somewhat lethargic. By Saturday morning, while at Target, she began vomiting anything and everything that entered her tummy. We got her home pretty quickly, and as soon as we entered the house and set her car seat down, she made a very slight but eerie gasping noise. I peered down at her to see an odd sort of look on her face. She was staring straight ahead, not moving, and her eyes seemed completely empty. I told myself she was just really exhausted from running errands, but I knew something was wrong.

My suspicion was confirmed upon removing her from her car seat. She was completely limp and starting to turn blue. I yelled for Ryan to grab the nasal bulb aspirator (that plunger-looking device you get from the hospital for newborns for sucking out excess mucous, etc.). I began pounding her on the back to try and loosen up whatever it was. Ryan returned quickly with the aspirator and we began sucking out the vomit she'd aspirated into her lungs.

After about 10 seconds pounding on her, cleaning out her airway, etc., she began to respond, trying desperately to cry. She's let out quiet, quick gasps but then would stop breathing again. She was turning more and more blue. We kept at it, reaching our fingers in to clear her throat out a bit, and kept sucking more and more out of her throat and lungs. Finally more signs of life as she'd cry for about 5 seconds at a time and her face and limbs went from blue to purple to red. She was back.

After she was stabilized and breathing normally again, we ran her to Urgent Care where we were quickly sent to the ER. Everything checked out okay, including her chest x-rays, and she even had a blood oxygen rate ranging from 95 - 100 (percentage of oxygen in blood). We were kept there for about 4 hours, we assumed, to make sure she wouldn't take a turn for the worse. The doctor explained that negative aspiration side-effects can take about 6 hours to really show up and in children as young as Ashlinn, can quickly manifest into something serious and deadly.

Ashlinn still wasn't able to keep anything down at this point but I kept nursing her often, hoping she'd at least receive some benefit. The nurse eventually started her on Pedialite to help counteract dehydration and restore some electrolytes, and she started improving quite a bit after that. We were all exhausted at that point, and neither Ryan nor myself had eaten anything for nearly 8 hours, so we were ecstatic when they gave us the go ahead to leave and keep a close eye on our little one. Needless to say, we didn't leave her by herself for even a second the rest of the day, night, and into the next day.

We are truly grateful that our baby girl is such a fighter and is as stubborn as her mama. I am scared to think what would/could have happened if I didn't hear that first little warning sign, or if Ryan wouldn't have been able to find the aspirator, etc. Ashlinn has changed our lives forever and I don't know how we could ever function if we lost her.

In the midst of drama, I try and think of the positives that I can take out of the situation. Here are some I thought of while waiting at the hospital:
(1) We realized once again that we are capable parents and able to do what is necessary in an emergency
(2) We are able to realize all over again just how much we love our baby girl and appreciate everything about her (we'll take the good with the bad!)
(3) Seeing all of the ill people in and out of the ER that day (including a sickly teeny tiny preemie baby) made us truly appreciate our health
(4) Thank God for health insurance and flexible spending accounts!!!
(5) Ryan and I had a great excuse to eat junk food after the whole ordeal - we only eat at unhealthy fast food restaurants once or twice a year, and rarely eat red meat, but we needed quick calories and what better choice than Wendy's?


  1. This still upsets me. I can't read it.

  2. Upsetting - yes, very much so. As you and I discussed the other day, we feel somewhat guilty mentioning this instance as a big deal because we have many loved ones with children with chronic ailments and this was one day of our lives... At the same time, I also believe we're entitled to feel pretty shaken up, while also grateful that it was just one day and nothing chronic. Gotta love that beautiful little girl. I still don't know how we got so lucky, or how we created something so perfect. :o) She makes me a proud Mama every day.

  3. Holy Shit. That's terrifying! Jenn, unless you greatly exaggerate (which I doubt), you should really should consider a medical career -- EMT, PA, nursing, etc. I'm struck by your instinct to respond and remain functional.

  4. If anything, I probably underexaggerated how scary it was. Thanks for the compliment, Kate. You're too nice! I've always loved the medical profession and plan on going into radiology, PA, nursing, or something of the sort. It would be lovely to know what I want to be when I grow up...