10.7.2016 The Day I Thought Henry Might Die

Written by Amber

Henry and I needed to get out of the house yesterday, so we spent the afternoon returning dishes to people who’d given us meals, dropped off a baby gift and birthday gift and then got home in time for dinner and Henry’s bedtime routine. He’d started crying in the car but stopped when we got home so I didn’t think anything of it. He was happy to see daddy again and we put him on the ground to crawl around us. He instantly started crying again and crawled towards me, wanting to be held. Within seconds of picking him up, my world started spinning. His crying escalated and then stopped. Stopped because he stopped breathing. His lips turned blue, his eyes rolled back into his head and he went limp in my arms. I screamed at Brent to call 911 and I begged Henry to stay with me. I didn’t know what else to do but just rub his back trying to keep him from completely closing his eyes and being lost. In my panic, I put my lips to his and tried to give him my own breath. And just cried to have him stay alive. Medics were rushing through our door in minutes and whisked us away. By the time Henry and I were strapped inside the ambulance, he had come back to alertness and was scared of his new surroundings.

I can’t imagine what Brent felt watching his wife and baby get rushed away in the ambulance and having to follow in the car, not knowing if everything was okay. A few minutes after the nurses settled Henry and I into an ER room, Brent ran in with our surgeon, Dr. Lillehei, by his side. I was surprised at how emotional I got at seeing Dr. Lillehei there. He had been leaving the hospital for the day and saw Brent running in. He stopped Brent and asked what was going on. Immediately, he turned around and rushed Brent through security with his hospital badge and came back to us. This was just one more reason why we love him. He always goes the extra mile for us and we honestly look at him like family. We call him Grandpa Lillehei to Henry.

Anyway, Grandpa Lillehei tracked down the chief doctor of the ER and put him to work on us. We spent the next five hours in the ER running labs and tests to see if there were abnormalities that caused this. Thankfully everything looked okay but it was hard to hear that it’s not uncommon in young children to have what they call “breathing hold spells” where they get so upset they stop breathing. Looking back, Henry has had moments of severe crying since birth where he loses his breath and stops breathing. It scared us the first couple times but he’s always started breathing again after just a couple of seconds. At first it seemed like this was the case again but then it just spiraled into a severity I couldn’t have imagined. He was out for a solid 30 seconds which seemed like forever. My mama heart can’t do the severe version again. It’s too traumatic and close to losing him than I’d like to be.

I’m already feeling PTSD from this, complete anxiety and fear of recurrence. The second Henry has started to cry since this happened, I panic and want to calm him instantly before anything escalates. I haven’t been able to sleep because I just start feeling anxious and relive the moment where my baby went limp in my arms and I literally saw the breath taken away from him. I could have lost him. I felt like he was gone. I’m overwhelmed and traumatized to say the least. But we still have him, our miracle baby. He’s alive. Alive. To which I’m more grateful than I ever have been. I won’t waste a single moment with this precious boy so I’ll soak in every slobbery kiss and chomp he has to offer.