December 30, 2012

Clayton’s Scary Adventure

Sometimes the fragileness of life can get a choke-hold on me.  I come face to face with the reality that I am not in control of life.  I cannot see the future, and my plans on how life should go are not always His plans.   Sometimes it takes me awhile to work through the mess.  Sometimes I sink deep into soul ugliness.  Sometimes God steps in and carries me through.
I had one of these “life is so fragile” moments back in August…      
August 11, 2012 Clayton was 11 days old.   The kiddies, my mom, and I drove to Cascade, Idaho to spend the day at Family Camp and to pick up Andy and bring him home.  It was great to spend the day at Camp and Clayton did very well for is first big venture away from home.   When we got back home after a very long day, the older kiddies went straight to bed.  Clayton was fed, burped, changed, loved on and put in his little box. (No it isn’t actually a box, that’s just what we have always called it) A few minutes later, Andy heard him gagging, choking and in distress, so he immediately picked him up, flipped him over and began patting/slapping him on the back to help clear his airway.  When I came into the room and Andy told me what had happened, it really scared me.  I sat down and started rocking my littlest man, feeling very emotional and also very thankful that Andy had been in the room and had heard Clayton in distress.   As I sat and rocked him, holding him close, and the tears cleared from my eyes, I started watching his breathing.   Breath in, breath out, pause…..  shallow breath in, breath out, pause…   His coloring was very pale, and he just seemed very tired and limp.   Well this certainly alarmed me and I called for my mom to come check him.  I gave Clayton to her to hold so she could watch him.  He continued the same respiratory pattern, shallow breathing followed by short periods of apnea.   Momma was holding him upright, watching, and his breathing continued to get shallower and the pauses were getting longer.  I do not panic easily, but I could feel it coming on, I was not processing well.  Momma said, “call your pediatrician”… I couldn’t remember where I had the number saved.  I few seconds later she said “ just call 911”  So Andy called.  We were both so worried about the ambulance taking him to our small hospital here in town.  We have been told that if you have something serious medically going on, to “go over the hill” to one of the big hospitals.  Both of these are 45-50 minutes away.   Andy asked the 911 operator if they would take Clayton over the hill, and the operator told him that decision would be left up to the paramedics.  While we waited, my mom was holding Clayton upright, he continued to have shallow breaths, then a pause, then momma would talk to him and rub his chest then he would breathe again.  During this time I was pacing between the front door and the room where Clayton, my mom, and Andy were.   Finally, 3 police officers arrived, 2 came in the room and watched Clayton’s respirations, asked some questions, and observed with us how he appeared to just get more and more shallow.  Then Officer K, calmly but with urgency suggested that they would just take us to the hospital, and not wait for the ambulance to get to the house.  So momma handed me Clayton and told me to keep his mouth up by my ear so that I could hear if he was breathing.  I was so scared, I was afraid to hold him, I thought he was dying.    Andy and I go out with the officers, momma stays at the house with the other kiddies. We got into their SUV and officer H takes off for the hospital.  At first I had Clayton’s mouth to my ear, but could not hear.  I didn’t realize until later that the sirens were screaming, so that’s why I couldn’t hear anything.  (I thought they only had used their lights and not sirens-I never heard the sirens) So then I had Clayton to my mouth.  Sometimes I could feel him exhale, mostly I couldn’t feel anything, and it was so dark I couldn’t see anything. I just talked to him, “come on baby” over and over.   At first the plan was to meet up with the ambulance.  But thankfully officer H took us the whole 3 minutes to the hospital.  The ambulance was sitting there in the ER parking lot--after seeing the 2 paramedics on duty, I was thankful that the officers had come first.   The ER staff had the door open and a room ready.  I laid him down on the bed, under the bright lights and the nurse took his sleeper off.  He was now naked, and under very bright lights, and was becoming more alert.  They connected him to a pulse oximeter and his O2 saturation was 97%.  This was very good!  His breathing was back to normal.  He did not appear to be in any distress and his color was better.  The doc was right there and started checking him out. He asked some questions and I described what we had observed. At this point I was calm and thinking clearly; relieved that we were at the hospital. After just a minute of examining Clayton, the doc said to me, “you know what this is called right?” I thought about responding with a “no, that’s why we brought him to you, duh”, but I didn’t.    He then informed me that this is called periodic newborn breathing and is common in infants.      I do not remember learning about this in nursing school, it is not listed in any of my nursing books, and I have never witnessed this breathing pattern in either of my two other kiddies or in anyone else’s babies.      The doc also wanted to do a chest x-ray to check his lungs because of the choking episode.   Following the x-ray we waited for it to be read.  Interesting fact: all x-rays taken here at our small town hospital are read by someone at St. Alphonsus in Boise.    During this time, Clayton’s O2 sats were 97-99%, I knew that pulse ox machine was not going to lie.  My little man appeared to be doing fine!      I think it was close to 1 am when they discharged us.  Because of our speedy trip with Officer H, when did not have our own vehicle or Clayton’s car seat.  So we called a friend to pick us up and take us home.  The nurse asked us if we had a car seat and I thought the guy picking us up would have his son’s car seat in the car…. But twas not the case.  Thankfully she didn’t push the issue, and I just held him on the short ride to our house.  Andy and I arrived home, so gratefully for how things had turned out.  For the next two nights he slept in his little chair by the couch and my mom slept on the couch.  We watched him so closely, and he has never breathed that way again.   I did some follow up research on periodic newborn breathing, and thought through the scenario in my mind several times so that I would be mentally and medically prepared should this happen again, but it never did.  Thank God!    Despite our concerns of taking him to our small hospital here in town, I have no complaints and feel Clayton received excellent care. 

The fragileness of life hit me hard after returning from the hospital.  As I laid down that night, I looked at his empty box right beside me. (he was in the living room with my mom)  I picked up his little stuffed animal and cried. I cried hard over the “what if’s”, I cried hard because earlier that evening I had held my 11 day old son and thought he was dying in my arms.   I cried hard because I had no guarantee of life.  I am not in control; I cannot see into the future; but I know who is in control and who does know all. I clearly remember feeling that at that moment I had a choice to make.    I could choose to trust that He had it all in control and that He knows what is best, and I could rest in that knowledge or I could close my hand and heart to God and try on my own to be in control.  I could not stay awake during the night watching him sleep and making sure this didn’t happen again.  I had to choose to trust, to rest; I had to choose to place my baby in His loving hands. I will do my best as a mama to keep all my children from harms way and to keep them as healthy as possible, but some things are just out of my hands.  God gave me such a peace, not a promise that life would be perfect and nothing bad would happen, but a peace that comes with trust. I can trust Him with my most precious treasures!   Clayton has not shown those symptoms again.  I feel very thankful each time I look into his little face.  I am very aware of the fact that things could have been different.  I am thankful for His peace in my heart.  I am blessed!  



Alanna said...

Wow Dixie! What a scary experience! So thankful the little guy is okay. Thank God for His peace.

Stephanie said...

Such a story! Beautifully written. I remember laying in bed up at camp just a praying & praying...imagining what your Mama heart must have been thankful along with you for Clayton 's health & his beautiful (big!) healthy self today.