The most terrifying thing that could ever happen to a parent happened to us two Thursdays ago. Holden stopped breathing. We were on a long, two hour car ride to Sacramento, racing to make it to my great-aunt's deathbed. Holden was sick with croup, overtired, and woke up suddenly after a short nap in the car to realize it was dark, he was not at home, and he was still restrained in his car seat when all he wanted was to be snuggled in bed between his parents. Upon that realization, he started wailing. With five minutes left of the drive I was busily checking my phone for directions while half-heartedly trying to calm Holden. And then he got my attention.
In the middle of crying, he just stopped. The car had been filled with screaming and then all of a sudden silence. We waited for him to take that next big breath, but it never happened. Within seconds the realization that he had stopped breathing hit me and I ripped him from the carseat, turned him on his side, and started hitting him on the back.
As I slapped him on the back willing him to inhale, Dustin swerved from lane to lane presumably trying to decide the correct course of action while the frenzied panic clouded his ability to actually come to a decision. Should I pull over? I need to get to him. I hope no one hits our car. Should I drive to a hospital? Where is a hospital? Breath damnit!
When I realized the back slapping wasn't working I held him up at eye level and watched as his head flopped back and his eyes rolled back in his head. I screamed at Dustin trying to relay what was happening as he watched helplessly through the rear view mirror. Breath into his mouth, he shouted. I did and Holden inhaled, looking up at me with a ghost-like complexion and fear in his eyes. I kissed his face and held him close, not taking my hand from his chest which was now expanding and collapsing as it filled with air. Finally.
My wonderful, amazing, brave, supportive husband fought through the fear and panic as he soothed, calmed, and reassured me and continued driving to the hospital while I knew the only thing he wanted to do was dive into the backseat and hold his little boy, quite possibly never letting go. I sat in the back crying and like a broken record, repeating over and over this is not ok. A few minutes after the incident, Holden was fine. I was not and still am not. In the realest way possible, I thought I was going to lose my baby that night and that is a feeling that I will remember for the rest of my life.
It turns out that this was a breath-holding spell and thankfully, nothing more serious. This is just another reminder that we are blessed to have our good health, that life can change in an instant, and to hold on, appreciate, and cherish all of life's little moments.