Two weeks ago today I wrote about the highs of life with Faith. The very next day, I experienced a low low.
The story starts just as Rob described it in his post, Intussusception. Faith refused her morning bottle and then threw up twice. What he left out was that while he was trying to console our miserable baby, I was in the shower, doing something I don't do enough of (no, not scrubbing behind my ears and in my belly button) I was praying. My prayer to God was short and sweet. I just asked for him to give me the strength it would take to deal with a sick child, not knowing that later I would need every ounce of strength I had to make a very important phone call.
After Rob left for work, Faith seemed tired, so I let her rest in her crib. In talking with my mom, who has enough motherly instinct for the both of us combined, she convinced me that no matter how tired Faith seemed, she needed to eat because with her small size she could easily get dehydrated. I agreed and tried again to feed her. I dribbled milk on her lips, put the nipple in her mouth...nothing. I called her name. No response. "Faith,' I said a little louder. "You need to eat." Still nothing. Panic started to rise. "Faith,' I yelled. "FAITH!" She opened her little blue eyes but only for a second before drifting back off.
I knew something wasn't right. My baby had never done this before. She had a doctor appointment scheduled, but it wasn't until 11:20 and it was only 8:45. I knew I couldn't wait that long. More importantly, Faith couldn't wait that long. My baby needed help. And she needed it now.
This is when I started to lose it. I quickly strapped her in her car seat, put her in the car, then ran back in the house to get her food and diaper bag, almost forgetting my phone on the couch. If ever there was an angel watching over someone, it was now. I can just picture my grandma Willie up in heaven willing me to grab my phone before I left the house. I saw it out of the corner of my eye on my way out the door and thew it in my pocket before getting in my car and speeding away from the house.
We were barely down the street when I lost it for the first time. Faith wasn't responding again. I screamed her name, turned the radio on full blast, touched her head. Nothing. I pulled over and threw the car in park. I jumped in the backseat. She was breathing. Thank you God. I quickly got back in the driver's seat, my mind spinning. "How the hell do I get to Children's Hospital?" I wondered. I speed dialed my mom and told her what was happening. Calmly she said the words I'd been silencing from my own mind. "You need to call 9-1-1." Full freakout mode. "I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know," I kept repeating. She told me again to call 9-1-1. This time I listened.
Now, I wanted to try to obtain the call from the police, but was told that I needed some forms signed by somebody important. I didn't want to jump through a bunch of hoops, so I declined. What follows is my memory of the call. I did not cry. I did not sob. I knew I had a job to do and that was to get help for my baby.
"9-1-1, what's you emergency?"
"I'm on the Interstate. I'm getting off on the 13th Street exit. I have a 4-month-old. She's unresponsive. I need an ambulance. I'm turning into the Jimmy John's on 13th street. (runs red light) My baby won't respond. Faith. FAITH! Please hurry! PLEASE!"
I proceeded to repeat myself a few times. She asked me several questions and I pleaded with her to hurry some more. I whipped into the JJ parking lot, threw my car into park and jumped into the backseat for the second time. I hadn't been able to tell from my position in the front seat if Faith was breathing in the backseat and it was the longest 5 minute drive of my life. I'm afraid to type the things that were going through my head at the time. In short, I thought I was losing my baby girl...and my dream of being a mom. I thought it was going to be gone. All gone. In the blink of an eye. And to think she'd been perfectly healthy and fine when we put her to bed the night before. But she was breathing. My eyes were glued to her chest rising and falling.
It wasn't two minutes later and I heard sirens. Sweet, glorious sirens. Help was here. All the commotion woke Faith out of her daze. When the paramedics went to tend to her, she seemed to be doing OK, other than I knew she was not OK. I pride myself on being able to read people and I read from their faces they thought I was nutso. First time mom, one of them asked, but only after determining that Faith was not in life-threatening danger.
I told them I wanted Faith to go to Children's and they asked if I wanted to follow the ambulance in my car. This right here defies the myth that there is no such thing as a stupid question. I wouldn't have cared if they towed my car to Timbuktu, I was riding in the squad with my baby to the hospital. My mind was still zooming 100mph on that ride but I knew that at least Faith's breathing was being monitored. (I know now in hindsight that Intussusception has nothing to do with the lungs, but at the time, the lethargicness that Faith was exhibiting scared me more than anything).
We rode to the hospital without the bells and whistles. Apparently the medics didn't feel it was necessary. Their call. All I can say is that when I saw a woman in the waiting room at the ER holding a toddler who was puking into a towel, I was glad we had ridden in an ambulance and thus got right into a room.
I don't care if anyone I crossed that day thought I was crazy for calling 9-1-1. I know in my heart I did what was right. And I will never, ever, ever, regret doing what I thought was (and turned out to be) the best for my baby. Rob arrived to the ER shortly after Faith and I got there so his story on the blog pretty much takes it from here. I just wanted to fill in the blanks that he wasn't present for.
And I know what some people may be thinking. Why would you ever want to hear the phone call, feel the panic in your voice, and relive the awful, horrific moment in your life all over again? Because. Because I don't ever want to take one second of Faith's precious life here on Earth for granted. When she throws a fit in Target for the first time, when she breaks something of value to us, when she stays out past her curfew, I want to remember how freaking lucky I am to have her here with us. I want to remember the feeling of absolute and utter dread that washed over me during the car ride from hell in order to appreciate the polar opposite feeling of joy even more.
When I think back to that day 10 years from now, I will remember it not as Intussusception (that's extremely hard to pronounce and spell) but as "the Interception," the day in our lives when we thought everything was going our way only for it to change directions in an instant. We will remember because we don't want to forget how fortunate we are to have such a blessing in our lives. To have Faith.
AKA, this girl.