It was about 6 PM on a gloomy September evening 5 years ago. Nat was a mere 13 months old and hadn’t been feeling well for a few days, and that day really hadn’t been any different. She woke up that morning with little to no appetite and running a low-grade fever. There was nothing alarming that indicated she needed to go to the doctor. To my husband and I it seemed like an average cold virus. She had been sick before and even hospitalized once before. What happened next was not what we expected.
I was in the process of cooking dinner when my husband alerted me our daughter’s sudden change in behavior. Her skin had turned a sickening pale color and she had begun lying on the furniture, falling asleep while standing up and her fever had spiked. This wasn’t like her and we knew she probably needed to see a doctor at this point. However, the only place we could go to was the ER. We just had this feeling she needed help and needed it quickly so we left everything including dinner still steaming on the stove. Off to the hospital we went and had no idea what sort of whirlwind we were facing.
It was a very long 10 hours in the ER when we were finally loaded into an ambulance and transported to a children’s hospital where our daughter would receive specialized care. Her condition was worsening and the ER we took her to first could no longer help her.
It was at that moment that motherhood changed for me. They turned on the lights and sirens and off we went racing down the highway. I can remember the paramedics were talking with the doctor throughout the drive. They were whispering about performing a possible tracheotomy her soon due to her rapidly decreased oxygen levels. Thankfully, about that time they were calling in to let the hospital know we were arriving and to have a sterile room prepped for her. It took us 45 minutes to make a drive that should have taken twice as long.
The ambulance pulled into the bay and it was less than a minute and the paramedics had her out and running down the hallway inside the building. I was in a daze. My child had been ripped from me as I was left standing at a security checkpoint. I had no idea what was going on and I couldn’t reach my husband. Suddenly I had this overwhelming feeling that we would never see my child again. Motherhood didn’t feel the same to me from that point on. I felt numb and that feeling would change in the coming days or weeks.
I quickly figured out that I would kill for this child. I would lay down my own life and die for her. I had never in the 12 months prior to this had a feeling quite as overwhelming as this one. Sure when she was born I immediately had a bond with her unlike any other, but still nothing like this. To this day, 5 years later when I think about this event in our lives I get teary eyed. Fear of the unknown has left me awake at night, and it makes me feel a little better knowing I am not alone as many other parents are right there with me.
We spent 14 days with her at the children’s hospital as she battled pneumonia. At any given time she had nine different medications going into her little body. She had to be put in a coma. She had a blood transfusion from all of the blood tests they were running. They gave her x-rays every two hours for two days to monitor the hole in her lung. She was given echocardiograms among so many other tests.
My husband and I watched this happening through a fog. We were exhausted and holding on to each little piece of good news the doctors would give us. Finally, after 14 days we were allowed to take her home. We arrived at that hospital in September and left in October. We never knew on that brisk September night that we would come home with our hearts changed. Our love for this little girl had grown and as a mother, I would never be the same.
We were very protective of this little girl from that point on. Not knowing if we would experience that horror all over again. Little did we know we would experience that same feeling all over again over the coming years. She has suffered greatly with asthma and allergies and her triggers were simple things like turning a ceiling fan on and dust falling from it. To this day we are very conscious of her surroundings and what she comes into contact with.
As a mom who has gone through the unthinkable, I understand the feeling of the unknown. I feel like we have all had these moments at some point in our journey of motherhood. It’s moments like these that make me live with a little more intention in my daily life.
Thank you for reading!
P.S. If you liked this article you can head over and read all about how I parent this wonderful little strong-willed child.