Wednesday, 06 July 2011
So, my mother kept my children while my husband and I unpacked for a full day, and she was bringing them up to the new house that day.
I got a phone call that day that made my heart absolutely stop. Side note: My mom and dad are both absolutely horrible in emergency situations...
My mom: "Jill, we have a problem. Do you have scissors or a knife?" (panic in her voice)
Me: Yes, I'm coming outside, where are you? (me thinking if she's calling she's in the driveway or in the neighborhood)
My mom: "No, in your car? Do you have scissors or a knife in your car?" (still panicking)
Me: "What's the situation? No I don't have one in the car, but I can come meet you."
My mom: "Isabel took the seat belt and somehow got it around her neck."
Me: I listen, don't hear Isabel or Caroline talking, screaming... nothing.
Me: "Hang up and call 9-1-1!" (thinking why in the Hades is she calling me instead of 9-1-1)
Me: "MOM! Did you hear me, hang up and call 9-1-1!!!"
My mom: "She's not in respiratory distress."
Me: "Then why is she not talking???" (starting to get anxious, still wondering why she hasn't called 9-1-1)
My mom: "She's just scared. I can put two fingers in between her neck and the seat belt."
Me: "Where are you? Is she breathing? Are her lips normal color? Is she conscious?" (still wondering why she won't hang up and call 9-1-1)
My mom: "I pulled off of an exit on the side of highway 301." (I'm thinking great, she's a good 1 hour away!)
Me: "Keep your two fingers there and assess her breathing continuously. Look around, what is a close landmark you can visually see?"
My mom: "Days Inn." (she's starting to get really upset-me thinking great, now she's really useless in an emergency when she gets all choked up... seen it happen before when I had to start CPR on my uncle after a heart attack)
Me: "Is there a Barbie in the car?" (Isabel loves Barbies)
My mom: "Yes." (crying and panicking)
Me: "Have you not been able to wave anyone down? Has no one stopped off the exit yet?"
Me: "Put a Barbie in between her neck and the seat belt low on the neck, not high or else it will place too much cricoid pressure. Just enough to keep enough space for breathing. Drive to the Days Inn. I will look up the number, call them, tell them what you are driving and the situation and tell them to go outside with scissors and cut the seat belt. Call me the minute you get there!" (knowing we have at least 2 minutes IF she lost consciousness to do mouth to mouth and was going to tell the Days Inn to call 9-1-1 just in case as if you use a cell phone, it bounces off the closest tower and they cannot transfer from counties in this state yet; me knowing respiratory failure is the leading cause of child death, not heart arrest like adults)
50 LONG seconds later, my mom calls me back.
My mom: "I'm here."
Me: "Is she still breathing?"
My mom: "Yes"
Me: "I tried calling them, phone was ringing, just get out, keep your fingers in between the seat belt and her neck. I will call them back."
My mom: "Someone is walking out of the Days Inn."
Me: "Well, hollar for help!"
I hear my mom hollar.
Then my mom gets back on the phone and says that the man is a trucker and is attempting to save my seat belt without cutting it but cannot find a lock release. I tell them I'm nervous and not to manipulate the seatbelt anymore as it could lock up even tighter and strangulate her, get scissors, cut it and call 9-1-1. My husband has figured out what's going on in bits and pieces of overhearing me and asks if they can unbuckle Isabel if she can stand up and get out, and they say no-it's too tight. He's amazingly calm since he's an ER physician and says, "Why is she calling you instead of 9-1-1 or highway patrol?" His mom (who was at the house helping us unpack and is a NICU nurse practitioner) says your wife has told her to hang up, stay with Isabel holding the seat belt off of her and to call 9-1-1. Then my husband asks why haven't the cut the seat belt yet? I shrug my shoulders and say they're not listening to me.
I look at the time, it has been 5 minutes since the initial call, and I tell them, "Cut my seat belt, I don't care!"
They still want to save my seat belt. I yell: "CUT MY SEAT BELT, I DON'T CARE!"
My seat belt got cut, Isabel got on the phone and said, "Mommy, I got my seat belt on my neck like a necklace. It was scary. I had to cut it. Uh-huh." (sweetest sound I have ever heard to date)
Me: "Love you, Isabel, don't put anything else around your neck. Do you understand? That was dangerous."
MORAL OF STORY: If you use the LATCH system, make sure your seat belts are locked or restrained in a way that they can't grab it. And keep scissors in your car.
I am amazed that we don't hear more tragic stories about seat belt strangulation and am just so thankful for that trucker who helped my mom to get the scissors. I am so thankful Isabel is okay! The outcome could have been much worse. I can't even imagine.
What's been the scariest parenting moment you've encountered so far?