My Child Choking? It Will Never happen To Me, Or So I Thought!

Wednesday the 1st of August was the most horrific day of my life: My 4-year-old son, Gabriel nearly died.

I’m usually a very private person and don’t share much on social media. However, after coming to terms with the trauma of helplessly watching my son suddenly stop breathing, I decided to share my story.  Why? Because It can happen to any of us, and we all need to be aware.

Wednesday did not get off to a good start right from the moment the day began. After a night of Gabe’s being up with a cough, I decided to keep him home from school. He could lay in bed, play with his toys and watch t.v. (we have a nanny who could pop in and check on him, he is quite independent).

I hopped off to gym, late and exhausted. I started my warm up half-heartedly and then my every day routine, during a round of mountain climbers, I popped my knee cap. It was horrible, I couldn’t move. I was in so much pain.  Long story short, I was rushed to hospital and drugged up on Ketamine. Currently, I’m on bed rest with a black, bulky and very unflattering brace which stretches hideously from ankle to thigh and going in for a serious knee operation on the 28th.

It was so strange how it happened. Never, in this universe, would Marc and I  ever both be home together at 3:30 in the afternoon, thanks to our busy schedules. But I thank the man in the sky that we were, and to a large extent I was thankful that I had damaged my knee.

Gabriel was watching t.v. and playing with his toys, he happened to be popping it in and out of his mouth, I didn’t really notice. – I am living with such shame and guilt, so no need to mom shame thanks. Anyways, he started coughing. It took me about 5 seconds to realize what was going on, despite the fact he was right next to me on the bed!!!!! I started screaming for Marc: “He’s choking, he’s choking”. My husband grabbed him and instinctively attempted to do the Heimlich – it wasn’t working. I tried helplessly to get up and help, which I couldn’t courtesy of my brace. This didn’t stop me from screaming though.  Within those couple of seconds that passed Marc had attempted to do the Heimlich more than 5 times,  while Gabriel’s face turned from red, to blue, to purple; his eyes bulging and blood spots appearing on his face. It was by far the scariest moment of my life, to date. We were hysterical, he was suffocating, and we couldn’t do anything to help him. Marc’s panic turned into action as he gave one more strong movement which he feared might break Gabriel’s rib/s however, in that moment any plan we could muster seemed better than just helplessly watching what was unfolding right before my eyes. Gabriel vomited, and the toy came out and with it blood and the sight of my son now gasping for air.  But he was alive, he was breathing again! We rushed him, at the pace that my brace would allow, though to emergency room where they x-rayed him, examined the source of bleeding, his pulse and oxygen levels. Thankfully, he was fine.

Marc and I came home that night, beyond traumatized. We could have lost our child in those few helpless moments. I have cried myself to sleep for the last 3 nights, my mind constantly re-envisioning the audial, asking myself “What if…?”

What if I wasn’t home?

What if he choked alone in the room and my nanny found his body?

What if I hadn’t damaged my knee a few hours before?

What if Marc froze in fear not knowing what do to?

What if it was just me at home and I froze like I fear I might have?

What if I wasn’t able to save him?

What if Marc wasn’t able to save him?

What if…?

I thank god my day panned out the way it did, and Gabriel is alive.

I have kept him home from school up until today. I can’t let him out of my sight.

It has made me realize a few things:

  1. I’m a complete idiot for not knowing CPR and 1st For a mother of 3 small kids this is ridiculous. I have since booked a CPR course for the whole household.Tamsyn
  2. 4 years old is still too young to leave my son alone in a room to watch t.v. and play – I don’t care how independent he is.
  3. We all need a safety app or emergcancy numbers on hand. We have Rapid Response now
  4. We cleared out every, and I mean every item in the house, smaller than a golf ball!
  5. Everything happens for a reason, my leg was damaged purposely to ensure both Marc and I were in the room, on my bed, at that exact moment and not out at work.

It has been 5 days and I still feel sick to my stomach. It happening however, has opened by eyes as to how naïve I have been. Never did I think this could happen to my kids or my family. But it did, and I thank god that I got the opportunity to learn from this experience instead of sitting, weeping asking: “Why us? Why did it have to happen to us?” never having the opportunity to gain from such an audial.

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