I knew something was wrong.  She wasn't my first and I had breastfed before.  She wasn't eating. She had projectile vomited and she was listless.  I was covered in her vomit and by the lack of sensation in my breasts, I could tell that she wasn't getting any milk. She simply wasn't latching on.  She just sort of rubbed her face and mouth on my breast with each attempt to feed.

I got her home and kept attempting to feed her as I was instructed to do, but she still wasn't eating.  I tried to stay calm. On the outside, I was doing a pretty good job. But on the inside, I was dying and wanted to scream. My skin was crawling and I could feel myself mentally falling apart. I tried to arouse her by giving her a bath, but that didn't work either. 

Then it happened.  She began to breathe funny while my mom was holding her.  I shouted at my mom to turn around so I could see her and noticed that her limbs were turning blue.  I grabbed her and shouted to my mom to call 911.  I held her in the air and began screaming her name.  At that moment, her head fell back and towards her shoulder.  Her arms and legs hung heavily toward the ground. I watched as a dusky, grayish-blue color moved from her arms and legs to her trunk and then face.  My baby, whom I had only met 72 hours earlier, was lifeless in my hands. I watched the spirit she had leave her body.  

I wasn't ready to let her leave me and I was not going to let her go.  I placed her on the ground and put my cheek to her mouth.  I felt no breath.  I checked for a pulse and felt no pulse.  I tilted her head back, blew two rescue breaths into my newborn's mouth, then started chest compressions.  With each compression, I said the word "no" over and over again in my head.  I lost count of my compressions. Was I on twenty or twenty-five? Then, as if an angel had walked into the room, I saw the tip of a pair of black boots standing before me.  It was our fire rescue paramedics. Help had finally arrived. 

I don't remember much in those few following moments.  I've been told that I was calm and was able to give an accurate history.  I do remember feeling overwhelmed with fear and concerned with my CPR skills.  I remember questioning myself over and over again.  Had I given proper rescue breaths? Were my chest compressions deep enough? Did I do enough for her?  Was I able to help her?  Did I minimize any potential damage? Was she going to live? I remember thinking back to my CPR classes almost a year prior. 

I consider my child and myself lucky.  I was a nurse and knew what to do.  Although I may not have administered perfect CPR, I was able to initiate help immediately and have paramedics on the scene quickly.  Some families aren't so lucky, as many hospitals do not make CPR classes mandatory prior to taking a newborn home. 

During pregnancy, we are offered many different choice in prenatal classes.  CPR isn't one of the more glamorous ones, but it it the most essential one. Had I not known what to do, the outcome could have been very different.  Instead of sitting in front of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse every morning, I could be sitting in front of a grave site or an urn.  

Since this experience, I've felt a responsibility to share our story.  I hope this compels new and experienced parents alike to seek CPR training.   

You can find infant/child CPR classes offered through the two organizations below.


Anonymous said...

Heart wrenching.

Manjusha said...

You have a beautiful family Lynda! My heart goes out to the beautiful Emma. She is Gods blessing in true sense. I have no words to express after reading all about the little soul and your pain as a mother. All I can wish for is the strength God must give you and your family. Hugs!

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