Whiplash

July 14, 2014Filed under blog#family#kateMarkdown source

I have a pretty severe case of emotional whiplash1 at the moment. In the last eight hours, I have gone from jubilant to the most worried I have ever been to simple, utter exhaustion.

This afternoon, I heard back from a then-potential and now-actual client who hired me and a friend to design and build a web application for them. They are going to pay us a substantial sum to do it. This is fantastic. I have been hoping this particular opportunity would come through, because everything about it is appealing to me. It is an interesting application; I like the material it involves (a lot); I will learn a bit along the way; I will get to stretch my front-end design chops again; I will make some seriously good money at it. I am, in a word, stoked.


Fast forward four and a half hours. Jaimie and I are helping Ellie wrap up her evening activities and getting ready to take her upstairs and put her to bed. Kate is lying in a little sleep-rocker—her favorite spot to sleep during the day. She makes a bit of a coughing noise; we note it but think little of it (babies often make that kind of noise). A few minutes later, Jaimie is walking by and glances at Kate. Our baby girl is bright red and turning purple. She grabs her. “Kate! Breathe! Breathe, little girl!” She isn’t breathing; she is getting upset but she isn’t crying. (Babies cry at the drop of a hat.) Little bubbles at her mouth. Jaimie is doing the baby variation of the Heimlich maneuver. I am nearly helpless; I keep using my finger to pull Kate’s mouth open; she finally latches onto the finger, starts sucking, and breathes.

Thank God.

We hold her. She breathes—mostly normally. We keep paying close attention to her. The couple times I let her lay down on her back she starts seizing up and turning red again within a few minutes until I pick her up and pat her vigorously and she calms down again. We manage to get Ellie in bed. We call the doctor; she sends us to the hospital. A friend comes to watch Ellie and we run out the door. It is a 30-minute drive (and I am speeding, and Jaimie is holding Kate to make sure she keeps breathing).2 Kate wheezes off and on the whole way there. She still isn’t crying, and she should be. She hasn’t eaten in six hours; she should be hungry. Why isn’t she hungry?

They admit us. They get all her vitals. The doctor is a kind, soft-spoken man with the last name Saad; I like him. He asks dozens of good questions. He tells us, “95–99% of the time, this is just reflux. We just care about that other 1% of the time.” There is no reliable way to stop a baby from choking on milk she spits up because of reflux.3 They are going to do an EKG and chest X-rays just to make sure she is okay.

She seems to be okay. She is eating again—like a champ, like she normally does, like she should be.

I go home to relieve the wonderful friends who are sitting in our house to make sure Ellie is fine. Ellie is still sleeping. Good.

Breathe.


Whiplash. I am no less excited about that project. And my youngest daughter almost died tonight. Had she started choking while we were upstairs, or while we were all asleep tonight, God only knows what would have happened. We are grateful to God that we were feet away from Kate, that Jaimie “happened” to look at her just then. We are grateful, too, for the extra money coming in; it will help with the so-very-worth-it-but-not-easy-on-a-seminary-budget cost of an emergency room visit.

Ice cream.

I think I’m going to sleep now. Hopefully tomorrow is less extreme.


  1. So much so that I am having a hard time spelling “whiplash” correctly. I keep typing “whiplast”.

  2. If a police officer stops us, I will explain. He or she will understand. They will help us get to the hospital faster.

  3. Terrifying, just a bit? Yes.