WARNING: This post contains traumatic events.
Porter was home for two days when he stopped breathing.
It was 10pm. He was in his car seat. We were about to leave for the hospital. He mumbled, gasped and then there was nothing. I yelled for my husband to get the neighbor as I called 911 and fumbled to get Porter unbuckled from his car seat and out of the truck.
Our neighbors are doctors. One of them came to the door and rushed out to help. He checked for a pulse, couldn’t find one and started chest compressions. Kyle gave Porter a shot of glucagon to immediately raise his blood sugar. It was prescribed in case Porter ever became unresponsive or had a seizure. We don’t think he had low blood sugars, but weren’t going to take any chances. Porter cried. I had to repeat my address four times to the 911 operator before she even asked what my emergency was. It took eight minutes for anyone to arrive. The first responder was a cop. He was unable to untangled and set up his oxygen tank before the ambulance showed up.
The EMTs loaded Porter into the ambulance and Kyle went in behind them. He yelled to me that I should be with Porter since I had his history down to a T. I ran over and got in. They weren’t able to properly secure Porter to the stretcher, so I basically pinned him down the entire trip to the hospital. They couldn’t find the appropriate nasal cannula to provide him with oxygen during the ride so they decided to ‘bag’ him. The girl put the mask part over his nose and mouth and asked the other EMT how many breaths she needed to give an infant. He decided to use this moment as a learning opportunity for whoever this girl was. A new EMT? An intern? He said, “I don’t know. How many breaths do you need to give him?” I’m sorry, could we just give my son the assistance he needs please? This isn’t the f$&%ing classroom.
We arrived at the hospital and were whisked in. They quickly hooked Porter up to oxygen, monitors, and an IV. They began taking blood and X-rays. They asked for his history and what had happened. I filled them in on his first two months of life. Then I told them we had noticed he had a blue tint to his face and his breathing was sporadic and that’s why we were headed to the hospital.
I had one of the ER staff call up to the NICU to let them know what had happened. And although she fought me on it, since she said Porter would be going to the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit), she obliged. They told her they wanted Porter back in the NICU and I was relieved. They already knew him.
Looking back there are a few things that I missed. The two days after his surgery and before his discharge, his skin tone was off. I assumed it was just part of the recovery process. The nurses and nurse practitioners looking after him weren’t the ones who were normally with him. If it had been our favorite NP or he had nurses who knew him better, maybe this never would’ve happened. Maybe they would’ve looked at him and known something was off. I should’ve known. I was so excited to have him home that I think I overlooked the signs.
I’m so thankful that we live next door to doctors. We wouldn’t normally knock on their door and ask for medical advice, but this was an emergency and we were freaking out. If they hadn’t been home, or we didn’t live next door to them, Porter’s heart wouldn’t have been beating for far longer. As we were about to leave for the hospital, Kyle had noticed Winter peed through her outfit. He asked if there was time to change her. Porter seemed okay at the moment, so I said yes. I waited a few minutes before putting Porter into his carseat. If Winter hadn’t peed through her outfit, we would’ve been en route to the hospital when Porter stopped breathing. It was 10pm and dark. There would’ve been road noise and engine noise. Would I have noticed that he stopped breathing? We live 8 minutes from the hospital. How different our lives could be right now, if things hadn’t lined up just so.