This morning I woke up to laughter as Mitchell made breakfast with the boys. Mitch gave instructions - "Okay...get over here Miles MacGillicutty Borden, and Tyson Jax Adorable Borden, and Borden Joseph Emmett...." and the boys just ate up the attention. All the commotion in the kitchen made me smile, but it made me cry, too. If yesterday's miracles hadn't happened, we wouldn't have been sharing so much joy & laughter this morning.
Thursday night Tyson & I made some candy trains to give to his schoolmates. It was fun, and he was so impressed by the idea that I got from my mom when I was a kid.
After school, Tyson had 6 left over candy trains, and we gave some to the friends we carpool with, and we headed off for a few errands and a play date. I had a car full of kids - my 3 boys, and our 2 best girl-friends, Emily & Megan. We headed to the post office listening to Christmas tunes. We were all singing along, and the kids chowed down on chocolate and gum. Holiday traffic was a bear: 3 schools within a mile radius of where we were had just been released from school on a half-day, it's Christmas time & the roads are crazy anyway, and it was still the lunch hour. As we left the post office commercials came on the radio. The noise of commercials irritate me so I turned off the radio to eliminate noise.
Little did I know that was the first miracle that happened.
As I crossed over a main road intersection, I heard a small gagging noise. Glancing back I saw Miles in distress, reaching into his mouth with his fingers. I wasn't sure if his fingers were the problem or not, but he never does that, and I started to panic, "Is he choking?!" The kids confirmed, and I started to feel frantic.
I tried to find a safe place to turn off, but there were none. I pulled into the 1st turn lane I could find to try to turn left. But turning left anywhere during this time of year can take minutes. We didn't have minutes. There were 2 small pauses that I considered taking, but we could have been hit if I had risked it. I had 3 major lanes on my right going the direction we were driving, and there were 3 lanes of traffic on the left coming towards us. And there was no break in traffic. Knowing I couldn't wait any longer, I angled my car just slightly, and jumped out to run around leaving the driver's side door open.
That was the 2nd miracle that happened.
When I ran around to the passenger side, I tried to open the doors, but they wouldn't open. I pounded on the sliding door to get the kids' attention and yelled to open the door from the inside. They tried and tried, but the car was running, so the child locks were on, and the doors wouldn't open. All the while I could see Miles through the window - still unable to breathe or make noise - still trying to gag out whatever was lodged in his throat. I was so scared. I ran back around and realized several people were lined up behind me now, trying to turn. I pushed the unlock button, ran around to the passenger side, and was finally able to open the door - by this time Tyson had also been able to get over the seat & try to help unlock it, too. I flung open the door & the kids said, "What do we do now?"
"Just pray! Just pray!"
I unleashed Miles from his car seat and flipped him upside down - I was equally afraid of him choking to death, and of getting hit by the cars in traffic, but I had no choice. As I pushed on his belly with my left hand, and hit his back with my right hand, I saw he started to spit up. I thought it was working, and that he was going to be okay. But it was only saliva that had been gathering in his mouth, and when I lifted him up, he still couldn't breathe, make noise, and his face was in shock as he was still trying to move his little tongue. I turned him over again, pushed harder on his stomach & hit his back harder, and finally after a while of pounding, out flew a peppermint.
Staring at the toys he had been holding and the peppermint on the asphalt, I started to cry. I didn't even know he had a peppermint, or that he could open the package on his own. Then I remembered we were still in danger & told the kids to stay buckled & re-buckle because we were in a dangerous part of traffic. I snapped Miles in, got in the car, and as I entered the driver's side door, I realized the lady behind me was still trying to make a U. I don't even know if she realized what was happening - I think it's possible she just thought I was a crazy woman. Of the 5 cars behind me, only 1 followed to make sure we were okay as we parked in the closest parking lot.
The lady that followed was named Diane. She rolled down her window and asked if she needed to call 9-1-1. I told her my son had been choking, but I thought he was okay - she didn't leave until we pulled him out of the car again to double check. By now he was talking and breathing normally, so she believed me that we didn't need to call the paramedics, and she asked if he needed water. She pulled out a tall bottle of water that she had just recently opened and told me she was sorry it was opened, but she wasn't sick. I just hugged her and cried and said, "I don't care even if you are sick! I'm just glad my son's alive!"
Diane stayed with me - she was such an angel - I needed comfort more than anything, even though it was all "okay". She made me laugh when she said, "Oh my gosh - are you pregnant, too?" I must have looked like such a mess - I had 5 kids in the car, it was pajama day at school so all the kids were still in pajamas at 1:15 or whenever it was - and even though I was "dressed", my hair hadn't been fixed and my make up wasn't done for the day, and I was crying like crazy! Haha! It had been a traumatic situation & she told me to calm down before I started to drive again. We wished each other a Merry Christmas, and when we she left, I stood at the van with the kids, and we said a prayer to thank Heavenly Father that Miles was okay, and that we also didn't get hit by oncoming traffic as we tried to save him from choking.
Miles returned to his usual self much faster than I did. I went to bed so tired yesterday. Even today, I'm different because of what happened. His sweet little innocent mind just doesn't realize how scary that was. I realized, also, that in 7 1/2 years of parenting, all the times I "thought" my kids were choking were nothing compared to this - this was the real deal, and if we hadn't had all the little blessings the Lord sent, we would have had a much different scenario yesterday. I never thought I would be grateful for radio commercials, but if I hadn't had a reason to turn off the sound, I probably wouldn't have heard anything to alert me of Miles' distress. I'm also grateful that I left my car door open - if it had shut while the engine was running, it would have locked, and we would have lost more time trying to get the vehicle doors to open. I'm so grateful the Heimlich worked. I'm so grateful the kids prayed. I'm so grateful we didn't have to pay for a hospital visit. I'm so grateful there was at least 1 person who stopped to check on us and to help comfort me, and I'm so grateful we can still plan to celebrate Christmas this year with our sweet little Miles.
EVERYTHING has been back to normal since then - we went to the park to "recover" and Miles bashed his head on the slide, splitting his skin open a little bit on his eye-lid. I dropped my cell phone AND video camera yesterday & cracked the screens - my phone works, but my video camera is now broken. The kids still cry over things. They still need to be reminded to use their manners. They still need reminders picking up after themselves. They still need help sharing. But now I have a happier heart through all of their usual joys & struggles - I'm so grateful to be a parent and to have each little moment with my kids - every moment is a gift.