she has fallen and now she is awake

Terror (but she’s okay)

BunBun is five and a half months. At the point where she grabs food out of your hand, but doesn’t eat, simply slobbers. So while I was cooking dinner I have her a thick slice from the pear I was chopping for salad. I continued making dinner, she slobbered on the pear, threw her cup and spoon, and gabbled away. All was well. I turned to put a few things back in the fridge when I heard her choke.

You know, that garbled attempt to breathe. Almost a sob, or a heave. I dropped what was in my hand and spun. She was in the highchair and straining, bright red and no sound. Tears. I pulled her forward and searched her mouth. Nothing. She threw herself back and forth and I yelled for Wolfman. He came running as I drove my fingers into her throat. I found the soggy, tiny piece of pear. I could touch it. I couldn’t hook it, couldn’t grab it.

I started to swear, I tried to get her out of the chair but I couldn’t. The motion jerked her upwards and I tried again to get the pear. I couldn’t reach it at all now. I yelled at Wolfman to get her out of the chair. I tilted her forward.

She whooped an inward breath. Then screamed. And screamed again. And whooped once more. Then coughed. I held my breath, visions of aspiration pneumonia. She screamed and cried and then sniffled, her face buried in my neck.

I began to cry.

Wolfman held us and asked if we were okay. I sobbed and BunBun began to cry again then as well. He rescued the apple and pear sauce still bubbling away, and picked up the teatowel on the floor. I jiggled BunBun as I checked the pizza. Nothing was burnt, nothing was even close to cooked yet. I finished dressing the salad and waiting for the pizza to finish. We ate our dinner and BunBun had hers. There’s not a single thing wrong now.

Except the aftershocks of terror and the guilt. I wasn’t watching her close enough. She’s too young for solids. The chair is antique and refurbished with no bar to hold her in. There’s no harness, just a mess of ties keep her from sliding under and out. I hurt her throat, digging for the pear. My fingernails are too long.

My fingers were too short.

Yes I’ve learnt my lesson. No more slobbery bits of fruit. I’m getting a proper harness and/or fixing the chair. I’m updating my first aid as soon as I can because I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t learnt the fishing around as the first step.


7 responses to “Terror (but she’s okay)

  1. Accidental Pharmacist November 25, 2009 at 10:23

    This made my heart race just reading it. When my hubby was a little boy his dad gave him prosciutto (they’re Italian) and he choked on all the stringy bits. His dad still tells the story like nothing ever scared him so bad. Same goes for my sister who found a nickel I’d been hiding under the couch when we were really little. My dad’s fingers were just too short and she ended up throwing it up as she reached the hospital in the back of an ambulance. Happy to say that both are okay but this parenting business is scary stuff!

    • geekanachronism November 25, 2009 at 20:48

      Stringy bits would be so bad! I was talking to my mother and apparently my little brother would choke on banana a lot – he’d jam so much in his mouth that he wouldn’t actually be able to swallow properly.

      The nickel must have been terrifying.

      And of course today she grabbed a baby spinach leaf out of my bowl and jammed that in her mouth. I get the feeling she wants some solids but the fear is quite high right now!

  2. Kathmandu February 3, 2010 at 17:09

    I’m coming by very late because I just found out about you at BlueMilk. But in case you still need any comforting:

    You were right nearby and could hear her choking. That means you WERE watching her close enough.
    She isn’t too young for solids. Asking for solids and gumming them with interest is the sign of being ready to try solids.
    Sweeping the mouth and throat for the obstruction was the right thing to do. And it worked!
    Hurting her throat digging for the pear is an acceptable cost, like wrenching someone’s shoulder when you save them from falling off a cliff by grabbing their arm.

    You did fine. It was just one of those things that happen.

    • Deborah February 3, 2010 at 21:31

      I’ll just second what Katmandu said, in all respects.

    • geekanachronism February 4, 2010 at 16:47

      Thank you so much! I’m far less jumpy now – the first week or two after the incident I just about jumped out of my chair any time she gagged. Now I twitch a little, but I’m far less anxious about it. It really means a lot to hear that I did the right thing (and that I was watching her closely enough – I spend a lot of time at work explaining to parents that ‘I know where they are’ isn’t the same as being able to see your child at any point that I kinda felt like if I wasn’t watching her face the entire time she ate then I wasn’t watching close enough).

  3. Sara no H. February 11, 2010 at 10:54

    Oh how terrifying – that’s one of the things they never tell you, is how terrifying ordinary things can be – I’m so glad to hear you and yours made it through just fine. I’ll second (and third) the other commentors who’ve said that you did exactly what you were supposed to do. When our son was younger he used to gag quite often on his solids, so we eventually just gave in and bought a bunch of food pacifiers – they’re little nets that hold a solid piece of food, so the kid gets experience with solid foods but they won’t leave the net until they’re thoroughly masticated and safe for swallowing.

    Glad I found your blog via bluemilk – I’m loving the photographs and your posts are spot-on 🙂 Looking forward to reading more from you!

    • geekanachronism February 11, 2010 at 11:31

      Thanks! My mother was mentioning the foodnet thingos. I haven’t seen them anywhere but she said she’ll keep an eye out.

      They’ll probably come in handy now her teeth are coming in too…

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