Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our first call to 911

Today was supposed to be a good day. Grace turned 3-months old and we were looking forward to taking some pictures this evening. The day started out fairly uneventful. Holly was at the office and I was working from home and taking care of Grace.

About an hour after Grace's 1:00 p.m. feeding I brought her into our office/guest room and put her on the bed. I like to do this so I can keep a closer eye on her and she can hear me. About half an hour later I went out to the garage to put laundry in the dryer and start a new load. After a few minutes I returned to our office. The first thing I looked at was Grace. Immediately I could see her coloring wasn't normal. As I approached I could see her face was bluish and there was spit-up on her outfit. You can only imagine the adrenalin that went racing through my veins. I immediately scooped her up and was horrified at how limp her body was. She was blue, not breathing and as limp as a rag doll. I was so fucking scared you can't even imagine.

I brought her up to my shoulder and started slapping her back to get her to start breathing. It didn't work. At this point I was beginning to think she was dead or about to die. I brought her down to my waist and cradled her in my left arm as I began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. It wasn't working. After several seconds of this I started doing some chest compressions. In the mean time I'm calling 911. I put them on speakerphone so I could continue to work on Grace and talk (yell) to the 911 operator. In between answering her questions I continued to give Gracie mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions. After about 20 seconds she took a slight breath. You have no idea how good that felt to hear. I continued to work on her and 10 or so seconds later she took another breath. It wasn't until about 90-seconds after I started giving her CPR she started coughing, gasping for air and crying. I never heard such a beautiful sound in all my life.

Within minutes the Fire Department arrived and the paramedics were attending to Grace. By that time she was breathing on her own and didn't appear to be in any distress. They checked her out and confirmed her lungs were clear and she was breathing ok. I began to explain to them her condition and her Code status. They were very grateful for that information and said they would be sharing that information with their Captain so he can inform the other shifts. Since that engine would most likely be the one responding again it was good for them to get familiar with Grace. Around this time Holly arrived and was clearly upset. I felt so bad for her and could only image what horrible thoughts she was thinking as she raced across town to get home.

After the Fire Department left we called Kaiser and UCD Hospice. We were advised to take her to the ER so they could do an X-Ray of her lungs and check for any fluid. Sometimes fluid can get into the lungs and not be picked up by just listening.

Our time at the ER was pretty efficient and uneventful. They knew we were coming so they had a chance to review her medical records in advance. The X-Ray showed her lungs to be clear and after the examination we were cleared to go home.

We don't know what caused her to aspirate. We have a foam wedge in her crib to keep her elevated during feedings. It had been about an hour in a half after her last feeding before this happened. We will hold the Clonazepam tonight until we can talk to her neurologist in the morning. There's a chance that med could have effected her respirations. We are also discontinuing the fortifier we were adding to her breast-milk. There might be a correlation to when we started using this new one to her episodes of spitting up.

As for me, I'm taking it really hard. I can't help but think about the what-ifs. What if I took longer doing the laundry, or went to the kitchen afterwards, or any of a dozen other things I could have done before returning to the office. She could of very well died and I would of never known until finding her. Even though we have a video baby monitor and keep her close by we can't watch her every minute. And that's what makes this all so hard. We just never know what's going to happen next. All we can do is continue to love her and take the best care of her we can.


  1. Keeping you all in our hearts and prayers! So many people are here for you guys if you ever need anything!!! Much much much love being sent your way!!!

  2. I can't even begin to imagine the levels of freaking out you are both going through. Brien, you are amazing for being able to stay calm and multi task while saving your daughters life. You would be perfect candidates for a seizure canine. These dogs are amazing and alert you before a seizure occurs. You are all in our family prayers daily.

  3. As Sarah once said so eloquently . . . you have a "calm strength" in all of this that most people do not have and could not possibly muster in these circumstances. It is for that very reason Gracie picked you to be her dad. It appears Grace is also blessed with an angel that once again knows to tap her parents on the shoulder to come check on her when she needs their help. We will pray that the change in her meds will solve this issue for good.

  4. I can't imagine the pain the 2 of you went took my breath away reading your blog. Brien you are a Saint for how calm you stayed and reacted. Holly....I do not know how you did it driving through the whole thing! Both of you are without a doubt the strongest people I have ever met in my life. I'm praying for all of you! Love you...Patti

  5. My heart is with you guys. I could not even imagine giving my children CPR. Hang in there and I am so happy Gracie is doing better. Ugh, the what-if's suck but holding on and loving that beautiful little girl makes everything better! Praying always for you all! Holly, I bet you broke some driving laws :) And that is A-OK. Don't get in the way of a momma on her way to her baby girl!!

  6. We are praying for you all and our hearts are with you! Gracie is ADORABLE and so blessed to have such great parents.

    Stephanie and Jeremy Lopez

  7. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you both. You have definitely inspired us to seek and sign up for an infant CPR class. We definitely believe Gracie came to you and Holly because of your unconditional love, strength, wisdom, and faith. Hoping that the 'what ifs' will be replaced with positive thoughts. All our love, PJ, Mark & Audrey Decker