Thus Far, My Scariest Moment As A Parent

I’ve been down at a friend’s house for the better part of the week, hence the no posting, and this evening went to go make my way home. Home from her house involves crossing the border from the US back into Canada.

I’ve crossed the border with the baby before and there’s been no problems. She gets cranky because she has a thing against being at a standstill while being strapped into her carseat. She absolutely hates it and just starts hollering.

This time was no different. I pull up to the border, the car is stopped in a twenty minute-ish lineup and she wakes up from her nap. The crying commences.

The crying escalates. Really badly. Then suddenly she’s opening her mouth wide and nothing is coming out and she’s gasping. She is crying SO hard and so bad that she was choking. I rolled down my window and was seconds away from screaming for help (at this point I was one car away from the booth with the guard) and she starts to catch her breath. And scream again. And choke again. And catch her breath again.

I pull forward when the car ahead of me clears and I’m sobbing. I tell the border guard to please hurry because my baby is crying so hard that she’s choking and I have to get driving again so she’ll calm down. He keeps asking me questions and I’m sobbing too hard to do anything except tell him that I just have to pull over so I can pick her up and hold her. I just have to pull over. Please let me pull over.

Another border guard knocks on my window and asks me what’s wrong. I repeat, I have to pull over. NOW. She is FREAKING out. The first guard asks me if I need medical to come out. I say that I don’t know, I don’t think so, I don’t know. He finally lets me go so I can pull over and I pull over right past the booth.

I hopped out of the car and flew around to get her out and I just held her so tightly. It took her a good five minutes, but she finally settled down. The whole time another guard is standing with me asking me if I’m okay and if I need medical and if she’s okay. GAH.

Once she was calm for a solid five minutes, I belted her back in and the guard gave me the all-clear to go. She cried all the way home (another fifteen minutes), but at least she didn’t start choking again.

I’m still really shaken up by this. Is this normal? I usually never let her cry like that, but I can’t get out of the car in a border lineup to get her out of her carseat. There’s nowhere to pull over. Obviously if I had thought her life was peril I would have been out in a heartbeat, screaming for help the whole time, but that’s the thing- I was not far from that point. Not far at all and I was so fucking scared.

I was so fucking scared.

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14 thoughts on “Thus Far, My Scariest Moment As A Parent

  1. Wow, I’d be pretty freaked out, too.

    Now…that being said, Keston does almost the EXACT same thing. It’s one of the primary reasons that we cannot let him “cry it out” for anything — and he takes it a step further. If he gets to the crying-so-hard-he’s-choking stage, he starts *vomiting*. I’m completely serious. Many times have I had to scoop him out of his crib, because we ignored him for too long, and he has gone from crying to choking and choking to puking lots of very warm and not very pleasant-smelling formula down my bare back. At 3:47am.

    He’s done this dozens of times and never had any health problems related from it other than just being really shaken up and taking longer than normal to calm down. That’s not a diagnosis for your little princess, but…our kid does it and has never had anything bad come of it, so…take it as you feel comfy.

    Regardless, anytime he does it, my heart ends up somewhere just below my cerebral cortex, so I *completely* understand. Having known this now, I wonder if it wouldn’t be better for your mind (and Ana’s emotions) if you ended up extracting her just prior to the border and holding her through it. But that being said, I don’t know if they frown on that or not. (you know, that whole child-endangerment thing)

    Hugs to you and her — scary, but if it makes you feel better, been there, done that, sticky back and all.

  2. That sounds terrifying, I totally felt your panic while I was reading your post. It’s awful when they are back there strapped in and you are stuck – it feels like every second is incredibly, unforgiveably infinite.
    That said, I have two kids, I can tell you it’s totally normal. Your sweet girl was just really pissed off that you stopped the car! If you could just commit to never stopping your car again to disrupt her cozy vibrating nap I am sure she would appreciate it! Hahah!!!

  3. Oliver used to do this too. A lot. He still does the whole “I’m crying so hard I’m not gonna breathe thing” but no choking. I think it might have something to do with the amount of air their little lungs are taking in because they’re screaming their heads off. I remember the first time he did it I thought I was going to die right there my little heart was so broken. We made it through it though, and you will too.

  4. Wow that sounds pretty crazy! I’d be flipping out too! The border freaks me out anyway but to have a little one in distress in the back seat would probably send me over the edge!

    I do not have children so I have no idea if that’s normal or not. The one year old that I used to look after would puke if he got himself too upset but I never saw him choke. That is very scary!

  5. You know, I’ve never had that happen before. J will scream and scream and scream, her face will turn red and eventually she’ll get hiccups, but she’s never actually started to choke.

    It sounds like it was horrible, horrible, horrible. I’m so sorry, dear. I’m glad that she’s okay. I know that must have been so STRESSFUL and frightening.

  6. Aww, honey 😦

    I remember when my nephew did that once while I was babysitting him. Scared the hell out of me.

    That said, it does seem to be… uhm.. well, I don’t want to say “normal”, but it does happen, especially in babies that have tempers. I panicked and called my sister when my nephew did it, and she said not to panic and just calm him down and he’d be fine.. and he was.

    Then, my mom told us stories about how when my sister was a baby, if she got pissed off, instead of crying until she choked, she’d stop breathing until she passed out o_O My mom took her to the doctor, and that was how she found it it was basically my sister throwing a temper tantrum. The doctors response was “well, on the bright side, her body forces to her to start breathing again once she’s unconscious!”

    I know, it’s terrible.

  7. My mother-in-law tells a story of when Nick was a baby, he’d throw his head back, somehow cutting off all air to his lungs, and start turning blue. She brought him to the doctor, and the doctor was like “oh, that’s normal, he’s just looking for attention”

    Experiments ensued, and the doc was right. Kids have crazy skills to freak their parents out, which is probably what The Ana is doing.

    but scary.

  8. I could always get J to stop crying in the car by singing a little song to him. These days he HATES that song.

    You might want to just mention this incident the next time you talk to your health care provider. It sounds pretty typical, but it can be really reassuring to hear it from someone who’s supposed to know stuff.

  9. I’m pretty sure its normal. My mom said that when I was a baby, I would scream/cry so hard I’d turn blue (it doesn’t help that I’m the whitest thing to ever white!) So its normal, but sounds pretty scary! But now you know, eh?

  10. How terrifying!!! I remember being in the infant room when I worked at a daycare during college and occasionally having a baby cry so hard that they would stop making any noise. I don’t remember choking. Either way, I know hearing that it’s happened to other babies does not make your experience less horrible!!

    On the bright side, at least you know what triggered it…

  11. Oh, my God. That sounds so scary! I’m so glad that little Ana was all right. Hope that sort of thing doesn’t happen again! At least it was in public. If something really had happened, you would have had helped. So I suppose that’s something (though it’s probably little consolation!)

  12. so normal. especially in the car when you stop. The babies hate that. but I know how stressed you felt. I remember every car trip with Elby as a small baby make me tense up the entire time. It’ll get better!

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