Pequita was happily sitting in the shade outside on Sunday morning as we readied for an outing. We are still figuring out her abilities - she can't crawl yet, but she can launch herself towards a desired object that is the full extension of her legs away, grab it, then return to a sitting position with ease. This is what she did, and the desired object was a pine cone. She was happily gnawing on it when Homestead Mama noticed her and took it away. As she was getting buckled into her car seat, she started to choke. And she choked. And her eyes flowed tears, her nose and mouth salivating and gunking up with mucus while she fought for breath, gasping and coughing. And she kept at it while I unbuckled her, swept her mouth in an attempt to remove the object. Neither of us knew exactly what to do for an infant. I didn't know how to Heimlich a baby, but knew that it could only help to flip her over and whack her on the back. At least flipping her meant that she wasn't also choking on all the fluids her body was producing. Time stood still. We tossed her in the car - front seat, on my lap, so we could continue to minister to her as needed, and sped off towards the nearby Convenient Care clinic 4 miles away. Shortly after driving off she started to be able to breath much better. We think she managed to swallow the pine cone scale, but I was still worried it had lodged in her esophagus or was going to shift again and we'd start all over. By the time we arrived in front of the check in desk at the clinic, she was red-faced but breathing with ease. I announced that she had been choking badly 5 minutes before and that the foreign body was still in her - to their credit, the clinic immediately called the nurse & doc to get ready in the exam room while we checked in. 45 minutes later, the doc had decided that she had swallowed it and was past danger, but gave us a bunch of info on obstructed bowels and what to watch for until she passed it in her diaper. She was exhausted but fine, and we continued on our errands. She slept for a couple hours of start and stop shopping, and when we got home she woke up happy and refreshed.
This episode has brought on discussions between Homestead Mama and me. We agree that we need to sign up for the infant & child CPR and first aid course immediately. We disagree on exactly how we handled the situation. She might not have gone so quickly to the clinic, since the baby was getting breath in, even though it was choking breaths. For me, the threat that Pequita *could* have continued to worsen made it imperative that we get started to the clinic and so be it if we overreacted. Historically, I choose the sure thing / safe route. My brother could have died from an allergic reaction to a bee sting while we were camping in the early 1970s - my mom rushed him to the hospital on her intuition and according to family lore, saved his life. This episode absolutely informs my decision process with events like Sunday's. The other factor in my response is the certainty that you can lose a loved one in a spilt second. My car accident in 1987 (goodness, 20 years ago this September!) should have killed me - my seat was burned down to the springs by the time the emergency help arrived on the scene, and the woman who pulled me out of the car was injured and easily could have failed to pull me out. Then 6 years after that, my brother was killed while cycling by a speeding taxi. My family has earned a well-honed sense of mortality, I believe. I am a changed person for having survived these experiences, but either the PTSD affect of them or the wisdom that has been gleaned from surviving them has made me more cautious than I used to be.
Pequita passed the pine cone debris this morning after much fruit & prune juice to help things along. It was one scale that was a little over 1cm in diameter. One of my questions for the CPR class instructor will be how big does an object have to be to cause bowel obstruction. 1 cm is small, but so is Pequita. I considered including a photograph of the object, but frankly didn't feel like hosing poop off a piece of pine cone. I hose so much poop off things as it is.
On the less stressful side, I had a friend who is an OB nurse come over tonight and strip my membranes - she was very kind to offer, and I accepted with no hesitation. My regular OB doc did it on Friday, and I go back to the OB this coming Friday for another checkup. The home version of the procedure was quick & my friend confirmed that I have softened up, and just need to keep being active and making the contractions happen. Different than the eating lots of ice cream and resting that I would like to do, but I'm feeling good enough to keep being proactive and am happy to feel like I am helping things along. Throughout the course of this evening, I have had some really strong contractions and have definitely lost some mucus plug, so all looks good. Homestead Mama is a little concerned that all this WILL bring on labor, but I keep reminding her that one way or another, I'm having a baby in the next few weeks and she'd better get her mind right about it. I think that we will both inevitably be shocked when it actually starts, despite already having had Pequita, and despite having 9 months to prepare for this one. I wonder if that happens with everyone?