Frozen Peas on My Knees

FINALLY got my computer back and I can now continue with my blog. In the interim, during my down time from blogging, I tore the ligaments in my right knee. Long story…which ended in me going to the hospital in an ambulance. As the paramedics were helping me out of my house and down a flight of steep stairs (in the pouring rain), my neighbor called the police because the ambulance was blocking the road. My life, I swear…

So while I sit in bed with a bag of frozen peas on my elevated knee, I bring you the continuation of my blog…

On the Eve of St. Patrick’s Day

On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m not feeling very festive even given my Irish descent. Fifteen years ago, St. Patrick’s Day 2002, I came very close to losing my youngest son, Marc. I think about it often, but this year for some reason, I’m feeling emotional enough that maybe it would help for me to “blog it out.”

Kevin was almost 6 years old at the time and he had been fighting a week-long bout with the flu. I brought Kevin to the pediatrician three times and was awake more of that week then I slept…taking care of Kevin, Eric (aka Rocky, then 2 1/2) and 6 week old, Marc.

Finally, at around 2:00 AM Kevin’s fever broke, as I poured warm water over his shoulder’s while he sat in a steamy bathtub. I thanked God, got Kevin dried, dressed and put him comfortably to bed. I checked on Eric, peacefully asleep in his lower bunk and pulled Marc’s bassinet closer to my bed as I fell, exhausted, into my own.

The morning of St.Patrick’s Day, Marc seemed fine and the day progressed in the normal chaotic fashion that I had become accustomed to. It wasn’t until Marc was fast asleep during his afternoon nap that I became concerned about his breathing…It didn’t sound right, so I called my pediatrician. The doctor asked me to hold the phone close to Marc in the bassinet so he could hear the baby breathing. When I moved the phone back to my ear, the doctor asked “Is his color good?”

“Yes.” I said

The doctor calmly replied “Take Marc to Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital right away.”

Although the doctor was calm and gave me no indication of what might be wrong with my baby, I could taste the panic in my throat. I called my parents and my mother-in-law, who were all immediately on their way. Hospital…someone has to watch the boys…grab the car seat…keys, keys…where the hell are the keys…everything started to whirl.

My ex-husband was strapping the base of the car seat into our vehicle as Marc sat smiling in the car seat carrier. Then, Marc began to turn blue. I quickly unstrapped him and ran into the house, my ex-husband followed, as I screamed to my mother-in-law to call 911.

I began performing CPR. Breath into his mouth…not working. Turn him over and hit him on the back. Turn him back over and press on his stomach, center under his ribs. Nothing was working. Marc went from blue, to purple, to black. I froze. I went into complete shock.  I remember glancing towards Kevin and Eric standing in the family room, observing all of it. I am sure that the fear on their faces mimicked the fear on mine.

My ex-husband flew out the front door and returned with our neighbor, Patrick Hayden, Captain of the Milford Fire Department. I met Pat at the door and handed him my baby. Pat immediately put his mouth over Marc’s, sucked in as hard as he could and spat on the hardwood floors. Marc still wasn’t breathing. Pat began performing CPR and it seemed hopeless as the time passed and Marc wasn’t revived. I jumped when the CPR momentarily stopped and the silence was broken as Pat yelled, “Call 911 back and tell them Pat Hayden said to step it up!” Marc suddenly gasped a small breath.

If I never understood the word surreal up to this point in my life, I did at that moment. The time was moving fast…moving slow…was it moving at all? Finally, a fire truck arrived with a rescue unit in the back, we climbed in and were on our way to the hospital.

Marc was admitted to the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit). He was diagnosed with RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) which is actually a form of the common cold but can be very dangerous in babies under six weeks old.

Within twenty minutes of getting Marc stabilized in the NICU, I got a call from my mother-in-law from the children’s wing of the same hospital. Kevin was admitted for pneumonia in one lung.

I guess this is the My Life I Swear Part…and an example of my ability to crack a joke at an inappropriate time…I can’t pick the winning lotto numbers but I can end up with two out of three children in the same hospital for five days.

Thank God both of my boys recovered. Thank God for my ex-husband’s presence of mind and for Pat Hayden. I am forever grateful.

I won’t ever let my mind go to the what could have happened, what could have been or the what ifs. I remind myself everyday how blessed I am…but especially on St. Patrick’s Day, I take some time to celebrate all of my beautiful sons and what they mean to me.

My apologizes to all of my Irish relatives and ancestors, I won’t be drinking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day…but if you get a chance, raise your Guinness for me and say a toast for Pat Hayden and all of the amazing firefighters that save lives everyday yet think nothing of risking their own.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Erin Cooper Reed

 

 

 

 

 

Super Bowl…Super Baby!

Following the September 11th attacks earlier in the season, the NFL postponed a week of games, resulting in Super Bowl XXXVI being rescheduled from January 27th to February 3, 2002. The big game was set to take place under heightened security at the Louisiana Superdome, where the St. Louis Rams would face the New England Patriots for the Super Bowl championship. While everyone else was excitedly getting ready for their Super Bowl party that night, I was excitedly awaiting the birth of my third child, due the following day.

At one o’clock in the afternoon on the day of the Super Bowl, I waddled around my house finishing up some last-minute nesting. I felt a few pains but continued to fuss over making every last detail in my home perfect for my new arrival. When my water broke, I knew it was time to call the doctor. As my labor pains began to worsen, I reached the doctor’s answering service and was told that he would call me right back.

When the phone rang, I picked it up and jokingly said with what laughter I could muster, “Doctor, I hope you’re not a sports fan, because my water just broke and I’m in labor.”

The doctor replied quite professionally, “I don’t watch sports. I’m a doctor. Meet me at the hospital.”

We arrived at the hospital, checked in and were assigned a room. When the contractions really started to kick in, I began to very loudly say the same things that I’m pretty sure I said while in labor with baby #2:”I must be out of my mind! God…this hurts so much, I didn’t remember how much! I can not believe I’m doing this again!”

A nurse rushed in.”Is everything okay?” she asked me.

Before I could answer, my ex-husband curled down one side of the newspaper he’d been reading.

“I have a paper cut and it really smarts.” he stated, as he extended his index finger. “Can you get me a band-aid?”

The nurse shot me a look and raised her eyebrows. Luckily, I was in too much pain to say what I was really thinking.

(Let me just note here that I did say ex husband. Enough said.)

The nurse did her best to make me comfortable, as the time and the contractions dragged on.

Somehow, I had endured 5 hours of pain…but it wasn’t over yet. I pushed the buzzer to alert the nurse. When she arrived, I said, with a flushed face and a sweaty strand of hair stuck to my lower lip, “I’m going to have this baby now!”

The nurse left the room and quickly returned with my doctor.

My ex husband was standing up in front of the TV, arm outstretched, frantically pushing the buttons to find the game. I groaned as my doctor joined him at his side.

“It was on in the doctors lounge.” I heard my OBGYN say.

“We have six minutes until kick off!” My ex husband replied.

I lifted my head. Stared at their backs and yelled, “I HAVE TO PUSH!!”

Somehow this news whipped everyone back to the reality that there was a woman in labor that actually took precedence over Tom Brady’s shot at winning the Super Bowl and the MVP.

My beautiful, healthy son Marc was born at kickoff that day…and yes, everyone missed the kickoff.

The New England Patriots won their first Super Bowl, 20 – 17, and quarterback Tom Brady did win the MVP.

I won the best gift of all.

And every year on my son’s birthday, I buy him a giant chocolate chip Super Bowl cookie with a football drawn in frosting on top. Marc loves it and it makes him feel special.

But, I’m the one who remembers the real story…everything I endured for my Super Bowl baby.

 

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