Yesterday, I had a scare that I hadn't had since 16 months and 3 weeks. Why? I get so caught up in the every day that I move through life a little faster than I should and I take things for granted. On my commute home, I was talking with Don (not unlike my typical after work routine) and in the background I could hear our little one busying herself with godknowswhat. Then, I heard her coughing. Followed by intense coughing. Our conversation paused and the phone sounded buzzed and muffled. I could hear Don patting her back encouraging her to "get it out." I have NO idea what it was, but then I heard it:
cough, gasp, cough, cough, gasp, half scream, Cough, Gasp, COUGH,
GASP, GASP, ACK, ACK
And I yell, "GetitoutWhatisit?GETITOUT!" Don snaps back, "I'm trying. Call 911!" CLICK.
My body is trembling, completely and totally trembling. I dial 9-1-1 on my phone, finally aware how small the buttons on my phone really are. I'm doing my best to maintain composure. I have to stay focused, speak clearly, so help can get there faster. I'm connected immediately with a calm yet assertive voice on the other end. She has to transfer me to Plano because I'm calling from University Park. Those of you not familiar with Dallas, that's about 20 -30 minutes away from my home. I could barely hear the Plano operator, but I give her my address and Don's phone number so they can contact him. She tells me they are going to try to call him. I was uncertain if he would pick up. I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON OVER THERE AND WHY IN THE WORLD AREN'T THE CARS IN FRONT OF ME MOVING FASTER????? I get off the phone and Don calls me. His voice quiet, "hello." Then, in an eerily calm almost a somethings-really-wrong voice, "I have to go." CLICK.
I lose it. I'm parked on 75, still a few miles from 635, the halfway point. I look up and see Lindsey's building. I push 4 and I'm immediately grateful for speed dial. Please God, take care of my family. Lindsey picks up and I ask her to talk to me about anything. I blurt everything all out in one long, blubbery sentence. And she calms me down. Immediately, I feel calm. I'm ok. She's gonna be ok. We're all gonna be ok. Something she said made me think of my neighbor, whose number I'd just gotten the day before. I tell her I'm going to call her to see if she can maybe give me a play-by-play update since she lives across the street from us.
When I dialed, there was no ring, just some dialing on the other end and I hear her voice, trembling. Immediately, I'm consumed with worry again.
"What's going on?"
"Bianca, you there? Is everything ok? What's going on? I'm sending a prayer RIGHT NOW!"
"Right, that's what I want to know, what's happening, can you tell me?"
"What? Where are you? What?"
"I'm stuck on 75 in traffic. Is the ambulance there? Did they take Mari? Do you see them?"
"You're not at home?"
(My thought is, no, I'm a horrible mother because I'm not there. And the working mommy guilt hit smacked me in the face like a punch from Mike Tyson. I was leveled. I sunk further in my chair, tears streaming down my face, squeezing the steering wheel, exposing the whites of my knuckles, seriuosly contemplating on putting my car in park and running the now 10 - 12 miles to my house.)
"Ok. They've gone. The fire truck is gone. I didn't see them take Mari. I think she's ok. Are you ok? What can I do?"
And I'm grateful for neighbors. I can't speak.
Whimpering, "Can you go over there? Can you see if she's ok? Will you call me back?"
Because, really, I can't be the mommy right now, so will you please go across the street and embrace my child and convey the love and fear I have right now. Hold her tight like you hold your own precious daughter?
And she does. Don calls me and he tells me that they are ok. Mari is ok. Guapo is ok. Don is ok. Everyone is ok. Mari had swallowed a quarter and before the emergency crew showed up, she'd vomited it out.
(I thought, was it that quarter that I placed on my counter top that I found on the floor and picked up and put there because I was afraid she'd try to put it in her mouth? That was the only one, but even with her stool, she can't reach it, can she?)
The firemen had gotten there first, then the ambulance arrived. They checked her to be sure she was ok. Putting on the oxygen reader (that normally goes on a finger) on her toe since she is so small. Yes, she's little and tiny and fragile. All was fine and healthy. We were told to monitor her to see if she scratched her throat. I'm relieved and he tells me he'll see me when I get home.
Then the neighbor calls me and gives me an update. I'm so grateful for her and happy that we have relationships with them. She also let me know that she was outside with the other neighbor and they were both standing there, concerned, and praying for us. (We really are blessed!)
SIDENOTE: yes, I've been in traffic this ENTIRE time. R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S! I didn't see any wrecks and normally it doesn't take me that long to get home.
Anyway, I pull in and run inside. I see her perched on her daddy's lap. I go to hold her and she lets me hold her for a long, long time. We stand there in silence, fat tears streaming down my face, and I'm just holding her little body close, feeling her heartbeat, smelling her hair, and feeling her soft skin against my own. Each of us breathing heavily, rhythmically, until I pull her back to shower her with kisses. Don comes up to give us an embrace. Guapo runs to our feet and snuggles in by my ankles, keeping watch over us, wanting to be near.
It's ok. Everything is ok.
(that picture is from earlier in the day where she is playing with her fake food, feeding carrots to her baby that she's still yet to name, while her other baby's name is "Bop")