We were in Lake Arrowhead for a mini getaway. Had been at the cabin for maybe 30 minutes. I was in the kitchen cooking, and Neal was following Mckenzi around the cabin, as she was exploring. Adam and Heather had arrived moments earlier, and were downstairs checking out their room.
One minute I was slicing avacados, putting the finishing touches on our salads. The next moment, I was rushing to get to Mckenzi. [When Kenz is seriously hurt or upset, she does this particular cry - she throws her head way back, her face turns pale white, her mouth is wide open, her eyes are slammed shut, her whole body tenses up, and no sound comes out. We find ourselves thinking, "take a breath, baby. take a breath." And she always takes that breath, and the continues to cry her emotional, well-earned cry, like normal.] I rushed to her, after seeing Neal pick her up and ask her what happened, and saw that face. The very hurt face, where she is about to cry intensely. Instead of thinking to myself, "take a breath", I found myself urgently requesting it. "Take a breath, baby! Take a breath!" As her eyes rolled up into her head, her back arched, her limbs began to contract, her tiny little fingers curled every which way, and she immediately turend blue, we knew she definitely was not breathing. She was in Neal's arms at this point, still having the seizure, and we were watching her disappear right before our eyes. Each second, she became less and less present, and went further away. She became more and more limp. My baby was dying before my eyes. I was sobbing, I could barely speak, and yelling in a voice that didn't even sound like my own, to do something. Over and over. While also asking over and over, to her, "what happened baby? what happened?"...we just don't know what happened. As she is slipping away, I am yelling over the staircase, "Help! Help! Help!". Adam and Heather came bounding up the stairs in a moments notice. Immediately, Adam bends over Mckenzi, who is now laying on her side on the floor. Neal has already taken steps to make sure her airway is clear. I am begging, ever so forcefully, through choked sobs, "Please give her a blessing! Give her a blessing now!" She wasn't breathing. Every moment was urgent and important. Heather was sobbing uncontrollably, too, while holding Ethan, saying "Please help her. Help her!" It was all the two of us could do. Beg for someone to do something. About a minute has passed at this point. She is blue, lifeless, eyes staring straight ahead, not moving, just limp. No longer contracting. Neal puts his finger in her mouth to clear her air way just in case, and as his finger hit the back of her throat, she seemed to gag on it. That little gag seemed to trigger her brain. She began to slowly breathe. And whimper quietly. Ever so quietly. I pushed him aside, as he was the one doing the work on her up to that point, and since there was nothing he could do more for her, and now that she was at least breathing, I put her in my arms and demanded that they finally give the priesthood blessing. At this point, Adam was on the phone with 911. I sat on the couch, with Kenzi in my arms. She wasn't yet moving, but she was "awake", meaning her eyes were actually engaging, she was blinking, and most importantly she was breathing. I yelled for Adam to give the phone to Heather so he could help with the blessing, as I felt like that moment was the time to bring her back to us. It was urgent. All she wanted to do was close her eyes and disappear. It was a FIGHT to keep those sweet little eyes from closing. Neal began the blessing without him. As he began, Adam stepped in sometime soon after too. I couldn't pay attention to all that was being said, as I was so frantically talking to my baby, moving her, trying to stimulate her in every way I could to keep her with us. I heard a few words - "..that your body will be made whole and you will recover"...and then she closed her eyes and I had to talk her back to us again. So much chaos. Everything was so fast. So nonstop. I was losing my baby. I literally felt her fading in my arms. And then, I felt an absolutely surge of the Spirit of the Holy Ghost flood through my body. Just as quickly as I felt this, my little daughter lifted her head up off of my chest, and sat upright. She was looking around, and "coming back" right before my eyes. The blessing finished, and I heard the words, "...Heavenly Father is with you right now." I lost it. My panic and absolutely frantic frame of mind began to ease up...at least slightly. I stood up, with Mckenzi on my hip, and all I could think to do was to take her outside on the porch to get fresh air and stimulate her by looking at all of the trees and birds. We pointed at things together. She remained very peaceful. Didn't express herself very much. Didn't speak. Didn't cry. She looked where I would point, and she would rest her head on me often, as if she wanted to sleep. After about 20 minutes, the paramedics arrived. They ran some (STUPID) tests that they didn't get results for because Mckenzi didn't want them touching her. Because she was tracking with her eyes, and reacting with emotion (fear) at their presence, and not feverish, the paramedics felt as though she was fine. 'The picture of health'. My rage consumed me. YOU IDIOTS! I almost just lost my baby, and you're are telling me she is the picture of health? They continued to tell us that if we wanted to go to the hospital for more tests, we were welcome to. But, that the hospital in Lake Arrowhead would not be able to take her, as they don't have a pediatric unit. I dismissed them, because they were pissing me off, and we had a long drive ahead of us to get down the mountain so I could get my baby to the hospital for tests. But don't worry, they made sure to inform me that I was taking the risk of having her DIE during transport. I'm like, what??? You don't want to take her down the mountian yourselves, because you think she's totally fine. But, you have to let me know there's a risk of complications if we take her ourselves? Wow. You're awesome. Thanks. During all of this, Mckenzi was acceptionally clingy towards Heather. She loves Ethan and his mommy. I am glad that Mckenzi is so well loved by my family. I took peace and comfort in knowing that Mckenzi was surrounded by nothing but love and concern. Neal packed up the cabin as I called the owner. I let him know what happened. He didn't hesitate to say he hopes everything turns out ok, and that he will refund our money ($650) immediately. (We got home to find that he had refunded it directly after the phone call, as the record shows)
About 30-40 minutes after her incident, we were driving down the mountain. Neal was a maniac. And I was swearing like a truck driver. And crying like a boob. Mckenzi was in her carseat, still breathing, still awake, still sweet and peaceful, not talking, or gesturing, just looking around with her eyes and taking it all in. As we started driving it again became a fight to keep her alert and awake. This, though, was mostly due to the fact that she'd only had a 30 minute nap all day, it was an hour away from bed time, and she'd be shocked and had a seizure. She was exhausted, right? But all my mama bear instincts wanted to FIGHT her sleepiness, as the last thing I could handle is having my baby not wake up. So, I called Dr. Annie. Through frantic sobs, I rehashed the evening's events, she asked some questions, and during that, Mckenzi fell asleep. Urgent pokes and sobs by me for her to wake up (I even lifted her eye lids!!) did nothing. She was OUT. Dr. Annie told me this was normal and absolutely okay. Her body was trying to recover from something traumatic. I needed to watch her color, check her pulse frequently, and make sure she was breathing. This continued the entire way down the mountain.
In the mean time, on the drive down, I swore left and right. I was getting tossed and thrown like a little rag doll. It hurt like a freaking mother effer. And I type it exactly how I felt at the time because this was REAL. On top of my swearing, I was so vulnerable, so sensitive, grieving at the near loss of my little Mckenzi, and concerned that we hadn't seen the end of what happened. It was during this drive down the mountain that I updated FB to say, "Emergency. Please pray for my baby." I couldn't say more. Didn't want to say more. What would I have said? I knew I needed prayers. I asked for them the BEST way I knew how, to get the majority of our friends and family informed and on board on Mckenzi's behalf.
After about 30 minutes, we were down the mountain. Mckenzi woke up at some point while on the freeway, and she was happy as a clam, and more like herself than we had seen since before her accident. She was talking in Kenzi-ish (her babble language), pointing around, and being herself. It was such a dream to watch her be so ALIVE. <3 Of course, I cried and cried. We got to the hospital (Loma Linda was the one near the mountain), I took her out, held her close, and told her over and over how much I loved her. Daddy did the same. We came too close to her not being with us anymore, and it was so unexpected and such a freak thing, we still don't exactly know how it happened. I'll continue with the nights events, and then talk about what we all think happened. We got to the ER, and it was PACKED. This particular ER even has a pediatric ER. After waiting an hour and a half (every bed was full), we asked how many kids were before Mckenzi on the list. NINE. There were NINE before her. Another hour passed. FIVE kids before her. Another hour passed. TWO kids before her. After 4 hours of waiting, we got our room. It was 11:45 pm. During the 4 hours we waited, Mckenzi became closer and closer to our excited, happy little munchkin. She wanted to dance, play, talk to everyone, and eat. Naturally, she was still clingy, and stopped every once in a while to yawn and rest in my arms. After getting into her room, she got an EKG. The results from that came back perfect. We re-hashed the evening's events to the nurse practicianer. After everything, she told us she didn't think Mckenzi was electrocuted. Normally burns present themselves after electrocution that is strong enough to cause seizures. She had no visible marks. She also said that she didn't think Mckenzi had a seizure. This was the second time in one night (paramedics were first) that someone suggested we over exaggerated what really happened. Mckenzi had a seizure. No doubt in our minds about it. The nurse told us she was going to run everything by her supervisor and see if she could get us on our way home. She left. I was FUMING. 4 hours in the waiting room to find out that they aren't going to even run brain wave tests, and just dismiss everything that happened??? 30 minutes more of waiting passed. The (supervisor) Doctor came in. She completely checked Mckenzi herself (the little angel was finally sleeping at this point. I think it was nearing 1am). Then she turned to us, and told us that she believes Mckenzi did in fact have a seizure, but that it wasn't caused by the shock. She suggested that Mckenzi has classic breath holding syndrome. She also proceeded to explain that it's fairly common in infants. When they are traumatized, something in their brain is triggered, and they do not take the breath that they need in order to stay conscious. In Mckenzi's case, the Doctor believes she was indeed shocked, and that the shock hurt her enough to trigger the "tantrum" where she would not breathe as she needed to. The lack of oxygen led to her seizure. She also explained to us that this is something Mckenzi will deal with until she is 5 or 6 years old. When she is traumatized, she will have a tendency to upset herself so much that she won't breathe when she needs to. [In the beginning of this post, I mentioned the pattern of how Mckenzi cries when she is really upset. How it always looks like she's not breathing, and we all hold our breaths waiting for her to take her breath, and then she usually does. Because this is her pattern, this is why the Dr believes she suffers from the breath holding spells.] So, the Doctor told us at this point, there's not much to do. Everyone gets one "freebee" seizure in their life. If she ever has another one, at that point they will check her brain waves, and run the neurological tests. Until then, we are supposed to watch her, and the next time she gets traumatized, we need to "lay her in a comfortable position and let her relax herself". Apparently if we buy into the trauma, she will continue to stress herself and not breathe. I think there's some merit in that last statement, but the last thing I'm gonna do when my baby is turning blue and not breathing, is lay her in a comfortable spot on the couch until she figures it out. Today, Neal and I started teaching her to take breaths on command. It's actually really very cute. We breathe in deep, and then exhale, and she copies us. <3
So, then, what happened? Mckenzi was sitting on the floor in front of the cable box and dvd player, that were also on the floor. Neal was standing next to her, watching her press the buttons to manually change the channel on the cable box. The channels on the tv were visibily changing. As she was doing this, Neal watched her suddenly lean forward (she was sitting indian style, I believe) as though she lost her balance. Next thing he knows, her hand goes quickly up to her head as she pulls it away from the buttons, she throws her head back, and begins her cry [see above]. He picks her up, asks her what happened, I look up to see her arching her back, turning white, smashing eyes closed, mouth open wide, ready to wail, only she never takes the breath in. She is seizing. And that's where I began this blog, mostly from that point. Dr's believe she was somehow shocked, it jolted her system and hurt her enough that she was severely traumatized from it, to the point that she cried enough to not breathe in with enough time to prevent oxygen deprivation to her brain, which then caused the seizure. I don't know if I necessarily agree with that, but, I am not the professional. What I do know, is she was hurt by the cable box, all she was doing was pushing buttons, and from the moment she was injured, she began to deteriorate.
Coming so close to losing my Mckenzi is by far the worst thing I've ever had to face in my life. My faith indeed has been tested. I am 100% changed, and will never be the same or think the same. Watching the life fade out of someone who is so precious to you and so significant to your own happiness, and being completely helpless to physically prevent it from happening, is terrible, terrible, terrible. As soon as I watched her father pick her up, and I saw her face when her head was thrown back, I knew that moment would be different than the other times she had been hurt. The panic, the fear, the desperation, it was all so very overwhelming. Neal remained calm; he thought through everything that he could do to help her, before he turned to God to intervene and take the lead. I KNEW that Mckenzi needed a priesthood blessing. I knew it with a certain urgency that I had never experienced in my life. As I felt the Holy Ghost surging through me during her blessing, I knew that Heavenly Father was taking it upon himself to heal Mckenzi. His daughter, who He loves as powerfully as I love her. He gave a gift to us yesterday. He allowed us to keep Mckenzi in this life, to continue to love her and cherish her, for whatever reason, and I can only be eternally grateful. I never knew my motherly love could be any stronger, but the intensity with which I love my daughter TODAY utterly amazes me. Such a little person, who has so much influence over me and my happiness. I can't even express how relieved and grateful I am that Heavenly Father decided it was not her time to go.
Waiting in the ER, for hours:
Who wants to see their baby like this?:
Her sweet little foot, and that yucky id:
A mentally, physically, and emotionally drained Daddy:
A mentally, physically, and emotionally drained baby:
I am still grieving. I am still in so much pain. I am emotionally drained, heavy hearted, and plain sick. The memories are obviously still very clear, the feelings and adrenaline still very fresh. Though I should be spending all of my energy praying thanks to a kind and gracious Father in Heaven, I find myself selfishly consumed by what almost happened. Too close. And there was not a thing we could have done to prevent it. It just happened. Seeing the little marks on her chest and tummy and arms from those stupid circular stickers they put all over her for the tests doesn't help either. Every diaper change, they're there staring me in the face, reminding me of what makes me feel worst in this world. The thoughts of my Mckenzi being so far away.
It'll take a day at a time. In the meantime, as a dear friend pointed out, my Father in Heaven knows my heart.