Birthday Girl

This Friday as the credits were rolling after our Friday night movie I heard the tell-tale sound of choking. It was our almost-three year old, our little birthday girl. John sat up in his recliner, trying to see if she was OK. A big sister was patting her on the back.

“Is she OK?” I asked. Someone flipped on the light as I jumped up from the couch and hurried over to her little beanbag nest on the floor. Seconds passed as I patted her back, watching her struggling for air, expecting any second to see her coughing out a popcorn seed. Instead her mouth hung open and her eyes stared and her body grew limp. John grabbed her from me and turned her over and held her head-down, thumping on her back. Still no breathing. He thumped some more as I felt to see if her chest was rising.

“Should we call 911?” I asked him, thinking frantically of the many minutes it would take a rescue worker to reach our house. It seemed to me that her face was getting blue, and all I could think was that it was her birthday in two days and she had to be OK.

“Yes.” John decided quickly. He stuck his finger in her mouth, swiping, feeling for the obstruction. Our 19 year old ran wide-eyed for the phone, with me willling her to move fast. But as she started to dial, John said, lifting his ear from her chest, “No, wait– she’s breathing now.”

She was still limp. I put my hand on her chest and couldn’t feel anything. “No, she’s not!” I was terrified, desperate to get the paramedics on their way to us.

“No, she’s OK,” he reassured me. “See?”

And sure enough, as I sat there on the floor trembling she breathed and moved and pinked up and her face became aware again and she started to cry and held out her arms for me to pick her up so she could cry in my arms for awhile longer.

And tonight we celebrated her third birthday. And she was so beautiful blowing out her candles and opening her gifts and laughing and playing that I wanted to make it go in slow motion.

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  1. Thank God she’s ok!

  2. Oh that must have been so scary for you. I’m so glad your sweetie is alright. A few years ago the little boy of a friend of ours died by choking on a vitamin tablet. It really makes you realise how fragile and precious life is.

    Happy Birthday to your little one!

  3. Thank goodness she is ok… My girl just turned three too

  4. I am reading this with tears streaming down my face. I am so happy she’s ok. What an awful scare.

    Give her happy birthday hugs from me.

  5. Oh, praise God she’s ok!! My worst nightmare is doing CPR on my own child.

  6. I am so thankful she is ok. I hope she had a great birthday. Thank God everything turned out ok.

  7. Yikes, Mary. That was indeed a scary moment.

  8. Oh how scary! Choking is a big time scare for me. I feel so helpless. I always think I should go learn CPR, but never have.
    I hope she had a wonderful birthday!

  9. I’m so glad she’s ok!

  10. All the more precious a birthday celebration then. I’m glad she’s ok.

  11. That brought back one frantic night when Kate was just two, and was ripped out of my arms by the paramedics and taken away in an ambulance.

    Thank you Lord for taking care of our babies.

    Happy Birthday, big girl 🙂

  12. yikes … choking does seem to make time stand still. I am so glad she is ok and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  13. Oh my gosh. I am so very glad she is okay. How incredibly scarey.

    Happy, happy birthday sweet girl!!!!

  14. Oh, I’m so, so glad that she is okay. ((Hugs)) And a very Happy 3rd Birthday to her!!

  15. How terrified you must have been. I can’t even imagine. I felt the world slow down a bit just reading the recounting of it!

    Praise the Lord!

    An even Happier Birthday now!

  16. LISA HARRIGAN says:

    How scary! Glad she’s alright! Big HAPPY BIRTHDAY !

  17. Oh my goodness! How scary!

    Happy Birthday beautiful girl! I’m glad you are OK.

  18. Thank God that she is OK!

    Happy birthday, sweet girl–and many, many more to come.

  19. So glad she’s fine now. Happy, Happy birthday precious girl. Can’t wait to see those photos soon.

  20. Choking is scary. Both my oldest have had their Heimlech maneuver experiences. To this day, I forbid my girls from eating alone.

    I so glad yours is o.k. This is a birthday you won’t soon forget, I’m sure.

  21. Oh Mary, that made my heart stop. Did you ever figure out what she was choking on? Praise God she’s okay.

  22. Wow! I too am so glad your story has a happy ending! Happy Birthday, three year old!

  23. hugs to you and john. gosh that is so scary. xoxoxox

  24. Thank God she is ok, Mary. Happy Birthday to the little one!

  25. The imagery of that post struck terror in my heart. I’m so glad she is okay!

  26. Marsha (Multi-taskingmom) says:

    Thank God!!!!!! I could feel your panic and tears were streaming down my face as I read. Thank God she’s ok. Happy birthday beautiful girl.

  27. And, do we all know the Heimlich maneuver for just such occasions?

  28. WOW! how scary!! Your story brought tears to my eyes!! Thank goodness she is ok!!

  29. So I’m all teared up, Mary! How awful and terrifying! And yet how wonderful that all is well. Many (((HUGS))) to both of you!

  30. How scary! It brought back memories of my own when I was 17 and choked on a piece of meat. My mother saved my life using the Heimlich manuever. I won’t ever forget the terror of opening my mouth and not being able to breathe. Of not feeling air rushing into my lungs. I will also never forget how good, how miraculous that first breath of air felt when my airway was finally cleared. Or of how my mom and I collapsed into each other crying and sobbing when it was all over.

    I am so glad she is alright.

    FYI…our doctor has always said that once the airway is clear, you should still take a child in who has had a choking experience severe enough to cause “bluing” of the face, mouth, etc.

  31. Precious girl, Happy Birthday!
    Thank God you are alive and well and a part of this wonderful family.

  32. Wow, Mary! It’s times like that that it doesn’t seem to matter that mommy and daddy are nurse and respiratory therapist, huh? You’re just mommy and daddy then! Glad she’s ok 🙂

  33. I’m so glad your daughter is okay. What a scary experience for everyone in your family! *hug*

  34. So scary! Glad she is okay. Happy Birthday!

  35. Oh! What a scare! That’s a nightmare of mine. I’m so glad that she was ok! (Beautiful birthday pictures, by the way!)

  36. I’m so glad I read this below that happy smiling birthday post, otherwise it would have been terrifying.

    IT reminds me of the stupidest thing I have ever done in my life. In church the Sunday they announced my engagement, an orange flavored candy I was sucking on slip down my windpipe and I started choking on it and coughing. But I was in church and I was so conditioned not to disturb the service that I got up and left the sanctuary and walked into the bathroom, still choking on this candy. I stood all alone in the bathroom staring at my face turning steadily more purple in the mirror and still not able to breath and thought, “I am a total idiot, I’m going to die in here, choking on a candy, because I didn’t want people to hear me cough.”

    Well, I lived, I choked it out, and as I was taking my 20 heaving gasping breath, some person who had seen me leave the sanctuary appeared in the bathroom to make sure I was alright, I don’t even remember who.

    Now I follow choke coughing people around, just in case.

  37. How frightening! I’m glad she’s ok!

  38. how utterly horrifying. So glad all is well! happy birthday little one!

  39. I’m so glad that she is okay! How scary. What beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing!

  40. Man, that is so scary! I’m so glad to hear she’s doing better now. I can’t imagine what we would have done!!