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Katy England Katy England
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edge staff writer


Everyone is fine, even mom

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Look! She's conscious! Look! She's conscious!

Everyone is OK. It's important to start these stories with that caveat.

Anyone with a toddler knows about the unique terror-filled joy of watching your bean go through the metamorphosis from the larval infant stage into a toddler. Pulling up into a standing position, cruising around on furniture and wobble-walking across open spaces you get the idea. And then there are the experiments with gravity.

Heads are bonked, tears are shed, boo-boos kissed. Until the Big One happens.

Ah, the Big One. I remember when I was young, my brother and I were being bad, jumping from one bed to another. He decided to see what would happen when he pushed me as I leapt. Well, what happened was my face abruptly met the bed frame and I was whisked to the ER to meet some new doctors. I got some stitches. But I can still recall the stillness that came over my parents when I went downstairs with blood streaming down my face, my brother in tears behind me, and me trying to calmly explain that he hadn't meant to do it (I'm almost certain I was in shock, but who the hell knows).

We've been lucky, for the most part. The kids are healthy, haven't even gotten a cold, and outside of a couple of urinary tract infections, we've been in the clear. Until I had to call 911.

I had been spending time with one of my daughters in what I affectionately call the Baby Cage (a six-sided, freestanding, interlocking baby gate). We were practicing sitting up and standing while holding on to the bars. Her siblings were playing quietly with toys in the living room. We've been doing some free-range play with the kids so they can have the fun of crawling long distances across the house. One of the free kids made a bee-line for the stairs, so I left my daughter clinging happily to the bars to keep my other from climbing the stairs and having a spill. As I scooped that one up, I heard the other hit the deck BOOM on the carpeted floor, followed by a wail. This was not the first time someone had fallen, though it was her first time falling. I plopped the boy in the crib and went to make boo boos better.

But she was tense, her face screwed up like she was going to start bawling. But she didn't, which was weird. Then she went waxy and limp and I grabbed the phone and made the call.

I'm familiar with dispatch. I chatted with them on occasion when trying to get a police report and see if an officer is on duty. I can count on one hand how many times I've dialed 911 (once for someone driving the wrong way on the highway, once for a bunch of cows on the highway and last week).

While speaking with the man on the other end of the phone, my gal came back in a big way. Screaming. Which was great, because screaming is normal. I can deal with screaming. I suddenly love screaming. I put the phone down (not hanging up) and tried to get her to relax. But she went pale again with a bluish tinge around her lips and the world took on a crystalline quality of the knowledge that she might die because she bonked her head. It seemed so ridiculous and so real. But that didn't happen - as the title suggests, she's fine. In fact, after going out, she basically went to sleep. I proceeded to give the poor dispatch guy a play-by-play of what I was doing (in a very loud, probably painfully high voice) - tickling her feet, pinching her cheeks and belly, calling her name, etc. And just as the EMTs arrived, her eyes blinked open. She looked at me, and other than some initial confusion as to why I was so unnerved, became her normal self.

She delighted in being the center of attention with the new people that came to visit with her, and attempted on several occasions to eat one of the EMT's walkie-talkies. They checked her for concussion nothing. Made sure she was alert and behaving normally, and after getting my signature that we didn't need a ride to Bangor, they left.

And of course it isn't until you have 20/20 hindsight that you can do internet searches on this stuff. We took her to her primary doc the next day, and I was able to learn all about breath-holding spells, which, though utterly terrifying, are also somewhat common.

So, it sucked. But it ended up OK. To all parents who have had a Big One, have a long distance hug.


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