We had our first near-death experience with Lexi a couple days ago. We were on vacation in the Smokies and stopped to eat at the best pizza place ever. Lexi was happily eating rolls until the pizza came. She was starting to get fussy and wanted to get out of her chair. When she saw the pizza, she went bananas for it. Of course, it was super hot, so I told her to wait. Toddlers don’t like the word wait. I saw the beginning of a tantrum coming on, so I ripped off a piece of crust and gave it to her. I remember thinking, “This crust is kind of hard….but she’s getting better at this chewing thing…it will be fine.”
Lexi shoved the crust in her mouth and began chewing…she just never finished chewing. All toddlers cough and sputter during meals; they are just learning how much to chew and when to swallow. So when Lexi started sputtering, I didn’t think much of it. Then she stopped sputtering. And I started panicking. She just sat in her chair with a pained look on her face, as silent as she could be. Silence means the airway is completely blocked and the person needs help – like the Heimlich – in order to unblock the airway.
Things moved in slow motion. As my mind began to realize what was truly happening, thoughts of losing my precious child flashed in my head. I couldn’t breathe at the thought of not having Lexi in my life.
My mother-in-law, who has been trained in CPR/Heimlich forever, was quicker to act than I was. She pulled Lexi out of her high chair. At that moment, I saw Lexi begin to turn blue. My husband says that didn’t happen. Either way, my mother-in-law flipped Lexi onto her stomach and began hitting her in the center of her back with the palm of her hand. After 4 or 5 blows, the pizza crust came out and Lexi was breathing again.
I scooped her into my arms as she began to cry and quickly took her outside the restaurant. At first I left to console Lexi. Then I realized I was way more shaken up than she was. She recovered within 1 minute while I had a nervous breakdown. I thought about how much I treasure my baby girl and how I just couldn’t go on if God took her to heaven before he takes me. Then the guilt set in – I had given her the pizza crust even though I thought it was too hard for her to chew. Then I thought about how I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if the outcome had been bad.
Luckily, the Lord protected Lexi that day and didn’t allow any permanent harm to occur. I pray that he will continue to divinely protect her every moment of her life.