Mom performs CPR, and this is her story.
Written by MP Member: Christine Goodwin
With a nickname like that, it's probably clear that our daughter is a risk-taker. She was a busy baby, always climbing, running and jumping. "That craaazy baby Harper!" her big sister Teagan would sigh.
I was waiting for her to need stitches or break a bone one of these days- I was ready for a bit of blood. But this I never would have imagined. Ever.
It was a normal day. Christmas was coming. I had 3 days left & I was nowhere near ready. But with a 3 kids under 5, I was trying to give myself a pass. Harper played so well that day... She knew Santa was watching and she wanted him to bring her a Jack-in-the-Box 🤡 (which was so darn cute!). We were both impatient for later on, when we would all decorate our tree together.
She went to watch her boo, Dora and eat a snack in her room and I fed 3 month old Hudson. She was alone for maybe 10 minutes. I felt like I should go check on her, but I couldn't put my finger on exactly why.
THANK ALL THAT IS MIGHTY FOR THAT URGE. My baby girl had used a small chair to climb up onto the window ledge and was hanging with the metal ball chain from her blinds around her neck. Purple. Lifeless.
I was screaming. I ran for her and took her down, started CPR in a panic. (Probably the worst ever because I could not remember how many of which to do- how many compressions? When is the breath? It's a blur.)
I'm going to be honest, I didn't think I stood a chance- I was thinking my baby was dead and that I was surely THE worst mother ever. I felt like I was free falling out of an airplane, and then sort of out of body watching this horror in front of me...
And then it started to work.
Short breaths started to come, slow but they were there. The wait for paramedics was short by the clock but when you are counting your child's breaths it sure seems long. I was just counting those breaths out loud for the 911 dispatcher. Trying to not vomit. (How did I let this happen??)
My house filled with faces of paramedics and police- faces I never forget, even though I definitely didn't absorb names. They rushed her to the hospital.
We got to the hospital and were greeted by a Chaplain (Oh no, I was thinking) beside our baby on full life-support. They told us to talk to her- to hold her hand. I stroked her beautiful face and tried to think hopeful, healing thoughts for her.
We couldn't know yet whether she would ever wake up, let alone what damage may have been done to her brain. It was a terrifying night. People ALL over heard about her and prayed. They sent healing thoughts and good vibes, and every little bit held us up.
"Don't get your hopes up too high." They said.
Well this child has got more fight and more strength in her than any of us knew. By 4am she was fighting the breathing tubes enough that they extubated her... she was breathing on her own!!! Around 5am I thought I felt her foot move, the Doctors and Nurses were SO kind, but again tried to temper our expectations. No guarantees.
At 530am Harper stirred and muttered "Mama... Booboo..." and I think my heart leapt out of my throat!
The sheer relief. Breathing. Talking.
"What's That sound?...." She was curious about the beeping. She was sedated after that for a while to allow her brain more time, the swelling was a concern that would be monitored.
The next couple of days are not very clear for me. There were lots of checkups and tests and baby steps towards walking and eating... Santa and Mrs Claus visited on Xmas eve and she got beautiful Christmas gifts. (I will never forget nurse Jackie for her kindness )
Her neurology team was floored by her clean MRI. They called it "...nothing short of a miracle- A Christmas Miracle."
Then they looked at me very specifically and told me "You should remember that YOU saved her. Your actions. We cannot always keep our children safe, but you knew what to do. Be very proud of that." .... That is a hard one. I feel so guilty for not being there when she got hurt. And I think of the other innumerable ways these little munchkins get into trouble and how fast it can happen...
SO many parents and caregivers have shared with me that they would have been screwed if they were in my position, because they never got CPR training. I am Haunted by thoughts of what it would have felt like to find her that way and not be able to act.
Please please, even If it's not a work requirement- Do it. Get CPR trained. It's well worth it. Also check your curtains and blinds for strings or loops that your child could spot and climb up to. I went a bit crazy on that front and tore down alllll of the blinds. Would not recommend that route 🤣 #ptsd
We brought Harper home around Noon on Christmas Day. Since we had not done groceries, we ordered Chinese and held our 3 babies so tight. Harper's fortune seriously read "You Are the Symbol of Strength."
(I discovered recently a company who does in home CPR and 1st Aid training, which sounds like THE greatest solution... Get training while socializing and never have to leave home. Local to me is Save-a-life CPR (based out of Cambridge, they serve all of Western Ontario!)