Last night, we were pulling out some of Oscar's old toys for Miles and packing up the more baby-ish toys. We were also pulling out fall/winter hand-me-downs for both boys from the attic and putting up outgrown clothes, shoes, etc.
Our attic is of the pull down variety; the stairs are located in the ceiling of Oscar's room over his crib. To access the attic, we move Oscar's crib and pull down the stairs. We had about eight boxes to go up, so we popped both boys in the crib so I could pass boxes to Nelson.
After we were Oscar stayed in his crib reading books and I put Miles on the floor so I could sort the stuff from the attic and put away clean clothes.
At some point, I heard Miles crying and realized that he was no longer on the floor; Nelson had put him back in the crib with Oscar and LEFT THEM UNATTENDED. When I got into Oscar's room he was pushing Miles down and piling toys on top of him.
Okay, so if you don't already know this you should NEVER leave your toddler with your infant unattended. NEVER. Even if your toddler has never acted out agaist the baby (this would be shocking) he could hurt the baby either intentionally or accidentally.
I tell this to Nelson as I pull Miles out of the crib, and Nelson acknowledges he should have known not to leave them alone. I pass Miles (who is unharmed) to Nelson so I can use the bathroom.
When I get out of the bathroom (two minutes later? five minutes later?) Nelson is standing there holding Miles and he says, "I think he has something in his mouth."
"I think Miles has something in his mouth."
So, I immediately grab Miles' cheeks and do a sweep. Something falls out. It's a PIECE OF WOOD. Maybe a quarter of an inch long?
We begin wondering where this could have come from? Did it come off the floor? Did he PRY UP a piece of our wood floor? They are older and not in perfect condition, but him prying up a piece of floor seems unlikely.
Then, Nelson says, "Wait, he's still got something in there."
I grab Miles again and so a sweep. I feel nothing, but he's clearly gumming something so I go in again, reaching more for the roof of his mouth. And I feel something. Sharp? And as I try to sweep it, I accidentally push it down his throat and he beings choking. Like silent-gag-no-air choking.
Inside I am PANICKING. Miles is choking. He cannot breath. He is going to dye, right here right now. I killed my baby.
Outside, I am instructing Nelson, "Tip him forward!" And I'm firmly patting Miles on his back. And it's working. Miles is beginning to cough, so I stop patting; he starts choking again. I start patting his back again and he begins coughing. I grab him and go in again. I pull out a piece of well-gummed cardboard the size of a quarter. I sweep again. Nothing. I got it all.
All of this transpired in maybe 20 seconds? Less?
Miles is alive and smiling. My head begins spinning, things start going black. I sit down with my head between my knees. "We could have lost him. We almost lost him. I almost killed him."
"No, Jenni you saved him. I had no idea what to do. I could not have done that."
"You are supposed to look before you sweep and I didn't. I just went right into his mouth and I could have killed him."
The cardboard came from one of the boxes. We tracked the wood down to Oscar's crib where we found another small piece. It seemed to have fallen from the attic when we pulled down the stairs. Both innocent accidents; small pieces of everyday debris that we hardly ever take notice of. They could have killed my baby.
Choking is the number one cause of accidental death in children under the age of one. We were so very lucky. He had both of those items in his mouth for SEVERAL minutes without attempting to swallow them. This story could have so easily ended differently.
This was a very scary moment for me. The possibility of losing Miles felt very real and very near. Recalling the fear - the cold pit in my stomach; the panic flutter around my heart; the hot lump in my throat; the inability to get air into my lungs. I'm still not quite over it.