Last night I probably had my most frightening mummy experience to date. I genuinely felt like someone was watching over us because it was one of those innocent situations that could have turned out completely differently.
We’d had a super busy weekend filled with birthday parties and family functions. Virràe had been a little off his food since Saturday, but as he was still eating, and I knew he was teething, I didn’t think too much if it. By 6pm Sunday, he was so tired that I knew he would never make it through bath time. As we were at my parents house and our bags were already packed, I did a quick pyjama change and within a few minutes he was sparked out on my bed. I lay his head on a pillow to help ease his already congested head and went down to pack the car up. As I didn’t expect him to fall asleep when he did, I had already packed the monitor thinking I would put him straight in the car after his bath and he would fall asleep on the way home. Honestly speaking, it didn’t cross my mind to take it back out my bag because I knew it was only going to be ten minutes before we were on the road. What could go wrong in ten minutes?
The first thing I did was switch the car on to get it warmed up, and my mum helped me pack up the boot with all our bags. It still amazes me just how much stuff you need when travelling with a child. As I was doing a last check of the house to make sure we’d taken everything, I heard Nik shout my name and I immediately knew something was wrong. I ran upstairs with my heart beating out of my chest to find my son lying in a pool of his own vomit. I say pool, because he was literally swimming in it and every inch of him was covered. Judging by the mess, it looked like he had been violently sick at least ten times, if not more, and all of it in his sleep. Not once did he cry or so much as whimper. I’d even kept the door ajar, just in case in the few minutes that I was going to be gone he woke up, never in a million years did I think this would have happened. I gently lifted him from the bed, and although it must have only been a few seconds, it honestly felt like an eternity before he finally opened his eyes. My head was pounding with the question ‘what if’? What if I hadn’t put a pillow under his head? What if he didn’t have the strength to roll over onto his side? What if I had been more than ten minutes? What if he had choked?
I knew I didn’t have time to explore the answers, I just had to concentrate on getting Virràe sorted. I scooped him up without a moment’s hesitation and within seconds I too was dripping in sick, but I didn’t care. I gently put him in the shower to rinse the thick coating that clung to his pyjamas and he was crying his eyes out, clearly feeling completely disoriented. That in itself was heart breaking to see. After getting him mopped up and in clean clothes, Virràe sat quiet as a mouse on his Nani’s lap and watched his favourite nursery rhymes on the iPad. I got myself showered and afterwards I just sat on my mum’s bed and I couldn’t get over what could have been. Virràe came waddling over saying ‘mama’, smiling at me as if to say ‘don’t worry, I’m okay’, but I couldn’t shake that churning feeling. If only I had left the monitor plugged in, then I would have heard something, I would have been alerted to the fact that something wasn’t right, but to have to walk in and find Virràe like that with absolutely no warning was truly traumatising. I know he was asleep, but surrounded by all that vomit, he just looked lifeless. It was a scary flash of a life I hope to never face.
Tummy bugs are so common in young children, and I feel very lucky to have made into his second year before we got struck, but I find it so frightening that such a young child can be so horrifically sick without waking up. Maybe he was just exceptionally exhausted and in another situation he would have cried to signal that something was wrong, but the fact is, he didn’t. What if he had started to choke but his body was too tired for its reflexes to kick in? I know each parent has their own ideas of what makes them feel safe when it comes to their children, many use the matt’s under the cot which alarm if a child stops breathing, others are happy with an audio monitor, some with a video and some happy to have the nursery door left open. There’s no rule about what’s right or wrong, it really is about what you as a parent feel is best. Whilst I do always use a video monitor for my peace of mind, even at night it stays on loud right next to my bed, but sometimes in the evenings, I’ll be off doing house work and I don’t take it with me, or it will bleep because its running out of juice and I might wait till Hollyoaks has finished before putting it on charge. Last night has really shaken me up, it showed me that anything can happen in five minutes, and that nothing is worth being without the tool that helps you see in an instant that your child is safe and well.
Virràe is a real stickler for routine, especially at bed time, he’s completely and utterly text book. But yesterday’s experience proved that children are the most unpredictable thing in the world, and I don’t think you can ever be too safe. Yesterday was very frightening, and what could have been doesn’t bear thinking about. I for one won’t ever be leaving Virràe asleep without the monitor plugged in, not even for a few minutes to pack the car. Parenting is a massive learning process, you become wiser with every experience, be it good or bad. I learnt a lot yesterday, and whilst I know we’ll be faced with many more tummy bugs over the coming years, I hope none start quite so scarily as this one.
Blonde Mummy. X