After they have left

August 28th, 2008

After they have left, driving slowly with lights extinguished, I start to shake. After they have left I set Little Boy C on the floor with a toy and start to cry. After they have left, taking the moment with them, the moment rushes at me from the high corners of the room: Little Boy C coughing, dry-heaving like a cat, something in his mouth I can’t reach, dialing 144 thumping his back all the while. Waiting, it seems an eternity, for the ambulance that arrives only after C has thrown up his afternoon bottle and a puzzle piece of one of the dried-up leaves that are falling into our garden now that late August is here. They ask me to describe what happened, the paramedics, while trying to look at the little boy I will not let go of. They are kind and dismiss with sympathetic eyes my apologies for the unnecessary call. The team leader whose name I forgot the moment he said it looks at me with the eyes of a parent; he knows this fear, I think. His partner tells me, “Lieber ein mal zu viel… [rather one call too many…].” She listens to C’s lungs and pronounces them clear; he has not, she feels, aspirated anything. They take some information, fill out a form, and leave. Everything is fine, everything is okay, C is fine, C is okay, it is all over as fast as it began, my coughing child vomiting up this dry and pointy-edged but harmless piece of autumn. Already he is playing on the floor, taking advantage of his brother’s visit to the grandparents to play with all the things A will not let him play with. He is happily destroying a Lego-firehouse, blocks flying. Everything is okay. Everything is fine.

It is only after they have left that I start to sob. Everything is fine.


6 Responses to “After they have left”

  1. Reto on August 28, 2008 8:21 pm

    I am sorry I wasn’t there. You did well and sobbing afterwards where things turn out well is all good. I cannot even imagine what would have been if you wouldn’t have called in time and C wouldn’t have thrown up….. Such a scary thought. Go Mama!

  2. kristen on August 28, 2008 10:46 pm

    Oh Jennifer! I’m so sorry, but so relieved, and like you I would have called and cried and been completely insane with fear. Sending a big hug across many miles.

  3. Trish on August 29, 2008 1:16 am

    Oh my god, you poor thing. I know exactly what that feels like. I’m so relieved for you that everything was OK.

    My hours-old baby, lying on her back in her crib in our room in the maternity ward, started choking on her own mucous. I picked her up, ran outside into the corridor and screamed for help – incredibly, there was nobody around. I had completely panicked, not even thinking to turn her face-down so the horrible stuff could drain from her mouth. Finally somebody came, and I fell on the ground, having momentarily forgotten that my legs were still numb from the epidural. She was fine, and I cried myself to sleep. And then I took a Red Cross First Aid Course for Parents and now I know what to do.

    Isn’t parenting just THE MOST FUN EVER!!??

  4. Bethany on August 29, 2008 11:58 am

    Oh boy, do I know that feeling. I think it’s those after-the-fact moments that we catch a glimpse of just how deep our mamalove goes… that even when everything turned out fine, we can’t help sobbing.
    I’m so glad your little boy is okay.

  5. christina on September 3, 2008 2:09 am

    Oh sweetie–sooo scary. God. I’m so glad he’s okay.

  6. elizabeth on October 4, 2008 10:44 pm

    That sounds terrifying. I’m so glad everything ended well.

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