Over the past two weeks I have had clients, colleagues and friends share tragic stories with me about unfortunate circumstances surrounding airway obstruction and cardiac arrest. Today I would like to share a more uplifting story in hopes that it will bring understanding of the importance of knowing CPR. As I always say in my classes... when in doubt, start CPR immediately!
A big thanks to Bobby for writing and sharing his story with me so that I can share it. If this story even impacts one person, my purpose for sharing it has been achieved.
My Infant CPR Story
By Bobby C.
It’s Monday night and I just got home from watching the Steelers beat the Texans with some buddies. That’s when my beautiful wife – very pregnant with twin girls - informs me that her water just broke. IT’S GO TIME!
Fast forward to the next day, and we’re in the hospital room together as she recovers from her c-section with our tiny, amazing double helping of first child. We’re told she’s going to spend 3-4 days in the hospital recovering, and I decided to use that time to soak up as much parenting information as possible.
I was hovering over nurses studying their swaddling technique and bugging doctors about normal vital signs and what to watch out for. When I found out the hospital offered an infant first aid and CPR course, I figured I might as well take it. I didn’t know then just how prescient that decision would be.
When we brought our little girls home it finally hit us that we were on our own and we set to parenting. The girls didn’t make it easy. Baby A was colicky and the first week we had them we were struggling to sooth her. Sleep deprived and shorthanded, we did everything we could… and then, in the middle of the night, it happened - something caught in her throat. She started turning blue, eyes bulging and tongue lolling. My wife started screaming and time slowed to a crawl for me.
I felt like I was in the Matrix, pulling the baby out of her arms in slow motion and tossing her the phone, yelling “CALL 911 NOW!”. I had a moment of panic as my infant daughter stared at me silently from my arms, and then my brain jolted me with “YOU KNOW HOW TO FIX THIS!”
I cradle her face down in my left hand and start quick back blows to try and dislodge whatever might be impeding her airway. After a couple of hits, I hear her start screaming. “She’s breathing!” I yell, and time speeds back up to normal.
First responders arrived minutes later. With my wife crying and cradling Baby B, I watched as the paramedics checked Baby A’s vitals. “Looks like she’s fine” they tell me. After they leave, my adrenaline finally spent, my knees buckled and I collapsed.
When we finally got the girls to sleep that night, my wife and I just kind of looked and each other, dumbfounded by the events of the night. “Good thing I took that Infant CPR course, huh?”
“Yeah, good thing you did.”
Read more CPR survival stories on the American Heart Association's website at: