This adorable little guy with the eyes that always look surprised to see you and hair that never lays down flat is Ezekiel. He's the 4 month old baby of Sergio and Briseyda -- our church's worship leaders and leaders of ADAPTinternational (a pastoral training program). Precious? You betcha!
Ezekiel has been fighting a cold -- like most of the kids in the church -- for what seems like a month. He and Jahaziel and Nehemias seem to have been passing this nasty, phlegmy, croupy thing back and forth all winter. Poor little guys. This past week, they all seemed to be on the mend. No more fevers, no more green snot. Life was finally somewhat back to normal.
Sunday, we had a serious scare.
First of all, let me say that I don't scare easily. I tend to be pretty level-headed in an emergency. I'm kind of the "get 'er done" type of person anyway, and in tense situations I turn into Mrs. Efficient.
I took first aid in highschool. I took CPR training in college. I got certified for both when I worked for the state of California. I have 4 boys. BUT never in my life have I actually seen mouth-to-mouth performed "in person", nor have I ever watched someone pass out from choking. It's an extremely scary thing. Especially when the person choking is the 4 month old baby in your arms.
Sunday after church, Sarah and I had just finished loading up the van and were beginning the process of gathering the boys together to head home. Boca is very relaxed on Sunday afternoons -- lots of visiting back and forth, cars stopped in the street, people milling around, quite a bit of noise.
I noticed a bit of commotion over at Gloria's house (across the street from the church), but figured the dog was chasing a chicken or something, so I didn't really pay attention...until Gloria shrieked, "Rebecca!!! There's something wrong with the baby!!!" Suddenly, it seemed like everything on the street stopped still and then people began racing to Gloria's house as fast as possible.
A friend of mine, who happens to be a nurse, ran up just behind me. I grabbed Ezekiel from his great-grandma (who was moaning and screaming and making no sense whatsoever) and did what most moms do when a baby looks like he's choking -- I stuck my finger down his throat. I've had lots of practice at that. All I felt was slime. The poor boy was choking on his own phlegm. I turned to my nurse-friend and told her, "Pura flema!" (Remember, we're in Mexico -- even in a crisis, I still have to think in Spanish). She grabbed him and turned him over and tried to force the blockage out.
Ezekiel literally was turning white and then blue in front of our eyes as he fought and struggled to take a breath. Moments which seemed incredibly long, but were probably only seconds, passed. Ezekiel's eyes rolled back, and he just kind of melted. My friend looked at me and I looked at her. She was calm, but I could see fear in her eyes like I felt in mine. At that moment -- and this all happened very fast -- I realized that there was a circle around us of people from church praying out loud. My kids (some of them) were there. "Air!" I said. "Boca a boca, " my friend said. We flipped him over and she began to blow into his mouth. Nothing. She blew again...hard. There was a deep "Pop!" as the ball of phlegm broke loose and suddenly Ezekiel began to cry and gasp.
Relief swept over us, the prayers of crying out to God turned to shouts of praise, and Ezekiel was handed over to Grandma...who was still crying, but now with relief rather than terror.
I still feel almost nauseous thinking about it, and when I close my eyes, I see him crumple. Just plain scary.
I was reminded of some things on Sunday...
- It's so important to remain calm in an emergency situation. You just can't think when you're "freaking out"...and neither can anyone around you.
- Situations can change incredibly rapidly, and when they do, we don't usually have time to think...we just react.
- Our first reaction should be prayer, because God is the one who gives peace in terrifying situations.
Our church leadership has decided to dedicate more time to prayer for our kids. All 4 of the families in leadership have kids who have been sick a lot lately, and we're feeling very "under attack" right now. With this swine flu thing going on, and now the scare with Ezekiel, we believe we need to pray more.
The doctors aren't totally sure what happened with Ezekiel. His lungs are clear, and he seems to be having no problem with phelgm now. Praise God!!! I'm pretty certain that he'll be sleeping Mom and Dad's arms for a while! Was the incident a spiritual attack? There are several folks in the church who believe so. There is a lot of witchcraft in our village and the villages surrounding us. Either way, though, this experience has drawn the leadership together to pray more fervently for the very lives of our children.
I hope you're encouraged to do the same...for our kids and for the children in your life, too!