Last weekend I was still too upset to relate the tale of the day, so I posted pictures. Here's what happened:
It was afternoon. Daddy was doing home improvement in the other room and I was feeding Billy his afternoon snack. I had cut up lots of nice, ripe strawberries for Billy to eat. He was devouring everything on his plate and I knew he'd be asking for more. So, I got up and went to the fridge and pulled out more strawberries.
I looked over at him just then because I always try to have my eye on him but can't from inside the fridge. Maybe 10 or 15 seconds had gone by. He was choking. It wasn't his usual gag then spit it out and keep eating routine. His color had changed. There were tears of panic streaming down his face.
This was the most frightening moment of my life.
I called for Daddy and rushed over to help Billy. "Spit it out!" I shouted. Because sometimes Billy forgets. But nothing. He was really choking. I leaned him over his tray and began slapping his back with solid, hard thumps. One at a time. I heard air. So, I reached in his mouth, and using the "hook" maneuver I learned in CPR class back in 1997, I fished out the strawberries from his throat.
He was crying. Silently. No wailing. No wah. Just tears. Streaming down his face. I held him tightly to me while he calmed down, hiccuping into my shoulder.
A few minutes later, the contents of his stomach returned, ending his terrible ordeal. He was fine after that and went along to play with no problem.
He filled his mouth with strawberries. Then, the first hiccup arrived while his mouth was full. The reflex to suck in on the first hiccup got several pieces of strawberry to lodge in his throat. Even though they were cut up, they stuck together to form a plug- clearly evident when I pulled them out of his mouth.
The only thing I can say is that vigilance is key. If I hadn't been paying attention for a few minutes I would be writing a very different post. And with a one year old, he's old enough to get into serious trouble, but doesn't yet understand the dangers.
It was a terrible moment in my life and and I hope to never experience anything like that again. I just keep seeing his tears of panic, real panic, that no baby should have to experience. It's what I see when I close my eyes. I can't get the image out of my head.
I don't have anything pithy to say about this and I don't have any advice. Just... be vigilant.