My heart feels raw as I write this. I feel vulnerable and a little scared as I think about the reality of what it means to be a mother. One of my biggest jobs is to protect my children. But sometimes protecting my children isn't enough. When a life-threatening case of croup clenches tight on my sons throat, stealing oxygen from his lungs, I panic. Within seconds I watch him struggle to breathe.
The cool mist of the shower did nothing, we were running out of time. I called 911. The simplest of questions like my address and phone number seemed so hard to remember. I tried to speak slowly and clearly. Then my voice cracked, I was so scared. I could feel a love for my son in a way like never before. A deep, I-would-do-anything, I-would-take-your-place kind of love.
His eyes lock with mine, "It's okay baby, you're going to be okay. Breathe Elias!" His eyes were desperate for me to save him. In that moment I felt devastated as a mother, I could do nothing but wait for the distant sirens of the ambulance.
I held him close and kissed his head. My prayer was a simple plea, "God, help him breathe!" I was asking God for something that I couldn't give my son.
Vitali and Pia stood by, like little watchdogs over their brother. "Mom, what can I do to help?" I remember feeling so proud of my six-year-old son as he was ready to do anything to help his little brother. "Go stand by the front door and wait for the ambulance. When they get here, bring them upstairs."
I remember feeling relieved when my brother-in-law and nurse sat on the bathroom floor with me as I cradled Elias.
I felt comforted that my sister was in my home, acting as a second mother to Vitali and Pia.
I walked outside with Elias stretched out on the gurney, I saw my husband and I held back tears. I could hear Elias struggle to say "Daddy..."
When we arrived at the hospital and the sirens turned off, Elias was trying to say something. With a raspy voice he managed to push out a few words, "A big one!" I laughed and explained to the paramedics that he was excited to ride in a big truck.
Once Elias was given a breathing treatment and steroids, he slowly settled back into himself…and I could breath again too.