On Thursday night I was scared. Very scared. Scared to the point where at times I couldn't talk because I knew it would mean I would cry – and the way I cry you can't understand what I'm saying, my words come out sounding like a bear stuck in a lawnmower. But I had to keep calm and in stay in control.
Tricky had been a little grumpy for a few hours, more than likely because the day before he had received his first immunisations, so we decided to give him a bath because he really likes them. Every time he gets in the water he goes wide eyed and quiet, as if he is concentrating on the sensations. Instead of bathing him in his plastic bathtub, we put him in the big bath with me so he could get some nice cuddles at the same time as getting squeaky clean. Two birds, one stone, perfect.
This time though, instead of the usual look of awe, he did really long, slow blinks and then went to sleep on my chest. I tried waking him up a few times but he just wanted to go back to sleep. He had been sleepy earlier because of the shots, but not like this. I turned him around to face me, mainly because I thought he looked so scrumptious in his naked sleepiness and I wanted a better look at him. Then I noticed that all around his lips, the skin was tinged blue. I called in Hubby. Did he think it looked blue too, or was it just the lights? No. It wasn't the lights. He had a little five o'clock shadow about fifteen years too early.
We got out of the bath and he didn't cry. He normally has a little cry when he realises the lovely watery world of the tub has been taken away from him. But he was silent. I didn't like it one bit. He was still breathing fine, and there was no other discolouration on him anywhere else but the little alarm bells going off in my head would not be silenced.
The colour returned shortly after that but I couldn't shake one image from my mind – photos of my sister with her lips blue from lack of oxygen. Should we just watch for a while and see if he was alright? Or should we go by the old 'better safe than sorry' mantra and head to the emergency department? There was no way I would be able to sleep without knowing he was alright, so we went to Princess Margaret Hospital for Children. On the way there I sat in the back seat and watched him the entire time, I just couldn't look away. I had to see his chest moving up and down.
In triage his oxygen saturation was measured and found to be 99% so he was definitely not in any immediate danger. We were given a bed in emergency and found ourselves at the bottom of the list. Strangely I found this comforting. They would have rushed to us if they thought he was sick, wouldn't they? In the bed to our right was a boy with a broken arm and Hubby and I chatted about when he broke his arm as a kid, falling off his bike. I wanted to talk about anything and everything... to keep my mind occupied so that it didn't wander off with worst case scenarios. It did not help that the song stuck in my head was “Blue Lips” by Regina Spektor.
After a while we were seen by an amazing young doctor who made me feel immediately at ease. She didn't make me feel like an idiot for coming in, she listened to the history of my sister's heart defect and then examined him thoroughly – she listened to his heart, checked to see if his hands, feet and tongue were pink, and did other doctor-y things. He was fine. She explained that sometimes this happens, it's normal. Really? It's normal for my kid's mouth to go blue? Apparently, yes. Because it was the area around his lips and not the lips themselves. Bizarre. I was given a full medical explanation but in the emotion of it all I've forgotten what exactly it was.
We arrived home at 1.00am and I cried with a mix of relief and exhaustion. I thought I would feel silly for going to the hospital only to be turned around with a clean bill of health, possibly labelled a paranoid parent... but I didn't. Instead I felt secure in the knowledge that I'd done the right thing. My Tricky was safe and the saying is right because it's way better than being sorry. I slept soundly... until he woke me up for another feed anyway.