it's 9:30am... do you know where your children are?

I wasn't ready to post this until today. Initially I wasn't going to, but one of the reasons I write this blog is so I can go back when my kids are big and have an accurate picture of what life was like with two tiny ones. If I only write about the cute, fun, sweet things that happen I may very well forget about weekends like this past one, and end up with 18 kids like that one woman in Arkansas. (Bless her heart. She's much more together with 18 than I am with 2, as you will soon see.)

We had a house showing, a birthday party and a bridal shower on Saturday. In the morning we were all running around trying to clean, pack, find directions and get the kids dressed. As I was getting some socks from Ocean's room I suddenly realized that it was very quiet. I went downstairs and listened, but heard nothing. I called for Phil and there was no response. I figured he had taken the kids outside. That is, until he entered the house right at that moment... with no children.

"Where are the kids?" I asked.
"I don't know. I was outside. Weren't you watching them?" he asked.
"I thought you were watching them!" I said, starting to panic a little.

"Ocean?" I yelled. I heard a faint response: "NOTHING!"

Oh, crap.

I ran to the master bathroom, where the door was closed and both kids were inside. I opened the door and they were sitting on the floor amidst a pile of broken, chewed up and spit out Coumadin tablets.

I flipped. Then I called 911.

Phil started fishing pills out of Iris's mouth, while trying to get the story from Ocean. According to Ocean, he tried them but they tasted sour. Iris, however, consumed anywhere between "nothing" and "seven" pills, which pretty much translates to "I have no idea so I'm just going to throw out numbers until mom stops crying." (Staying calm in a panicky situation is not my forte.)

After speaking (shrieking? sobbing?) with the 911 operator and poison control, I was told to get to the emergency room as quickly as we could. As we were pulling away an ambulance arrived just to make sure we were all okay.

We got to the hospital and Phil dropped us off at emergency. If you want to be seen in emergency right away, just tell admissions that your kids swallowed blood thinners. We were whisked back immediately.

By now, Ocean must have realized that we were not going to Caitlin's birthday party and he started getting very anxious. As we were walking down the hallway to pediatric emergency he began screaming, hitting and kicking me. I ignored it because discipline issues aren't a priority when your child may have a stomach full of pills. He wiggled his hand out of my grasp and took off running back down the hall towards the entrance so I handed Iris to a nurse and had to chase him down.

The next 30 minutes were a blur of me attempting to wrangle my children as they tried to escape. Iris lost her boot in the struggle at one point and started screaming, "Shoe! Shoe!" as if she knew she didn't stand a chance of outrunning me and all the medical staff unless she had both of her little pink boots on.

Out of the blue, and miracle of miracles, Ocean calmed down after a nurse turned on the TV. He crawled into his kid-sized hospital bed, declaring that he did not want to go home, but wanted instead to stay at the "hoppital." Once Ocean was calm Iris relaxed as well.

They both had to drink charcoal. (Which, interestingly, has made a return visit for the past 48 hours.) We were all shocked that they both loved it, and I'm sure that was only because the doctor called it chocolate milk. Call anything chocolate and my kids will eat it. They had black charcoal goatees after devouring their delicious charcoal (gag) and the doctor asked me if I had a camera on my phone to take a picture. I wearily said, "I'm not actually certain that I want to remember this moment. But neat idea."

Then they had to get their blood drawn. Ocean was fine until he got poked with the needle. When he welled up I promised him more chocolate milk when they were all done. He was a little champ.

Iris started throwing punches the second the nurses laid her down on her cot. I was stroking her little bald head and saying, "It's okay, sweetie. Mommy's here." But it was no use. She was pissed. She was positively glaring at me. Her mouth was saying, "ALL DONE! ALL DONE!" but her eyes were saying, "You bitch."

The labs came back normal, but since Coumadin takes a while to actually thin the blood we had to go back yesterday to get more blood drawn. It was much worse for Ocean this time because he knew what was coming, but Iris pretty much lay there looking furious, undoubtedly plotting her revenge. The results came back normal for Ocean, but elevated for Iris which means she definitely ingested some. When discussing our follow-up plan with the doctors they said, "You guys are intelligent people so we want to include you in the decision-making..." and I thought, "Really now? Intelligent? Our kid(s?) just ate blood thinners. 'Intelligent' is not the adjective I would use to describe us at this very moment." So 'we' (Phil, aka the Coumadin expert) decided it would be best to check her levels again the next day (today) to see if they changed. (They did; they went down.) We will go back again tomorrow to make sure they're still coming down and if so then we can put this whole stupid thing behind us (or lock it up in a kitchen cabinet six feet above the tallest foot stool in our house).

This entire situation was not as funny as my language may reflect, obviously. While this was everyone's fault and yet no one's fault, there are many valuable lessons here, most of which you actually intelligent parents already knew:
1. Children should never be left unattended.
2. Never ASSume that someone else is attending your/their children.
3. Don't ever ever ever leave medicine in a place that children can get their hands on it. Childproof bottle or not.

This medication was inside a zippered bag on top of the sink. One of them pulled it off the vanity, unzipped the bag, opened the CHILDPROOF bottle (which is actually very common, according to the 911 operator, poison control, the ER doctors and the nurses at our family doctor, but does not make me feel at all justified in my failures here) and convinced the other one to start popping pills. And I would bet the farm that Iris was the ring leader. If you know my kids, you will not dispute this. This is not to place any blame on them, but simply to illustrate their amazing ability to get into something dangerous within minutes when we never would have seen it as a hazard.

I won't allow myself to think about what could have happened. I'm so thankful that they are both okay and I realize that many parents aren't so lucky. My children are absolutely my favorite people in the world and I would give my life for those little boogers. I can't imagine my world without them.

I'm sure this will go down in my personal parenting history as my stupidest, most negligent mommy moment. I just hope you all won't judge me too harshly, and that you will take the time to lock up any and everything that could be a hazard to your kids... though you probably already have.

If you have kids, give them lots of kisses. If you don't have kids, thank your parents. This is the hardest job in the world.


amy said...

oh my goodness i am in tears just reading this - i am so glad that they are ok cassie!! you totally made me think too because usually jackson is so good about not getting into things and putting stuff in his mouth so i have been known to leave things lying around and not be as careful as i should be - i will definitely be going through the house and making sure things are put away HIGH! i am so sorry this happened to you!!!

Becky said...

Oh Cassie, oh honey! I am so sorry you all went through that but SO glad everything is okay. Nobody with kids could judge you, because we have all had those moments when we thought, "Well, there's no way the baby could [insert anything here]," and then the baby gets hurt. Like, I'll just put her here in the middle of the bed, because she can't scoot yet. Thunk!

Because of this, I'm going to go on a patrol around the house for any bad stuff that may have escaped our childproofing net.

LisaRoze said...

I am so thankful everyone is okay.

Here is the short list of things ingested by one or more of my boys: Desitin, infant suppositories, A & D ointment, dishwasher tabs, the ever so popular but thankfully non-toxic crayola's and glue sticks and Lord knows what else. Not to minimize your case but, just to say - it happens to the best of us.

Amy said...

Bless your heart! Judge you--are you kidding me? Like Beck said, anyone with kids knows how easily that stuff happens. In fact, I know of some definite things in our house that need to be locked away. Thank you for that wake up call. I'm gonna do it today.

Thank God everyone is fine! And can I add--charcoal?? YUCK.

The 313 said...

i am so sorry this happened but so thankful that everyone is okay. I cannot imagine what it felt like to go through all of that! it's all a learning process, isn't it? and despite our best efforts, it's impossible to control everything (although i like to tell myself otherwise). you are a wonderful wonderful mom! (like someone else said - it could happen to the best of us!) hugs.

Jeff and Alysa Bajenaru said...

I started getting sick the more and more that I read. I hate that feeling of "oh crap, I have no idea what my son is doing or where he's at!" I am so glad those two are OK! Thanks for sharing.

Amy McKenna said...

Cassie! I am soooo glad the kids are ok! I also suck at remaining calm in such situations (LOTS of sobbing and hyperventilating), as Stephen will note from our "Cassidy falling down the wooden basement stairs because we forgot to make sure Sophia had shut the door" incident a few months ago. Thanks for your honesty in this post. This imperfect mommy will not be judging you... :)

Jobi Harrell said...

No judgement here...more grateful that you brought this to our attention. We're totally lax about pill safety here and I have new pills that could do damage-gonna go clean up right now. Peace, health and blessings to you all...

Andrea said...

I'm so glad everyone will be ok! Parenting is the hardest job in the world. Thank God none of us are alone in it.

Cassie said...

Thank you, all of you, for your kind words of support and encouragement. Both kids are doing fine; we have one more finger prick on Thursday to make sure we have the all clear. The trickiest thing is making sure Iris doesn't fall and bump her head since she would be prone to bleeding... try telling a 14 month old to be careful/slow down/etc. She just cackles and takes off running.

Phil said...

I'll admit, one of my reactions was [insert bad word].... having cancer is nothing after discovering your two children may have OD-ed on your blood thinners. This whole experience just makes me realize more and more how little control we truly have. You can do everything right, but in a moments notice it could all be gone. Keep learning and keep loving everyone! Hugs and kisses to all your little ones.

Candice said...

Holy crap thats a mess!!! Just glad they are both okay! :)

Cassie said...

Candice, where have you been hiding? I know it's a busy time of year for you and all but sheesh! I miss your lovely avatar!