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The Story That Started My Journey

As Christmas Day comes to an end, I feel a deep sadness. Our hearts may never feel whole again, but Christmas is meant to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. It is a time of Joy and Celebration as the Hope of Christmas is born into this world as a little baby. He brings with Him the promise of LIFE EVERLASTING.

Johnathan was baptized as one of God’s children on January 27th, 2019. His soul is now at peace in Heaven. Our faith is what brings us any small amount of peace during this unimaginably painful time.

Johnathan died from ingesting a small button battery.

I am going to write out the timeline of events for two reasons. One because it helps me in my grief and two because I want to raise awareness. Neither AJ nor I did anything wrong. We did everything parents are suppose to do to protect their kids. But unfortunately, as we both have witnessed far too many times in our lives, accidents happen.

** Trigger warning. Toddler death **

Wednesday, the 16th, Johnathan went to day care. At noon, the school called to say it appeared he was having a nose bleed. While on the phone with me, he vomited and it was food and blood clots. 911 was called. I left work and drove to him the mile down the road, Beating the ambulance. He was pale and fatigued, but awake. He had blood in his nose and his vomit. Paramedics arrived. He was awake and alert. Vitals all normal. Bleeding had stopped. We were advised to take him to the pediatrician as it seemed he had a nose bleed that upset his stomach. He was smiling and playful.

We saw our pediatrician that day and he examined him. No more bleeding. Child was happy and stable. We were told to watch closely and if any bleeding re-occurred that we would then investigate for more obscure causes of nose bleeds or bleeding disorders.

Thursday he went to daycare and had a happy day. He was picked up by AJ at about 5:30 and was acting extra tired. Checked a temp at 7:00 and it was 101.3. Tylenol and planned a trip back to the pediatrician.

Friday we went to the pediatrician in the morning for the fever and I was worried for aspiration pneumonia. Pediatrician swabbed for COVID. And got a chest X-ray per my request. Chest X-ray, from chin to T12, showed bronchiolitis only. We were Advised to continue to monitor fever over the weekend and return Monday to office if it didn’t improve.

Saturday we laid around the house resting and watching bubble guppies. Johnathan stayed hydrated and ate Doritos. He was obviously tired, but he had a low grade fever and wasn’t sleeping well.

Sunday morning at 6:45 am he coughed while laying in bed with me and a half dollar size spot of blood fell to my bed cover. I wiped his face. No more blood up his nostrils and I got a quick glance at his throat, no blood. AJ and I decided this definitely warranted a return visit to the pediatrician in the morning, but it appeared to have stopped bleeding again. We briefly discussed a trip to the ER, but since the bleeding had stopped, being an ER PA of 9 years and a paramedic husband, we knew there wasn’t much to be done. We would have blood work drawn at the pediatricians. Continue to monitor for any blood. And we did a spray of Afrin in each nostril. He laid back down to sleep and I watched him sleep until 8:30. We were awake watching TV for another 30 minutes then back to his bed where he slept another 45.

Then he coughed. I heard him on the monitor. I went to him. No signs of blood. I brought him to me in the living room and laid him on my chest. A minute later he coughed up red blood. I ran him to AJ and said we’re going to the ER. I grabbed a new T shirt and AJ said he would stay with Michael. I looked over and Johnathan was posturing, lips blue. I grabbed him and AJ called 911. He was breathing after about 30 seconds. And coughed. Dispatch was having us count respirations. Then he stopped breathing. AJ checked a pulse. No pulse. He immediately started compressions. I gave rescue breaths. The first breath I gave, air went in and bright red blood came out. We rolled him with each breath and cleared the blood from his airway.

We continued until EMS arrived. He was intubated, PEA on the monitor. He was transported and CPR continued. He was pronounced in the ER.

Autopsy showed a button battery in his intestines. It eroded through his esophagus and his aorta.

We believe the battery came from a remote that we kept in a bucket up on the bar counter out of reach of our children. We are guessing Johnathan some how got this and ate it during the 20 minutes he was in our home before we left for daycare Wednesday morning. AJ and I wake the boys together and tag team getting them dressed and ready.

Johnathan showed no signs of choking or distress. He had symptoms of a nose bleed. He had a low grade fever attributed to a viral infection. He never acted like he was in pain.

Our hearts are broken

Please search your homes for button batteries. Children’s toys are required to have a screw closing the compartment, but remotes, watches, flame less candles, holiday lights, hearing aids, etc are not. We kept ours in a place that we felt was safe and out of reach, but one way or another, he still found it.

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