AA to X-Ray: How one Monday Night Turned from Hectic to Terrifying

After a hectic Monday, I picked the babes up from daycare and assessed their moods and hunger levels as I put them in the car.  They didn’t seem overly tired or starving so I figured we would survive a trip to the grocery store.  We needed groceries.  I had just finished my 8th work day and was now off for two days.  If we could get grocery shopping out of the way now, I wouldn’t have to worry about dragging the kids out from our TWO super, fun Mommy/babies days ahead.  I normally do quick grocery runs on Sunday nights to stock up in homo milk, bananas, organic cereal bars and produce for the week.  Last night I was totally exhausted so I happily accepted Hubby’s offer to do the grocery run.  I anticipated him asking me what we needed and asking me to text him a list…he didn’t.  He was the one who was home with the kids all weekend so I guess he had a better idea of what we needed.  WRONG.  At 9pm Sunday night, he came home with one bag of milk, 3 cases of pop, 2 bags of chips and a less-than-fresh bouquet of flowers for me for Mother’s Day.  Apparently it was not so easy to accomplish simple tasks or run errands with two babies in tow.  I was shocked to hear this…it’s always so EASY for me.  (I couldn’t even type that with a straight face.)  So here we were on Monday, grabbing real food.  I had defrosted chicken breasts to cook tonight but decided that I would pick up a cooked rotisserie chicken from the deli and cook the chicken breasts tomorrow since I was already delaying the kids’ dinner time by making this shopping trip.  Any further delay could result in pure madness.

I paid for our groceries which included a cucumber that now had a huge bite out of the middle of it and a completely squished banana and ran out of the store as the kids started to scream in protest.

I pulled in the driveway and ran out to open the front door and throw my purse inside.  Then I ran back out and unbuckled 23 month old Miss M from her carseat.  She immediately started calling her brother’s name and reached for my hand so we could walk around the car to unbuckle 1 year old Mr. C from his seat.  She stood next to the car until he was out and then ran up to the door.  This has been our new routine and it has worked out fabulously and saves me running the babes in the door one kid at a time.

I brought Mr. C into the kitchen and buckled him into his high chair.  Miss M was happily playing with her alphabet magnets on the fridge while Mr. C screamed because he was now 30 minutes behind on his regular scheduled dinner time.  I dropped a handful of Goldfish crackers on to his tray and then ran outside to bring the groceries in from the trunk.  As the door slammed behind me, I heard a crash of something plastic on the kitchen floor.  I figured it was just alphabet magnets and quickly slid the handles of the grocery bags up my arms so I could bring everything inside in one trip.  My blood circulation probably would have appreciated me making this run in two trips but time is sacred.  I dropped the bags at the front door and ran in to check on the kids.  Mr. C was somewhat happy eating Goldfish crackers but had a look of desperation on his face hoping I was going to serve him something else.  I looked down at Miss M to see that the sound of plastic hitting the floor that I had heard less than a minute before was actually our baby thermometer.  She must have reached fromf the kitchen table where I had left it that morning after checking Mr. C’s temperature.  He had been suffering with a teething fever for 3 days but was fever-free today.  Hurray!  The back of the thermometer had come off and the case, batteries and thermometer were scattered all over the floor.  I hope it still works.

I picked Miss M up and strapped her into her booster seat.  She screamed hysterically because she didn’t want to be restrained.  Mr. C screamed hysterically as if to say “What is taking so long for my damn dinner?!”  I quickly chopped up an avocado and put half in front of each baby then pulled the lid off of our rotisserie chicken and pulled it apart into bite-sized, bone-free pieces like a caveman.  I grated some cheese and spooned a little macaroni salad in front of each of them and exhaled.  Sigh.  Dinner is served.  My adrenaline was pumping too much for me to eat just yet so I glanced around the already upside down kitchen to try to decide where to begin.  I picked up all of the alphabet magnets then picked up the pieces to the thermometer.  I popped the first AA battery back inside it then glanced across the floor for the second battery.  It was gone.  AA batteries aren’t exactly small.  How could it disappear?  I frantically pulled out each of the kitchen chairs, then the water cooler, then the fridge and then the stove.  It was gone.  I picked up all of our grocery bags from the floor, unpacked them and shook them out to see if the battery had dropped inside.  No luck.  I grabbed the broom and started sweeping underneath all of the cupboards and behind the fridge and stove.  While I did find all kinds of disgusting and questionable things, I did not find the battery.  I started to panic.  Could Miss M have swallowed the battery?  While she is definitely past the stage of putting things in her mouth and I highly doubted she would have just put a AA battery in her mouth and swallowed it down, I couldn’t find it so where else could it be?

At this point both babies were hysterical again because they were finished dinner and wanted to play.  I lifted each of them out of their seats and into the living room, securing the baby gate so I could search the kitchen for the missing battery.  I swept the floor and pulled out the fridge.  Mr. C was screaming on the other side of the gate.  I tried to assess whether he was screaming because he was tired, wanted Mommy or because a battery was corroding inside his stomach.  As I crawled around on all fours looking for the battery, I replayed the whole event in my head.  It was less than a minute that they were alone with the exposed batteries.  The chances of Miss M swallowing one were slim.  The chances of her picking it up and bringing it over to her little brother in his high chair and him putting it in his mouth were even more slim…but I couldn’t find it!  Both kids were screaming, I was starting to panic and I needed help.  I needed someone to come and help me find the battery or hold a screaming child or tell me that there was absolutely no way one of my kids had swallowed a battery.  I was terrified.  I called Hubby but he was at work 30 minutes away.  I called my mom.  No answer.  I called my dad.  He was home and flew over without even asking me to explain beyond the words “Can you come help me out?  I have a potential emergency!”  Before my dad arrived, I decided to pull the fridge out one more time.  I lunged to the side to use the weight of my body to pull it out. My knee extended to the side as I pulled on the fridge andwent right through the metal bars of the baby gate and was lodged in the stupid gate.  I tried to pull it out but lost my balance and fell forward pulling the gate off of the wall and onto the floor with my leg still stuck between the bars.  I just barely missed crushing Mr. C as I fell, attached to a giant piece of metal.  It hurt.  A lot.  I had to pry the gate off of my upper thigh.  The bars were bent.  How embarrassing.  What else could go wrong?

I crawled back to the kitchen to check behind the fridge with Mr. C crawling behind me crying.  I picked him up and continued to search for the battery.  Then I started to wonder if it had bounced through the bars of the baby gate when it dropped and if it was in the kids’ play area.  Panicking, I put both kids back in their seats to check their play room.  My dad arrived and I explained what had happened.  He also said that he doubted they would have swallowed it, especially since a AA battery is quite large in size so they probably would have choked on it if they tried.  But, he agreed that if I couldn’t find it, there was no way to say for sure.  My dad is a skilled first aider and didn’t see any symptoms to be alarmed about with either kid other than fiery tempers and a very poopy diaper.  We searched the kitchen together.  I hoped a fresh set of eyes would make it appear.  In desperation, I pulled out the kitchen garbage and started digging through it in case I had thrown it out without realizing it.  It would be pretty ridiculous if I found the battery in the garbage can but I’m really tired and have a million things on my mind at all times so it’s possible.  No luck.

At this point over an hour had passed.  I debated taking the kids to the Emergency Room but didn’t want to drag them their and be the idiot who thought one of my kids might have swallowed a battery but didn’t know for sure or which kid.  So I sat on the living room floor with both kids on my lap watching Dora the Explorer and called TeleHealth while my dad ripped apart the kitchen.  We are so fortunate to have a service like TeleHealth to call and get advice.  The nurses are always so friendly and helpful and they usually end the assessment by saying “Based on what you have told me, you can treat this at home.”  I am usually calling for ailments such as fevers, rashes and baby diarrhea.  Today, my heart sunk and my head started spinning as the nurse said “Based on what you have told me, you should go the Emergency Room immediately. Do not let either child eat or drink anything!”  I pulled the cup of milk from Mr. C”s mouth, packed up the kids and threw some diapers in a bag and got them buckled into their carseats just as Hubby arrived at home.  He drove to the hospital as I watched both kids in the backseat who seemed fine.  Tired but fine.

Swallowing a battery is an extremely dangerous thing.  The hospital staff was fabulous about rushing us in.  They ordered X-rays from neck to legs of both kids and put us in a pediatic treatment room to pace and wait.  Neither of the kids had any other symptoms.  Mr. C had a bit of a hard belly and some huge farts along with a great deal of crying so I started to suspect he might have swallowed it and hoped we would have answers before it was too late.  Both kids were assessed.  When the nurse practitioner lifted Mr. C’s shirt up to listen to his lungs, she asked me how long he had had his rash for…. What rash?  I immediately wondered if this was a symptom of a battery being corroded by stomach acid inside his little body.  He kicked and screamed throughout the examination.  Miss M handled it better but still wasn’t overly excited about being restrained on a bed by Mommy and Daddy while the nurse practitioner poked at her belly.

Within an hour, the nurse practitioner returned to the room and said that neither of the babies had swallowed the battery.  She said they wouldn’t be able to miss a battery on the X-ray and they had checked them from neck to legs and there was no sign of anything foreign in their little bodies.  I bawled my eyes out in relief.  I wanted to hug her but was very aware of how hot it was in that hospital and how I really needed to reapply deodarant.  Then I apologized for wasting their time and explained that after searching and searching for the missing battery, I didn’t want to waste any more time in case one of them had ingested it.  She agreed and said that I had done the right thing and wished us good luck with finding the battery.  Our poor kids spent the evening at the hospital getting X-rays that weren’t necessary but at least we knew for sure that they were okay.  As for the rash on Mr. C, the nurse practitioner felt that it was probably a heat rash and to get him checked out again if it gets any worse, especially since he has had a fever.

We came home around 10pm and I ran a hot bath with extra soap for both babes to get all of the hospital germs off of them.  Miss M had crawled on the floor, dropped her blanket off of the bed at least 10 times and even licked the counter while I was registering them.  Mr. C had reached out and grabbed the nurse’s pen and papers while she examined him.  It’s quite possible we have left with more issues than we walked in with.  We put them to bed.  I knew Miss M would not go to bed without “Bee,” her favourite blanket so I handed it over with the goal of washing it and anything it had touched first thing in the morning.

Now back to the missing battery.  The only downside (and it really isn’t a downside at all) to the kids NOT swallowing the battery is that it was still missing.  We had to find it before they did to prevent this whole thing from happening again.  Hubby went down to the kitchen to start looking while I cleaned up the bathroom from bath time, carrying all of their gross, germy clothes that they had worn to the hospital down to the laundry room.  Within 5 minutes he yelled down the stairs, “I found it!”  I couldn’t believe it.  It was tucked between the drawer on the stove and the stove and I guess it didn’t move even when I had frantically shoved my broom handle down the gap.  What a relief.

I’m glad we got the kids checked out to be sure.  Had one of them swallowed the battery,reacting quickly would have been the only way to save them.  My only regret is that I didn’t get my knee checked out after falling through the baby gate.  It is black and blue and swollen today.  Ah, well…

Thank you to my dad for quickly rushing to our aide and for calming me down.  Thank you to the TeleHealth nurse for telling me that that things like this happen all of the time to make me feel a little less like the worst mother on earth (thank you for also ignoring my drama when I responded with “Not to my kids it doesn’t! – Sorry!) and thank you to the fabulous ER staff for not making me feel like a complete idiot every time I had to repeat “I think one of my kids might have swallowed a battery.  Yes a AA battery.  Yes, the one that’s the size of the gap between your fingers as you hold them up to make sure we are talking about the same size.  No I don’t know which kid might have swallowed it.  No I don’t know for sure.”

What a crazy night.

andbabymakes3imean4 is one mom’s adventures while tap dancing on the brink of insanity with 2 babies, 11 months apart.  If you liked this post, please click “Subscribe” or follow my page on facebook to be the first to know of future posts.  Thanks for reading! xo

2 thoughts on “AA to X-Ray: How one Monday Night Turned from Hectic to Terrifying

  1. Marci says:

    Hi! Your blog post came up when I Googled “toddler swallowing AA battery. I basically lived the exact thing yesterday that your blog post is about. Thankfully with the same outcome, no battery in toddler. Thanks for your post…it made me feel a little less crazy 🙂


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