A Canadian mother of an infant credits “quick and professional” efforts of U.S. border officers with saving the life of her six-month-old girl after she stopped breathing in the Pacific Highway lineup last week.
“If she didn’t start breathing when she did, it would have been a very different headline,” the baby’s mom told Peace Arch News Wednesday, after an initial report quoting US Customs and Border Protection.
The mother – a South Surrey woman who asked to not be identified – said she was in line waiting to go to Blaine when she noticed something wasn’t right with her daughter, who had just woken from a nap.
“I watched the whole thing in the rear-view mirror,” the shaken, but relieved mother recounted of the scene that unfolded on the afternoon of Sept. 7.
“I really thought she’d died.”
The mother explained that she was just about at the customs booth when she realized her daughter was in medical distress.
“Her head kind of cranked to the side and I saw her arms go up and they were shaking.
“I put the car in park and I screamed for help as I was opening her back door. I knew something was terribly wrong.”
As border officers and fellow travellers ran to assist, the infant started to turn blue.
“I thought I was holding my dead baby,” the mom said.
The strangers took the infant, and, according to a news release issued Monday by US Customs and Border Protection, “CBP officers were able to re-establish breathing in the infant.”
The mom estimated her daughter came to after about 90 seconds.
North Whatcom EMTs responded to the scene, and the mother and daughter were transferred back to Canada, then to Surrey Memorial Hospital. The mom said she was told the seizure was likely due to a sudden spike in fever, and said she wants parents to be aware that something like that can happen without warning.
The mother – talking to PAN via phone, as her infant could be heard gurgling happily in the background – said she also wants to thank those who helped last week. Border officers and fellow travellers all rushed to the family’s side.
“There were so many people that came out of their cars, and the border guards – I have no way of thanking them or letting them know what actually happened to her, and that she’s OK.
“I’m just so grateful for those guys that, literally, held me up. They all came running and were so loving and so concerned, obviously.
“To see a mom and baby going through that, is something that’s not even in horror movies,” she said.
The infant is “back to herself,” her mom added.
In Monday’s CBP news release, area port director Kenneth Williams said the scenario “portrays CBP’s commitment to protect and serve our communities and the travelling public.”