The doctors think she was about to go into crib deaths.
– Hi, my name is Sarah. And I can write my name, me. I can write the mother’s name too. Her name is Torunn. But I have not learned to read yet. Now I’m going to school. I greeted my teacher before the summer vacation. Her name is Kari and is very straightforward. I’ll be in class with Celine and Julie. They are my best friends, but it’s also Lilly. She lives in the house next to us and gets up in 2. class. It’s really fun to play with my girlfriends, but it’s fun to start with homework too. But now I have to play Lilly. Good bye!
Can never forget
Sarah Eppeland Hansen from Nedenes at Arendal greets gently and confidently at the Norwegian Weekly journalist and photographer.
She is one of many thousand five and six-year-olds who have started school this fall.
Big brother Sebastian (11), father Kjetil (31) and mother Torunn (33) are happy and proud of Sarah’s behalf. And few parents have so much reason to be proud and grateful to accompany their child to the very first day of school like Torunn and Kjetil.
Sarah was only four weeks old when she got a cardiac arrest, and she was actually dead for almost 20 minutes.
– We felt we participated in an episode of House
But luck, coincidences and, not least, fast response from Mom Torunn and skilled efforts by doctors, nurses and ambulance staff saved the life of the little girl.
– Seeing Sarah running around in a red summer dress and wearing a school bag on my back makes me humble and incredibly happy. It is a sense of gratitude that is impossible to describe, “says Torunn.
She never forgets the day when her daughter nearly died in front of her eyes.
“Help, my child dies!”
It’s 12. December 2006. An ordinary Tuesday, the scale is a little below zero and snow has not yet arrived.
Kjetil has gone to work early, and Sebastian is at school. Only Torunn and Little Sarah are at home. The time has elapsed in the morning, and Torunn walks around the house and cleans.
She has just given Sarah food. But Sarah is not quite in shape, she eats little and sutures a lot.
However, the plan is that the two now go to the health center to weigh her. Torunn takes Sarah up from the rocking chair and holds her arms. Suddenly, the little girl begins to cry violently before she throws her head back and becomes completely blue in her face.
Torunn cries her name but gets no response. Sarah seems totally distant.
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Torunn is becoming hysterical, but likes to put the girl gently in sideways on her lap before she picks up her cellphone and calls 113.
“Help my child die!” she screamed desperately on the phone.
The woman at the other end urges her to calm down and give up the address. Then she is asked to use the mouth-to-mouth method on Sarah.
“I can not, I can not!” cries Torunn as she cries uncontrollably.
“This MUST you Cope!” replies it officially at the other end.
Then she instructs her over the phone to blow air into her daughter’s mouth and then give her three subsequent pressure in her chest with her finger, new blow, three new prints, new blow, new fingerprints – and so she keeps on until the ambulance arrives.
– It felt like I waited forever, but it took only ten minutes before the ambulance was here, “said Torunn..
The ambulance staff puts Sarah on the living room table, trim her clothes and start a heart massage. She gets a syringe before a snake is brought down into her throat. Even Torunn is hiding behind the living room wall.
She can not look at this heartbreaking drama that plays right behind her. Torunn seizes the phone again, calls the husband and cries “Sarah is dead!” Before she puts on. She is in shock.
Torunn closes his eyes and holds his hands in front of his ears. She tries to shut the reality out. But she still hears what’s going on. Immediately behind her are the ambulance staff. They talk fast and intensely between them. It is extremely dramatic. They do not find heart sound on little Sarah.
After a few minutes of intense work, Sarah is carried out of the house and into the ambulance in just the diaper. It’s important to cool her down. And with sore sirens, Sarah drives to Arendal Hospital.
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Does she live?
The husband Kjetil arrives just before the ambulance runs out at high speed, and he and Torunn join the car driving right behind the ambulance. Big Brother Sebastian is still in school when they leave home, he is picked up by Uncle Arne before grandmother walks as a safe childmate.
At Arendal Hospital, Kjetil and Torunn only get short moments with her daughter. She is flying with an ambulance helicopter to the Rikshospitalet. There is no room for them in the helicopter, but a friend offers to drive them to Oslo. It’s hardly safe to drive yourself.
There is not much talk in the car. Both Torunn and Kjetil think the unreal thought: Have we seen Sarah alive for the very last time? The distance between Arendal and Oslo is 27 miles, and they drive the belt and the clothes can withstand.
Again, it’s unimaginable: The car starts to cough and harke – and it ends up getting a full engine stop in the middle of the motorway in Drammen.
– We did not have a second to lose, and then this happens! But fortunately, we managed to keep calm and pushed the car into a gas station before we got into a taxi, says Kjetil while shaking his head.
Well, at the Rikshospital, Torunn and Kjetil see her daughter again. Sarah is committed to intensive monitoring.
She is in the respirator and is surrounded by hoses and appliances. All central organs fail with the little girl. In the diaper there is only blood. Her face is upset and unrecognizable.
The arms lie in a twisted and cramped position in front of the chest. Sarah floats between life and death.
In the chapel at Rikshospitalet there is a candle lit for Sarah.
We were offered to baptize her, but thanks no. It was completely wrong. For us it felt like we had lost hope. And we did not have that. We never gave up the hope that Sarah would come home with us again, “said Torunn quietly.
Days and nights go. Torunn pumps breast milk, in the hope that her daughter can make use of it when – or if – she wakes up again. And after a few days the doctors gradually become more optimistic.
Sarah will most likely survive, but she will have massive brain injuries. A young Swedish nurse is very helpful to the couple. She comforts them and says:
“She lives, you just have to get to know the new Sarah. »
The parents are in shock, but still think: “The most important thing is that she survives. And of course we’ll love Sarah just as much – whatever happens! “
New days go. Torunn and Kjetil sit at the daughter’s nursing bed 24 hours a day. They stroke over the daughter’s head, touching her arms, legs and feet. But she gives no response and there is no sign of life in her eyes.
Doctors scan the brain of the little child. They are looking for bleeding and injury, but find nothing.
“This may be impossible,” they mean and make a new scan two days later. This time, they do not find anything that would indicate her brain injury.
New hours and days go. Sarah finally begins to breathe herself and is taken out of the respirator. She opens her eyes occasionally, but it is not possible to contact her.
But then, suddenly, an early morning there is something going on. Something wonderful, yes, almost unreal. Dad Kjetil experiences a small reflex in the legs of the little daughter when he is going to lay her down in bed. Shortly after, new reflexes come.
– It was like turning on a switch; with one all the baby reflexes back, Kjetil continues.
– It was. it was. indescribable, Torunn nods and dries a tear.
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22. In December, Sarah is moved to the hospital in Arendal. Both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are spent at the hospital.
– There were not so many Christmas presents that year. The biggest Christmas present we had bright living in our arms, “said Torunn.
A lot of investigations are conducted by Sarah in the months and years to come.
Doctors do not find anything wrong. The heart behaves normally. The health condition is also good, although she often has fever and becomes cold easily. She also receives pneumonia sometime and develops asthma. The tough treatment she was through only four weeks old is most likely the cause.
A little anxious
Sarah has developed into a robust little girl. Closest to a boy girl who loves to climb trees, ride a bike and play football.
– I’m a little nervous about her, but has not become a hysterical mother. I let her play freely with other children, although I was admittedly extra careful when she started in kindergarten. The first thing I asked the staff about was whether they had fully updated first aid kit in place, “said Torunn with a smile.
In spring, Sarah was on her very last follow-up check.
– Doctors can not say what Sarah did to happen almost six years ago. But one theory is that she was on my way into a crib death and that I was incredibly lucky to be present when it happened.
“Should we try to operate, or shall we let him die?”
Because of the daughter’s state of health, the family has so far only taken short vacations in Norway and Sweden. Should she be seriously ill again, it is important to be near well-known and qualified medical attention. But just over the new year, the family will have a long vacation in Thailand.
And Sarah herself? What is the relationship with the five-year-old that she got such a dramatic start to life?
– Let’s get her older before we tell you everything, “says Mom Torunn.
– At the moment she is just very proud that she has been in a helicopter, Daddy Kjetil answers.
– Because neither mother nor dad has a smiling Sarah, who has come back to the living room after playing out with the best friends.
She pulls and travels in big brother, mom and dad and wants to play football and remember. And so it will be.
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