His Eyes Were Open But He Wasn’t Breathing

This morning brought one of the scariest moments of my life.

Toby signed himself out of school because he had been throwing up from a stomach bug that had been going around.  He came home, went to bed and got right back up to puke.  He went to bed again and within a few minutes was in the bathroom puking again but this time, he ended up laying on the floor and not in his bed.  I heard a loud crash and found Toby laying on the bathroom floor.  As I turned him over my lap, all I saw were his eyes wide open but he wasn’t breathing.  I kept screaming “Toby” over and over again but no response, no movement, no breathe.  He had hit his head on the bathroom counter, right on his temple.

My husband clearly heard that tone in my voice and ran to us.  He quickly threw me out of the way and put Toby in his arms.  He yelled at me to call 911 and in that couple of minutes, everything was a blur to me.  Noe was beating Toby’s chest trying to get him to breathe while I was frantically calling in.  I had to repeat my address 3 times and explain what happened more than once.  The ambulance was on their way but it’s a 30 minute drive to our house from the closest hospital.  And we have an address that UPS & Fedex don’t like so I imagine 911 doesn’t like it either.  In order to find my house, the dispatcher at the sheriff’s office called me to get directions. There was a cop and sheriff escorting the ambulance to make sure my house was found.

By the time they arrived, Toby was starting to make sense and talk a little bit.  He was still laying down because he when he tried to move, he got dizzy.  He seemed okay, considering.  The ambulance took him in, they ran tests and said that he had a vasovagal episode.

Vasovagal syncope (vay-zoh-VAY-gul SING-kuh-pee) is one of the most common causes of fainting. Vasovagal syncope occurs when your body overreacts to certain triggers, such as the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress.  The vasovagal syncope trigger causes a sudden drop in your heart rate and blood pressure. That leads to reduced blood flow to your brain, which results in a brief loss of consciousness.

Sounds like it’s no biggie but that’s not how it felt to me.  Doctor  said that most likely, he was breathing but only 2-4 breaths per minute, which is normal when someone is ‘knocked out’. We normally breathe around 18 breaths per minute so it would look as though he wasn’t. However, I still don’t think he was. It took my husband a few minutes of beating his chest and then Toby was moaning & grunting while trying to gasp for air. When he came too, he sorta freaked out and his arms were jerking, etc but my husband held him. Toby said that when he woke up, he felt like he had been dreaming but everything was blurry.  He doesn’t remember much from it.  He’s okay.

Let me tell you why this is a God moment now.

I had been to Mom 2.0 for 4 days.  I got home to find everyone sick with stomach bug.  I had been procrastinating ,due to a busy schedule, with a post that was due.  I needed to paint Truett’s room.  That’s a lot of work you know?  I was already behind as far as due date.  I had no desire to do it the prior morning.  That night, I had been praying about all of us.  Asking God to keep us safe from bad influences, harm, etc.  I woke up this morning feeling fresh and had an overwhelming feeling to paint so when Toby showed up from signing himself out of school, I was doing just that, painting.  Everything started to happen as I explained at the beginning.  But this is what makes it a God moment………

I have had well over two weeks to paint.  Had not touched it once.  I had prayed the night before for my family.  I woke up feeling I needed to paint. Toby came home sick.  I am NEVER in Truett’s room or on that side of the house during the day. I am always in my room, working on the computer.  Had I not been painting, I would have never heard Toby fall.  Had it not been lunch time, my husband would have not been here to get Toby breathing.  This is a God moment because I prayed for my family hard that night.  It’s a God moment because I had an overwhelming desire to paint on this particular day, on a day that God knew what would happen in that bathroom.  It all happened during lunch which is the only time my husband is even close to the house.   You tell me that’s not a God moment.  What would have happened had I not been painting and heard Toby fall???  What would have happened if it had happened any other time than lunch on that day??  I learned that I do not do well in these situations and it all happened the way it did for a reason.

Thank You God for allowing his injury to be minimal, knowing it could have been so much worse under other circumstances.  I know that You were right there listening to my prayers, guiding the day and prompting my heart.


I love you Toby!

Join The Discussion




  1. 1

    Debbie says

    O.M.G. I caught part of this earlier on FB. God winks ,God moments . . .God is good!!!!! So glad Toby is ok except for the headache and bruise. Keep him hydrated! <3 you all!

  2. 2

    Alyson@SnifferWalk says

    Girl, you bet it was a God Moment! I am so, so, so glad that he is alright, that y’all were watched over and knew what to do and that you can be home together tonight. Thank you for sharing your precious (and scary) experience with us. HUGS!

  3. 3

    Christy says

    God had you wrapped in his protective arms! So thankful for you guys that everything is okay!

  4. 4

    So glad he will be ok. I saw your post earlier, and dropped everything to say a prayer. I can’t imagine what what going on, and I just wanted to give you a hug. Hopefully this was a one time thing… <3 you!!!

  5. 5

    Cat Davis says

    I’m so glad it all turned out okay. I can imagine how scared you must have been. The first time Emma fainted, stopped breathing and turned blue I thought she was dead. It’s a wretched, horrible, awful feeling.

  6. 6

    Doris says

    I am so glad everything is okay. You were so lucky you were on that side of the house, it was lunch time…everything happens for a reason! Hope Toby recuperates quickly.

  7. 7

    Sarah VM says

    I’m glad he is ok! Has he ever passed out before? Fainting can be a sign of a serious problem. Please have him seen by a Cardiologist. Sads.org has more info on the signs and symptoms of serious cardiac issues.

  8. 8

    Brenda says

    Scary time, for sure, I’m glad he is ok….
    God Is Good!

  9. 9

    Terra Heck says

    Wow, what a scary situation to have been in. Glad everything turned out okay. God works in miraculous ways.

  10. 10

    Wow, been there, we serve an incredibly good God.

  11. 11

    Sheadionne says

    Truly a GOD moment! I thank God for allowing things to come together and that Toby is ok. May the Lord continue to bless and guide your home.

  12. 12

    Oh my goodness…what an experience. So glad that things turned out the way they did. *hugs*

  13. 13

    Definitely a God moment! Glad that you were there for your son!

  14. 14

    Vicki F says

    Wow! That is a wow moment if ever I heard one! God is good! He sees our future as if it has already happened. He knew exactly where you needed to be and made sure you were! I am just in awe of his timing and goodness. I am so glad he is doing well! God is good! It is such a gift to see God’s hand at work!

  15. 15

    Sunnie says

    That really brought tears to my eyes. I can imagine what you went through. I know my kids mean everything to me, and I know you feel the same about your babies. Im glad he was ok, and all that stuff did happen for a reason.

  16. 16

    dawn says

    I have a son named Toby and was breathless reading your account. My husband had a similar episode one night while in the bathroom. I heard a loud noise, knowing it was his body hitting the ground. You just know that sound is not a good one. He got the same diagnosis as your Toby. I never felt quite peaceful with the explanation. It’s almost like the doctor is saying, “He fainted, but we have no idea why.” It’s been several years with no new episodes, so I let it go. Reading this brought all the memories back. I think the way you looked at your situation is heroic. It’s taking something scary and unknown and turning it into a God moment. Bless you and your family and thank you for sharing.


  17. 17

    Catherine says

    Oh thank God that he is ok – and you were there – God is wonderful; our strength – what a blessing you were there. Makes you remember to enjoy them every single moment of every day!

  18. 18

    Our God is an awesome God. He definately puts us in the right place at the right time.

  19. 19

    Chrystal says

    Oh Lori!! I’m so happy Toby is okay, I’m so glad that it all worked out like it did and you’re right, that was God watching over your family! Tears of joy for you all!!

  20. 20

    Diana S says

    Thank you for sharing this story of how GOD worked in your family’s life.
    I am thankful all is well :)

  21. 21

    Lauralee Hensley says

    Diarrhea or constipation can also cause the vasovagal response. We have a nerve down near the anal spincter and if it gets over stimulated it can also cause the vasovagal thing. I agree this was totally a GOD thing. He made sure you and your husband were where you needed to be to help your son. I’m sure your prayers were heard the days and night before and GOD was showing your whole family that he’s listening and always there with you, even in sickness and emergencies. GOD BLESS your son.

    • 22

      Lauralee Hensley says

      Actually some people with abnormal heart rhythms are taught a procedure called the Valsalva procedure, where they bear down like they need to take a poop, but don’t, and it stimulates that nerve down there, which in turn is somehow able to throw an electrical like charge or something up and sometimes get the heart to get back in correct rhythm. I know it sounds really weird, but somehow it works.

  22. 23

    Natalie J Vandenberghe says

    I’m glad your son is ok.

  23. 24

    Val says

    So scary! We had that happen and thankfully hubby was home. He’s fire/emt so he was on it before I was since we were watching tv. Happened at the site of blood but then when he fainted he fell into the hall where his sisters headboard had just been put. He had super cool staples put in his head that thankfully hubby took him in to get removed as well. Since he was in middle school it was all the rage.

    He woke up pretty quickly though. I’m surprised you can remember enough to blog it. I can’t imagine the complete shut down your brain must have done and just gone to autopilot. Glad he’s ok. I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason, which is why you were around ;)

  24. 25

    Maryann says

    How horribly scary but i’m glad he is OK now.

  25. 26

    God sure works in mysterious ways! Everything about this ‘event’ screams GOD-THING for sure! He’s so wonderful to take care of us. Thankful to know this turned out well. God bless you all.