Andy. Hero.

Andy and I have been sitting on the couches of our living room staring at a tv that is not on, in complete silence, for about 10 minutes.

Aside from my tear filled “thank you,” in the center of the restaurant, we haven’t spoken since 12:o5pm Eastern Time.

And I only know that because in my clenched hand is my iphone, still showing the recent call history of 911.

I don’t even think we’ve exhaled yet. We just keep sitting here, staring, reaching our hand out to brush along each child as they run by, going about their day as if nothing happened.

But, just before 12:05pm Eastern today, after the waitress of our favorite local lunch spot placed the bill on our table, after the kids reached for the hard candy mints and after Andy challenged me to try and figure out the tip without using an app… we looked up to find Jude, not breathing.

His eyes were wide and full of terror, his skin was grey, his hands were on the table, and he was silent. Had we not looked up at that moment, we wouldn’t have noticed it at all. The round hard candy had become completely lodged in his windpipe. He wasn’t breathing, he wasn’t talking, he couldn’t make a sound.

I screamed his name and jumped from my chair. I know that it fell over, I distinctly remember my brain systemically going through the varies techniques from CPR class years ago, and I remember Andy lunging at our oldest son, and performing the Heimlich on my suddenly small 7 year old boy.

After the first thrust, I screamed his name and reached for my phone to call 911. I can’t tell you how many it took. I lost count until the moment I heard a cough of air exploded from his tiny mouth, and the candy flew out and Andy and I grabbed him in our arms and I said “thank you.”

As if he hadn’t saved mine enough already… he went and saved the life of our son.

Andy and Jude

These are all the words I can muster today, so I’ll leave you with this…

1. Thank you for saving our son, Andy. Please take these tears and pounds of snot I am leaving on the sleeve of your shirt as prepayment on the foreverness of gratitude I owe you.

2. Click here to find our how you can get CPR & First Aid Certified.

Facebook Comments



  1. Laurie Beth Martin says

    Andy will be one of my few men I can trust who have beards. You are all so lucky to have each other. My heart goes out to you, Andy and the Lil’ Gibbons. **hugs** and I wish these was one of the times I could be more eloquent so please insert something sappy, meaningful, heartfelt, and brilliant here and know its from my heart to all yours.

  2. says

    My heart just stopped in disbelief! Your husband was a true hero and you a fantastic Mom! I’ve been a new follower since you posted the awesome Lands End bikini that I totally bought and rocked!

  3. says

    Oh my goodness! So, so relieved for you, what a terrifying experience. A parent’s worst nightmare – I’m so glad that it ended the best way possible.

  4. says

    this EXACT thing happened to my sister when she was about 6-7 years old. I still remember her choking on a mint at a resteraunt and it had gotten quiet (where she had constant chatter) and my dad looked over..he had to also do the heimlach on her. I am glad your son is safe. I do not mess around w mints.

  5. says


    When my daughter was two, she almost choked to death on a piece of cheese. The broken blood vessels in her eyes and the bruises on her body from pounding on her to cause the forceful injection of the food from her body? Those faded in time, but the bruises on my heart never will. She is 14 years old now but your post brought me right back to that moment.


  6. says

    I work in a nursery and one I’d the first days, right after training, a little boy started choking on his snack. I picked him up, turned him upside down, and the food fell out. He didn’t even start crying, just went and played after I put him down. The other teacher just looked at me with wide eyes and said “Good job.” It was then that I started shaking and had to sit down because I realized what had just happened.

  7. Jeanette says

    Just one more reason to love Andy. He keeps you centered and with the rest of us in this world. He is a nerdy rock type person that can always be counted on. He gave you 3 amazing kids. And you guys have loved each other since forever.

    Dont take this the wrong way darling but I have a tiny crush on your awesome husband. Even though Im old enough to be his uh hem, much older sister.

    Love you both and grateful it worked out in the best possible way.

    Seriously love you


  8. says

    I’m so glad he knew what to do. I really need to renew my CPR and first aid certification. I haven’t taken a class in 10 years and you never know when you might need it.

    Hugs. I’m glad Jude is okay.

  9. says

    Oh wow. That story is so scary and crazy. I am so glad Andy knew just what to do and that Jude wasn’t hurt. I know you’ll be feeling this one for a while. Big hugs.

  10. Robin says

    Holding my breath while reading this….gosh how scary. As anyone who has a child knows the panic that comes from this situation is overwhelming. So so glad he knew what to do and did it. He IS a hero and you are a great Mom. Hugs to all of you.

  11. Loretta says

    So happy that this ended well. You guys are an incredible family, and you have every reason to be proud. Hugs to you all.

  12. says

    Tears. Oh Brittany we have been there too. I am so glad everything turned out ok. This happened to Paige one day when I was not home but luckily my husband was quick enough to grab her and do the heimlich on her. I don’t even know what I would’ve done if I was there. Thank God for our quick thinking husbands. I really do think it is important for all parents to he trained in CPR and first aid. Thanks for the link.

  13. Caroline says

    I had a dream once that my son was choking and I didn’t know what to do. He was about 18 months old at the time. I went on the internet the next day and looked up how to do Heimlich on a baby. The next week he started choking while he was eating. His lips were blue within a few seconds. I snatched him up, flipped him over my knee, and pounded his back like I had seen on youtube. The food went flying and he started crying.

  14. Amberlee Letourneau says

    So glad Andy acted fast and knew what to do. I have that same deep knotted feeling in mystomache while reading this as I did when my oldest was choking on a quater. It’s a moment I never want to experience again and thank God fof my husband’s quick actions. My husband and I have both taken CPR/First Aid classes. We’ve had to use what we learned more times then we thought we ever would, but I’m so glad we knew what to do.

  15. erica says

    Thank you for the story and the reminder that it is always important to have this training, even if your kids are getting older! I am so glad everyone is ok.

  16. Cort says

    I cry for your scare. For Jude’s too close call. For Andy’s quick action and persistence. So thankful you have a happy (albeit snotty) ending

  17. KellyS says

    My husband did the exact same thing to our son, one day before his 29th birthday. In his 29 years he has choked many, many times. Tests have been ‘inconclusive’. I have a result for them. Fucking scary as hell.

    Thank you Steve. Hero.
    Thank you Andy. Hero.

    Both have beards. Coincidence????

  18. Lorrie says

    Go Andy! Brittany, I know you hear this a lot, but thanks for having the guts to be you, be a Mom, Wife and someone who throws up in grocery bags, then your shirt… and not ashamed. I am a full figured girl. I am now OMG.. tucking my shirts in. Wearing sleeveless tops and generally saying to the Universe “I am Lorrie, I don’t give a FU*K if you like me or not. I like me and that’s ALL that matters!” For being our voice I hereby award you the honor of being ” Lady Brittany… Goddess and all around good sport”

  19. says

    I just started following your blog (found it on Babble). Wow, I’m so glad that your son is ok. Choking is a huge fear that I have with my daughter…I hope I’d be able to hand the situation in the same way that your hubby did. Thank you for the reminder.

  20. says

    My heart skipped a beat. I remember that fear all to well.

    My son was one when he chocked on a pickle at Uno’s. I had to do the heimlich maneuver on him to get it out of his windpipe.

    After all was said and done, I cried for a very long time in the bathroom.

    I feel for you mama.

  21. Erin says

    There is nothing more terrifying than seeing your own child in that situation. When my son was 6 months old he turned blue from a tiny scrap of foil candy wrapper stuck in his throat and every time he tried to inhale it would flap against his windpipe. Mere seconds felt like decades and my husband’s face, filled with absolute terror, still burns in my brain to this day. I was able to scoop the wrapper out of the baby’s mouth but I still get a put of ice in my guys when I think about that day. I’m so glad your little one is okay and your husband was able to think on his feet like that.

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