(NEW YORK) -- The woman who was captured in heart-wrenching photos giving life-saving CPR to her 5-month-old nephew says the situation was so tense she could not even call 911 for help.
“I tried calling 911 because he was completely unresponsive, no matter what I did to call his name, to stimulate him,” Pamela Rauseo said Monday on ABC’s Good Morning America. “I was so nervous my fingers couldn’t dial 911 so I got out of the car and I started screaming for help, asking someone, anyone to come see if they could do CPR on him.”
Other drivers on Miami’s Dolphin Expressway heard Rauseo’s calls for help and came to her aid as she gave CPR to her 5-month-old nephew, Sebastian. Rauseo had learned CPR seven years ago when her mother -- and the mother of Sebastian’s mom, Paolo Vargas -- was sick.
“I never thought I would need to perform CPR on anyone, much less my nephew,” said Rauseo, 37.
One of the fellow drivers behind Rauseo was Miami Herald photographer Al Diaz who captured the scene on camera.
“Once I got to see those images it showed me how terrifying it really seemed,” Rauseo said of the images of her on her knees giving CPR to Sebastian that went viral. “It amplified how scary the situation was because when you’re living it in the moment, you’re in the moment. You don’t have time to think. You’re acting.”
The photos also shook Rauseo’s sister, Vargas, who says her sister, the mother of three sons, was the “first person” she called when she found out she was pregnant with Sebastian.
“It was very scary,” Vargas said on GMA. “I get very emotional just thinking about it because he was purple and me knowing what that means, it’s very hard on me.”
Vargas, a nurse at the same hospital where Sebastian is now in stable condition, says her son will be undergoing further testing.
“Hopefully today we will have some answers,” Vargas said. “When he starts crying he starts getting a little blue-ish on the face and on the lips and on his feet and his hands.”
In the midst of the emotional stress and public attention the family has been under since last Thursday, they also got a bit of good news.
“Sebastian will be a big brother,” Vargas said, confirming that she is pregnant again. “It’s a very tough time for all of us [but it's] very exciting.”
By the new baby’s side will be his aunt, Rauseo, whom Vargas recalled as being “hysterically happy” when she found out that Vargas was expecting Sebastian, the nephew whose life she would eventually save.
“She’s been by me the whole time and when we found out it was a boy, her having three boys, she was like so excited that her kids were going to have another cousin and she started designing his room because that’s what she does,” Vargas said of Rauseo, an interior designer. “She just wanted every detail to be so perfect and special for him and it was. It is. It’s a beautiful room and I think he’s happy in there.”
Rauseo says she will be prepared if she is ever put in a life-threatening situation again and hopes her scary situation has inspired others to do the same.
“My husband and myself we will be getting re-certified [in CPR],” Rauseo said. “I received so many emails from random people saying, ‘You’ve inspired me to get certified’ [and] ‘Thank you because it could possibly save a life.’”
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