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Mom Speaks Out After Infant Nearly Died From Ingesting A Single Water Bead: 'It Still Shocks Me'

Fohlicia Mitchell relayed the harrowing events and road to recovery on TikTok after learning her 9-month-old Kennedy had swallowed a water bead.

Fohlicia Mitchell shared her daughter's near-death experience of ingesting a water bead.
@fo_bby4

After months of watching her daughter experience complications and return to health, mother of four Fohlicia Mitchell is happy to report that her daughter, Kennedy, is thirteen months old and finally returning to health after swallowing a single water bead.

Mitchell has shared every unflinching and happy moment on her TikTok, @fo_bby4, to raise awareness of the dangers of having water beads in a home where children may be present full-time or even for visits.

Mitchell's medical journey with her then-nine-month-old daughter, Kennedy, began back on October 28, 2022, when she gave her white rice for the first time. On October 29, the mother thought her daughter might have a food allergy because Kennedy did not appear to be feeling well.

Mitchell reflected:

"The 29th of October is when I started to think she wasn't feeling good. The night before, I had given her white rice for the first time. So when she woke up the next day and she spit up a little bit and it had rice in it, my first thought was that she was having a reaction to that."
"I didn't rush right to the doctor, because she didn't have a fever. She was still eating and playing all the time. She wasn't screaming out. So I just thought she wasn't feeling good. Typical kid stuff, just not feeling great."

However, on Halloween two days later, Mitchell realized there might be something wrong after Kennedy spent most of the day sleeping.

Mitchell remembered:

"I had never experienced a kid being lethargic, so I wasn't completely sure, but once that thought popped into my head, I just decided to take her to the local emergency room."

Mitchell's local emergency room did blood work and determined that Kennedy would need to visit a larger hospital with more resources for her to be properly treated.

The family was quickly transferred to the second hospital, which put Mitchell on high alert.

"That's when I started to feel like something more serious was wrong."
"At that time, I wasn't asking a lot of questions. I was coordinating, more like calling her dad and then getting my mom to come to be with her three older brothers (ages 2, 4, and 9)."

The second hospital, Portland Hospital, immediately began to suspect an obstruction, as Kennedy vomited brown liquid shortly after her arrival in the building. They quickly took her to get an ultrasound, where they found an object in her small intestine.

The doctors asked Mitchell if she was aware of Kennedy swallowing any small objects.

Mitchell then discovered the truth behind her daughter's lethargy.

"I was still hung up on [the idea that] she was having an allergic reaction, so I was like, yeah, she just ate white rice. The doctor was like, no, like a marble or bead."

After some thought, the mother remembered the water bead kit she had purchased for her son, and she wondered if Kennedy had gained access to the kit or an abandoned bead.

"He showed me on the screen, and you could see this circular obstruction in her intestines. He explained it's black inside, which tells us that it's filled with fluid, so a water bead would make sense."

But discovering the water bead was only the beginning.

The doctors and pediatric surgeons negotiated their way through the infant's small intestine and found a single water bead. They also "felt with their hands" the rest of her small intestine to confirm that there were no other beads trapped there.

But Kennedy's condition didn't improve with the removal with the water bead.

"After almost 12 hours, she didn't improve. She was just as sick as she was, and they had to put the NG tube back down to suck out the bile that she would have still been throwing up, becauase at that point, her intestines weren't working anymore."
"They didn't know that it had caused this massive infection that came in the next day and a half, where she progressively got worse."

This was when Mitchell shared her first TikTok video about what was happening in her daughter's life and how much Mitchell felt like her world was "ending while everything in it kept going."

While Kennedy's intestines were not working anymore, she was unconscious, and the doctors were concerned she might be going into septic shock. After another exploratory surgery, they confirmed that wasn't the issue, so they decided to do an experimental surgery instead.

Still unconscious, Kenney was placed on a ventillator, and her intestines were taken out and placed in a silo bag to help relieve her body's swelling. It was while her intestines were in the silo bag that the doctors were able to discover that small pieces of her intensitives had "corroded" and "died off" because of the toxins in the water bead.

Fortunately, when the doctors made this discovery, Kennedy's health took a significant turn for the better.

"It's so hard to think that that was really our life. I go back over it, and it still shocks me."

During the next four weeks while Kennedy continued to stay in the hospital for monitoring and treatment, Mitchell took comfort in the community she found on TikTok.

Mitchell reflected:

"Sharing it online took the pressure off of me being alone, and it gave me a chance to be able to digest the information that I was being given."
"I'm making a video, going over that information again, and then people just really started caring just so much about Kenny."
"That gave me something hopeful to hold on to, and every day and every week, there were people who literally have no idea who my infact baby daught is, and they care so much. They want to know how she's doing. I definitely think it gave some kind of energy that helped her."
@fo_bby4

#mykenny🤍 #kennedyjanem #momx4✨ #ineedallyourhelp #prayersneeded #keeppraying #healingtiktok #healingtok #waterbeadinjury #strongbaby #picu I share this moment for support for Kennedy

@fo_bby4/TikTok

@fo_bby4/TikTok

@fo_bby4/TikTok

Now that Mitchell has grown a platform, she's also decided to use her audience as a way to spread awareness to other parents and caregivers about the dangers of water beads for children.

Now that Kennedy is significantly healthier than she was, Mitchell has used her channel primarily to provide information about water beads, how to spread awareness, and calling out stores that are carrying water bead kits and shelving them in children's toy sections of their stores.

@fo_bby4

Its the blatant disregard for your customers children that gets me 😒 #dobetter #target #chuckleandroar #buffalogames #waterbeadinjury #waterbeadsaredangerous #waterbeadscanbetoxic #waterbeadsarenotatoy #protectourchildren

Fortunately, Mitchell's push for awareness seems to be working on TikTok.

@fo_bby4/TikTok

@fo_bby4/TikTok

@fo_bby4/TikTok

@fo_bby4/TikTok

@fo_bby4/TikTok

@fo_bby4/TikTok

After ingesting only one water bead, likely left out accidentally by one of her sons after playing with the kit, Kennedy's life nearly ended at the age of nine months old. At thirteen months old, she is doing significantly better but still has frequent well-child appointments to confirm her progress.

Now over a year old, she's in physical therapy to boost her core strength and to help her relearn to crawl and learn to walk, after lying in a hospital bed for more than a month and losing most of her core strength.

This ongoing journey for Kennedy and her mother occurred with the ingestion of one water bead. Hopefully, awareness will continue to be spread, so things like this do not happen to other families.