Sometimes as parents, we make mistakes. Maybe we forget to restock the diaper bag and have to come home from something fun early, or we say something that hurts our child's feelings. And other times, we accidentally hurt our children, which is what happened to us a little over a week ago.
We had a long day taking family to New Orleans to see the sights and eat some beignets. So after 4 hours in the car, and about 5 hours walking around in the intense heat of fall in Southern Louisiana, we were all pretty exhausted. We were settling down for the night, and I was preparing to nurse Naomi before bed.
I picked her up out of her crib and started walking toward the glider I usually nurse in, but somehow, along the way, I tripped and fell forward with Naomi in my left arm. Somehow on my way down she flew out of my arm. I don't have any recollection at all of how I landed, because I was watching her fall. It still plays through my head in slow motion.
She shot forward like a projectile, and the back of her head slammed into the second shelf from the bottom in a set of book shelves. Then the back of her head hit the corner of a milk crate holding my pumping supplies on the way to the floor. It looked like someone had thrown a plastic baby doll against the shelf, except that it was my precious 4-month-old daughter.
I screamed at my husband who was in the bed, "Oh, my God! HELP!"
And about half a second after the fall, Naomi started to scream and cry. I think I was laying across the ottoman of the glider when I scooped her off the floor and flipped her in one motion to look at the back of her head. There was no blood, but there was immediate swelling. two huge purple goose-eggs started to come out on the back of her head very quickly. And I started to panic and practically hyperventilate.
All at once, I handed the baby to my husband, started getting dressed, grabbed my phone and started to call the ER, all while crying and saying over and over again, "I don't know what to do. I am so scared!" I was completely out of breath while talking to the ER nurse and asking what to do, and my husband was getting his mother, who happened to be visiting at the time. I was actually a little surprised when the ER nurse told me to call the ambulance.
I never imagined I would ever have to call 911 for my infant. While I was panicked, I guess I thought I might be overreacting when I initially thought of calling 911. I mean ...she only cried for about 3 minutes before becoming calm and laid back like her normal self.
And after two EKGs, some oxygen, an ice pack and some other checks on the 15 minute ambulance ride, it seemed like the medics were not terribly alarmed, so I started relaxing. Then the doctor came in and said that she looked fine, but that he was going to do a CT scan of her brain to make sure she had no brain bleeds or skull fractures.
She came out just fine. She didn't enjoy laying on the back of her head for about 24 hours, but other than that, it didn't seem to bother her much. She has a lump in the back of her head that the pediatrician said will be there for a month or two, but other than that, she came out of it with no long-term effects.
Thank God for protecting my precious little girl!!
Once I knew she was ok, the guilt set in. I felt like a terrible mother. God had trusted me with this precious life, and my clumsiness could have changed or ended that life. I felt like I had let down my children, my husband, and God.
It took me a couple days to start moving around the house with her in my arms, and I am still nervous about carrying her. I also still cry when I remember her fall.
I was just starting to feel confident as a mother, and now I am struggling to feel like a stable mother. I guess we all fail our kids and our spouses occasionally, and we have to ask God to restore our confidence and thank Him for protecting our loved ones from our mistakes and accidents.