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Parenting and Soul Aches

Preface: We’re home and my little one is sleeping…but I wasn’t always this calm today…

I put my little one down for a nap around 2 p.m. Ten minutes later I heard a loud thud come from her room. I knew before I opened the door what had happened. She jumped out of the crib. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw, though.

She was still upside down; she had fallen on her head, shoulder and neck. She wasn’t moving. She wasn’t crying. I picked her up and held her up. She still didn’t cry. Her eyes were wide open. I brought her into my bedroom and laid her down. I started screaming. Tell Mommy what hurts, please. Are you okay?!? And then she started crying.

She wouldn’t move her neck. She wouldn’t talk to me. She was sobbing. I grabbed my purse and my keys and, without thinking of anything but getting her to the hospital, I ran to the car carrying her crying and begging the whole way. I put her in the car seat. She kept her head turned to the right, chin down the whole time. I kept trying to get her to talk to me. She couldn’t talk. She just kept crying. I was losing my mind. That’s when I saw a police officer doing a registration sting stopping cars in front of me. I opened my car window and started screaming for help. The officer came over, took one look at me, asked me what happened and — once he heard — called for an ambulance.

We got to the hospital pretty quickly. They examined her and sent her right in for an x-ray. I suspected she broke her clavicle. She wasn’t moving her arm and she winced in pain any time I moved her. My suspicion was confirmed. Now the doctor wanted to rule out a head trauma. There was no bump, no bruise. We tried to get her to stay in the CT scan machine, but she was beyond beyond. It wasn’t happening. We took her back to triage. The doctor said she didn’t want to sedate her. We could take her home and watch her. Let her sleep, but check her and make sure we could rouse her. Make sure she wasn’t acting loopy and wasn’t vomiting or having seizures.

When we got home she refused to leave my arms; refused to move. She was — and is — in so much pain. She finally fell asleep. I’ve gone in four times in three hours waking her up, getting her to talk and checking to make sure her pupils dilate.

I am numb and sick and scared. At one point, when we were waiting for the ambulance I put my hands together in prayer and prayed out loud that she would be okay, that it would be nothing. The last time I felt that much emotion was on September 11, 2001 as I  stood in the den clutching my mother, both of us crying for what was happening only 35 miles from our homes. My soul ached that day and it ached again today. And even now, as I sit here trying to digest this afternoon I question whether we should be allowed to love so much or feel so deeply. I’ve never had such a raw, gaping wound in my body as when I thought that something horrible was happening to my precious child. It’s something I never want to feel again, and yet I know that it is inevitable. Kids get sick. They get hurt. They get in trouble. I have to suck it up and deal.

I’m going to lie down now. I don’t think I will be sleeping tonight. I will probably be up for a long time if I sleep at all…

6 Responses to “Parenting and Soul Aches”

  1. Karen, i’m so glad she wasn’t hurt worse. hang in there; she’ll recover soon & probably not even remember what happened. kids are incredibly resilient. she’ll be ready to play as usual very soon, so be grateful for the limited damage and enjoy her recovery.

  2. lori Hurley says:

    I’m so sorry that happened to both of you and relieved she’s okay. I know how difficult it is to go through that. My daughter shattered her femur in a simple bike accident. Four days in the hospital and two surguries later, she’s fine. I’m a wreck everytime she gets on her bike.

  3. Alexandra says:

    OMG I got goose-bumps imagining your experience! Yes, as t.a. Barnhart said, little kids are incredibly resilient. My son used to jump out of his crib the very same way. I hope your little one feels better today and will feel even better tomorrow.

  4. Christine (Andrew's Mom) says:

    Karen, I am stunned at the events of that fateful Friday, and can’t believe that this happened to your precious little girl (and you). After the incident in which Andrew was sent hurling through the air, and landed upside on HIS head, and neck, with arm twisted under his body; I thought that would (hopefully) be the worst thing that happened that day. I was wrong! In that split-second moment when I saw Andrew’s head hit the ground, and then his body came down seemingly independent of his head, it looked like his neck snapped. I know that “Oh God” feeling all too well. I absolutely cracked-up; right there on the play ground, and again at the pediatricians, and when I saw my husband……, my parents etc. I saw my child’s life flash before my eyes; the child I went through hell, and high water to have. Had it not happen on the heels of what I now call the “Rocking-horse” incident, I may have handled it a little bit better. You were (all) so very nice, and comforting. Mother’s who knew. I heard what was said; though it may not have seemed like I was listening, and took it with me. Later, I had time to reflect. You mentioned having to take your older daughter for stitches, twice. It’s comments like this that make you feel less alone, and that just perhaps you are not the worst parent in the world. Three weeks, and six days ago, I too was at the ER with my little two year old son. He got a gaping hole of a cut between his eyes from falling forward off his rocking-horse, and thrown into the corner of the TV console. A corner he would never have hit any other way. Like a bulls-eye, he hit right between his eyes. He had only been able to get on, and off this toy (Independently) for a couple of weeks. He left my side in the kitchen, and went to mount his pony! Gone for only a minute, or two, and CRASH! I too, heard the loud crash. I too did not hear any crying…… at first. There he was, standing next to the upside down rocking-horse. He looked stunned, confused. Then came the deep guttural screams. You know, the kind that tell you how serious things really are. I scooped him up. I scanned him with my eyes. I saw nothing! I too screamed “What hurts you,” “Tell mommy where you got hurt.” He was flailing. Then I saw something on his head. “Stay still” I said! Just a dark spot at first then down gushed the blood. His wound was so deep, it was like a flap that had held the blood in until it burst through from sheer force. I laid him down on the sofa. The skin on his wound pulled back, and then I saw what looked like a hole. I panicked. I started screaming “Oh God” over, and over, and then saw the look of terror in my sons eyes, and immediately went into EMT- mom mode. I quickly grabbed some cloth, and tried to stop the bleeding; all while talking in a cool, calm voice. When I got the bleeding under control, I iced it. He let me ice it! I made phone calls. My husband, the pediatrician, my parents. Husband due home in 15 minutes, pediatrician not in, parents arrive in record 3 minutes. While my parents tended to my son, I packed his bag. I knew it would be a long night. Husband arrives home from work at the exact moment we are heading to the ER. From impact to signing in at the ER….. 30 minutes. It would be another four hours before he got his stitches. The moment we got into the car, and I had a moment to look at my son with nothing to do but endure the ride to the ER, I burst into tears. The rest of the story is just pain, and heart-ache. Getting the stitches was by far the worst of it. For the last 3 weeks, and 6 days, I too have often wondered why we love so deeply, because the pain, or suffering our loved ones endure is way more than our hearts can handle. When I burst into tears at the park on Friday, that was my already fragile emotional state bursting like a soap bubble. We know. We are mom’s! We need to share our stories, and reach out to other mom’s with fragile hearts, and let them know that they are not alone. And maybe, the unity of mom’s who endure these inevitable heart-aches will create a stronger heart. A united heart of all mom’s! I hope sharing my heart-ache made yours more tolerable! I’m so sorry!!!

  5. OMG, my stomach flipped and I got goose bumps reading this, what a nightmare. You must have been so scared.
    I am glad it is ‘just’ a break, it could have been so much worse, but I feel for your daughter. It’s not easy understanding pain at a young age.
    My thoughts are with you both.

  6. Amy says:

    First– I am really glad your daughter is OK! I am sitting here, finally catching up on my reading and see that your little one spent some time in the ER! We were in a similar situation last week! My 4 year old started to complain that his stomach hurt on Tuesday. I wasn’t sure what it was, stomach flu, strep (he said his throat hurt too). It was late to go to the Dr, and we had TBall and I didn’t want my older one to have to miss another game! So I waited! He started to get sick at the ball field! My Mom came to the game and ended up taking him home for me. We got home– he seemed fine! Put him to bed–he got sick again! Slept through the night and woke up Wednesday saying his stomach hurt and asking me to take him to the Drs. (My son is much like your little one–not afraid of anything, full of life, doesn’t complain much when he is sick. Asking to go to the Dr’s is a very big deal!) I got everybody dressed and took him. That’s when he started crying because he was in so much pain–his side hurt, he couldn’t walk. As his mother it was agonizing to watch, he was in so much pain and I couldn’t do anything to help him, his Dr couldn’t do anything to help him, it was awful! I wanted to breakdown and start crying, but that would have made it worse with my two other ones and my big boy was already scared and needed me to reassure him that his brother would be OK eventually!
    After an ultrasound and a trip to the local ER, we were told that he had a ruptured appendix. He had to be transfered to Children’s Hospital for the operation and by 8:30 that night he was finally in surgery!!! That was probably the longest and worst day of my adult life.
    Nothing is more terrifying than seeing your child in pain and knowing that you cannot do more to make it better!!!
    The good news is that he is home now with almost no lingering pain or discomfort! He is back to his happy, fearless self!!! The little ones do bounce back fast!!!
    I am truely glad that your daughter is better!!!

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