Well, check that one off the list of parenting moments I wasn’t looking forward to!
Yesterday early evening after I put Harris to bed Evelyne and I were playing outside. She has this little ride-on car that she was playing with, and briefly went around the corner a few feet away where I couldn’t see her. I heard screaming and came running and found her on her back, the car had tipped all the way backward and she hit her head. She had done that before and came away without a scratch, so I figured she probably bonked it pretty good but she was ok. (I also realized she was probably ok when one of the first things she said was that she wanted me to pick-up her baby doll that I had dropped when I heard her crying.) So I was holding and comforting her when I noticed she was bleeding all over my shoulder. I kinda freaked a little when I saw blood on the back of her head, but I didn’t want to scare her, so I told her that her hair was messy (and it was, blood and dirt) and we needed to go inside so I could clean it. (And she said, “And then come back outside?”) I called our doctor’s office, but it was closed, and rather than wait for the on-call doctor to call me back, I just called my dad who’s also a doctor. By this point she had calmed down but said that her head hurt, and my dad said that we should definitely go to the ER to be safe.
I gave her some Motrin, applied gentle pressure with a towel, and started putting a bag of frozen peas on a quickly developing HUGE bump on the back of her head. I called Clay three times in a row (our signal for “Something’s wrong, drop what you’re doing and call me back!”) and when he called me back I just said, “Evelyne fell and hurt her head, she’s bleeding, and my dad said go to the ER. I need you come home now!” Thankfully we live a mile away from both his work and the hospital, so he came home very quickly and I was able to get her to the hospital. Another major blessing is that one of Clay’s friends at work was getting ready to go home and was able to come sit at our house with Harris (who was asleep for the night) while Clay met me at the hospital.
By the time we got there, she was acting fine, and when she saw Clay running up to the emergency room, she was laughing and yelling, “Daddy!!! Daddy!!!” Within 5 minutes we were seen by a triage nurse and she sent us straight to the back, which was great since the wait would have been over 2 hours had it been a different kind of injury. We had to wash her hair a little bit since it was so matted with blood that we couldn’t even really see the wound very well. Evelyne did awesome as the nurse and doctor examined her, never even put-up a fuss. The only time she got upset is when they gave her some numbing shots and when they stitched her up. Clay was holding her in his lap and keeping her head still, and I was trying to talk to her and calm her down while she cried and screamed, “Mommy!!!!” I was crying, but I tried to keep it together for her since she was scared, but really, I felt like sobbing my eyes out. The doctor kept having to look at me and say, “It’s ok, I promise she’s going to be just fine.” She screamed even harder through the stitches, but I think she was just freaked-out since she couldn’t even feel anything. It was AWFUL watching my baby being so scared and hurt and not being able to do a thing about it.
So, two hours later, I picked-up a promised dinner of McDonald’s and we headed home. (She really wanted to go play on the playground, but I think we would’ve completely scared all the other people with all the bloody mess her hair was by that point, so we just did the drive-thru!) The doctors wanted us to check on her a few times during the night to make sure she wasn’t throwing-up and was able to be roused, so Clay slept on the floor in her room to watch her. This morning Clay said she felt warm, so he gave her some Motrin, and she was fine for most of the day. Later this afternoon she got a high fever (not unusual for her, her fevers spike really high anytime she’s slightly sick), but it came down a bit after Tylenol and she got back to playing. I called the doctor who said that as long as her wound didn’t look infected (it doesn’t), just treat the fever and watch her, but she’s probably just coming down with a cold. (her nose was running, too) Oh yeah, AND I had applied sunscreen to her eyelids this afternoon in a moment of complete idiocy, and it had run into her eyes and while she had a fever she was also crying about how bad her eyes were hurting. (as tears streamed down her face from her blood-red eyes) Bad mommy moment, I felt awful.
So. She’s in bed now, and I think she’s ok. Every time I asked her about her head today she said it felt ok, even though it’s still a really huge bump. But last night was definitely traumatic for me! After it was over and she was in bed, I just kept thinking of all the what-if’s of what could have happened. What if I had come around the corner and found her unconscious? Would I have done the right thing? Clay went over CPR with me again because I never feel like I remember the correct number of compressions and breaths.
I kept thinking about all those parents out there who have children who are truly sick, for whom hospital visits and being poked and prodded is a regular occurrence. For the parents who really don’t know if their child is going to live. I can’t fathom that kind of pain, and although Evelyne is ok, the brief fear that she might not be was enough to terrify me. That girl is my world. If something ever happened to one of my kids… I just don’t know how I would go on. I think I would really lose the will to live. And my heart aches for all the parents who live with that reality daily. I pray that God would be merciful and be very near to them. And the bigger questions of “Why? Why do children have to suffer and die?” come up. And I don’t know the answer, but it’s a sad reality.
Thankfully, Evelyne is ok as far as we can tell right now. I think my paranoia about her getting hurt has shot-up to the skies, every step and slide and rock that I see now represents injury and potential death. I’d really like to bubble-wrap her and make her wear a helmet anytime she’s not in my arms, but I’m guessing that’s probably not very realistic. So I’m going to try to reign-in those urges and just pray for her and hug her and thank God that He has taken care of her.