There we were. It was later in the afternoon and my son, Hardin, and I were simply snuggling in bed and making cooing noises. You know, the usual mama-baby stuff. I noticed the guest bedroom door was shut and our two dogs assured me that we were under attack by an army of squirrels who wanted to rob us of our nuts, and that they definitely needed to investigate the situation . . . immediately.
I positioned my then five month old comfortably in the center of our full-sized bed and surrounded his little body with large fluffy white pillows. “Be right back! One second!” I exclaimed and hopped up to let the dogs out of the room to protect us from the battle of the nuts.
A split second later, as I turned to take those short three steps back to the bed, I heard it. A loud THUD. My heart dropped and when I had fully turned around I saw my son lying breathless with his back on the floor. He looked panicked, and my heart then shattered into a TRILLION little pieces. In a millisecond, I was by his side and swooped him up. As I hugged him close, tears began streaming down my face. “Hardin, Hardin . . . I’m so sorry. I’m so, so, sorry.” I wept. I was in shock, as was he, and at that same time Hardin started wailing. The first sound he made was a very high pitched ear piercing scream.
In mere seconds, I had him in his car seat and was flooring it to the hospital. I was trying my best to hold myself together. To be strong. “Oh my gosh. Hardin is going to die. Why did I touch him?! He probably has a broken neck and back and is going to be paralyzed forever now. What was I thinking?!?! Oh gosh, Hardin has a brain bleed. HE HAS A BRAIN BLEED! He’s bleeding internally!” Just a few thoughts running through my mind. Cue the ugly cry . . . wait, did I say ugly cry? I meant cue the hyperventilating, grotesque, crocodile tear bawling.
My stomach was in knots as I called Sam who didn’t answer, so logically I called my mom next (who lives in a completely different state,) and then my mother-in-law. “Hardin . . . floor . . . hospital,” I managed to gasp out between my hyperventilation as soon as the phone was answered. Once both my mom and mother-in-law understood the situation, they both assured me Hardin was going to be okay and quickly shared their experiences of babies hitting their heads and/or falling off the bed, and everything turned out okay.
The Longest Car Ride
“Hardin, it’s okay. It’s going to be okay. Hang in there,” my shaky panicked voice filled the car as I missed the turn to the hospital. “OH GOSH! HARDIN IS GOING TO DIE FROM A BRAIN BLEED ALL BECAUSE I MISSED THE (enter choice words here) TURN TO THE HOSPITAL! WHAT THE (enter choice words here) IS WRONG WITH ME! I’m the WORST (enter choice words here) mother on the planet! (enter choice words here) (enter choice words here).” More thoughts running through my head while I continue the hyperventilating crocodile teared bawling.
. . . Meanwhile, Hardin was laughing, cooing, playing with toys, and having a good old time in the back of the car.
The Hospital Visit
I whipped into the first parking spot I could find and gently (but quickly) got my baby out of the car and then straight up RAN into the children’s emergency room. “My baby . . . bed . . . fell . . .” I managed to get out to the check-in nurse in between sobs. The nurse smiled at me and when he looked at Hardin he almost seemed like he was going to laugh. When I looked at Hardin, he was smiling and excitedly pumping his arms up and down. “Is this your first time here,” the nurse asked . . . he already knew the answer to that . . . clearly, by my panic and my son’s joyful playfulness. I finished checking Hardin in and made it to the waiting room the same time as Sam (who was much farther away from the hospital than we were), he hugged us and told us it was going to be okay.
I was still a crying wreck.
Flash forward to the exam room. After handing me a box of tissues, the doctor asked a series of questions including: “Did he have a seizure after he fell? Did he projectile vomit? Did he pass out?” All of which I answered no to. She smiled at me warmly, said “Welcome to motherhood,” and told me about a couple of times her son fell off the bed. She told me I did the right thing by getting Hardin checked out, that accidents happen, that she can tell that I’m a good mom, that Hardin is loved, and that he is going to be okay.
The Mom Guilt & Comfort from Others
As I looked over at Sam and Hardin playing in the hospital chair in the corner, I still felt that twinge of guilt. I felt this guilt for weeks to come and every now and then still feel it. After telling some friends about what happened, I received an overwhelming amount of similar stories. Accidents happening on mama’s watch. It was comforting to hear all of these stories that I could completely relate to. I am a mom and part of being a mom means making mistakes, whether we like it or not.