Red, White, and --WAIT. No. Just Red.

Happy Baby
Originally uploaded by Temmerling.
A few days ago, K of Odyssey to Conception wrote about a frightening incident involving her daughter, a rock, and a lot of blood. I read her story late at night, cradling Julia and was unable to leave a comment. If I had been able to leave a comment, it would have gone something like this:
"Wow! First off I want to tell you that the mark of a good mother is not that she keeps all risks away from her child at all times. It's how she reacts in a crisis. You may have thought about the consequences of blood on your clothes, but that didn't stop you from picking up your daughter. You picked her up, you cleaned her up, you sought help. You did not run around screaming that you child was going to die. You acted with efficiency, practicality, and love. Accidents happen. Thank goodness that this one wasn't worse, but the fact that this happened is no reflection upon your parenting skills."

How little did I realize at the time that within a couple days I would be needing someone to say that to me.

Julia has a jumper. One of those contraptions that hangs from a doorway so she can jump up and down. Only we didn't hang it from a doorway. We hung it from an i-bolt in the ceiling. It was screwed into wood and though it looked a little wiggly, when I first stuck it up there I had put all my weight on it and it held. We thought it was safe. A week or so ago my mom noticed that it looked a little wiggly, and she said something, but I dismissed her concerns. And she tugged on it and convinced herself that it was secure.

Yesterday afternoon, just before we were supposed to leave to go to my parents' house, Kristin wanted help on the computer placing an ad to sell our condo. Julia was getting a bit ornery, and didn't want to be held, but also didn't want to be put on the floor. She needed a nap, but I knew that we were going to be leaving soon, and she could sleep in the car. So I decided to put her in the jumper to see if that would distract her. So I stuck her in the jumper, she immediately started jumping, and I turned my back and walked less than three feet away to help Kristin.

The rest happened very quickly. I heard a noise and Julia gasp. I turned around and she was crumpled on the floor with the heavy attachment mechanism for the jumper on top of her. I must have turned around just as it all hit the ground, because in the moment it took for what I was seeing to register I was over there picking her up and she was crying.

She wasn't crying in the "Oh my god, I'm going to die right this second" type of cry. But rather in the "oh that was really really scary and I need my mommy" kind of cry. So I didn't think she was too badly hurt. But both Kristin and I were checking her out while I was holding her to me. And then we noticed the blood on Kristin's hand.

Julia's hair is so dark and curly that we missed the thick course of blood at first. But as Julia continued crying, the blood continued gushing down her back. I headed for the kitchen, in my head a continued refrain of "head wounds bleed a lot, head wounds bleed a lot. It's probably nothing, head wounds bleed a lot." I sat Julia on the edge of the kitchen sink and turned the water on. She was clinging to me, so I used the sprayer on gentle to wash off the blood. After I got the majority of it washed away I could tell that it was already clotting. And so even though I couldn't see the cut itself, I knew it couldn't be bad. And while I was rinsing her head, Julia's cries had subsided to whimpers. But still, she had at least 3 goose-eggs on her head besides the cut, and her eyes are so deeply dark, I was having a hard time checking to see if her pupils were ok (later the doctor told us that that's a very unreliable way of checking for concussion -- but how was I to know?). So we decided to take her to the emergency room. As Kristin changed Julia out of her formerly white outfit (now a delightful shade of pink and red), I gathered everything we needed for grandma and grandpa's house. Then we headed off to the emergency room.

As emergency room visits go, it wasn't that bad. We confused some people, but no one questioned my right to be in emergency with Julia. Even when someone questioned who Julia's mother was, and I told her that we both were, no one pushed. Kristin, as a social worker who sees the bad things people do to children, was sure that we would be questioned seperately about what had happened. But I'm guessing that they could tell from our distress and demeanor that we are not child abusers (though Kristin would point out that distress and demeanor do not absolve one of child abuse). Plus, Julia was in a great mood: chirping and flirting and bouncing. Every one who looked at her said she looked completely fine. The best emergency patient they've ever had. But still. Better check her out. One hour later we walked out with a $75 neosporin schmear and peace of mind. She was fine.

Still, as the adrenalin wears off and the repercussions set in, all the "what ifs" start entering: what if that contraption had hit her fontanel? what if she had fallen backwards instead of forwards and the contraction hit her nose and broke it? or hit her eye and put it out? She could have been seriously maimed or killed. If I had been standing right there, I might have caught it. But it seemed so secure. So safe.

Julia is fine. The picture above was taken later that night while she was playing catch with grandma and mommy. She's fine. But all night long I had nightmares of losing her. Misplacing her. Having her taken from me. And in the dreams as I searched and fought for her, still I knew that I deserved to have her taken from me. That, really, I had forfeited her through neglect. The words I would have written to K sound hollow to my ears.

Posted by Trista @ 9:21 AM

Read or Post a Comment

Sounds like a scary experience for all of you. I'm glad to hear that everyone involved is fine. Even though they sound hollow right now, your words to K express it so well. Accidents happen and it doesn't make you bad parents. Thankfully you were right there to soothe her cries as quickly as possible.

Posted by Blogger Mandy @ 9:41 AM #

ok. I'm starting to feel some sort of weird connection to Julia. First it was the booger picking. Coincidence. But when we both almost get concussions at the same time? It's starting to get a little kooky...

Posted by Blogger Plimco @ 10:24 AM #

So scary! I'm glad you took her to the ER. It always takes a little prompting for me to go to the hospital because I hate it there so much. Your relatively painless sojourn will make it easier for me next time I have to go. And, it seems with kids, there's always a next time. I'm so glad Julia is OK and that her cries were never the "I'm gonna die right now" kind. Let's pray that all the injuries incite merely the "I want my mommy kind." You are such a good mom.

Posted by Blogger Nik @ 11:00 AM #

So glad that Julia is OK. Hope that you & Kristin recover from the scary accident too.

Posted by Blogger Tamsin @ 11:05 AM #

how terribly horrifically scary!

I'm glad all is OK now, but man oh man, I'd be quakin in my boots as well.

hugs to you.

Posted by Blogger Shelli @ 12:19 PM #

Ack - that sounds hellish! I am so glad that Julia is OK. And perhaps this follows the same rule I shared with Jen when she fell with Nat - my step-great-grandmother always said that babies had to be dropped on their heads at least once in order to be smart. Or maybe have something dropped on their heads. Either way.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 12:22 PM #

That was me. Blogger is freaking on me.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 12:23 PM #

When someone asks me what I would do in a certain situation, I always tell them I don't know. I may know what I would *like* to do or feel, but I don't think you really know for sure until you get there. I would say that you reacted just the way you would have told me to. Welcome to the World of Balance where you have to learn how much to let go for how long. It's a scary, scary world but at least you know you're not alone :-) I'm glad everything worked out okay and I hope Julia still gets to enjoy her jumper sometime in the future!

Posted by Blogger K. @ 2:17 PM #

OH GOD!! Julia is Ok, it's all over, fiuff!!! I know how scary could a head wound be, I had one a few years ago and my head looked like someone had hitted me with a baseball bat but it was a tiny little cut.
AND of course the fear of seing your baby on the floor with the jumper ON her! But thank God you are both great mothers and you react quickly.
A big Smooch on my baby Julia's bumpy head...

Posted by Blogger Sublime @ 2:48 PM #

super scary! your child in pain or hurt is absolutely the worst feeling in the world. it isn't even a feeling really. it just emanates form all your cells.

y'all are great moms. and you remind me to be greatful.

Posted by Blogger charlotte @ 5:06 PM #

I hear you, sister. Do I ever!

So glad Julia is fine. And Natalie is fine. And K's daughter, too. You, K & I will be fine someday... right? :)

Posted by Blogger Jen @ 5:30 PM #

Those horrifying moments are definitely one of the less enjoyable things about parenthood. But it sounds like you handled everything beautifully. I'm glad Julia's okay, and hope you and Kristin recover quickly!! Faith

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 7:31 PM #

Oh, big hugs to all three of you. That sounds scary and awful and scary and queasy-making and scary and scary and scary.

I am so glad that Julia is ok, if a little bruised. I hope you two will be ok, too. I want to echo what everyone else said -- you did a great job, you were calm in a crisis, you comforted Julia when that was what she most needed, and got her cleaned up and checked out in short order.

In short, you two were great parents. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Anonymous Liza @ 7:58 AM #

i don't even have a child and i have goosebumps and a scary lump in my throat from reading that.

i'm glad it all turned out okay. sounds like you reacted perfectly.

Posted by Blogger betsy @ 3:02 PM #

oh wow. This just took my breath away having just had the same "AHHHH!" moment with GM. All those effing what if's can just be torture. I am so so so so glad that Julia is ok. Phew times infinity.

Posted by Blogger Calliope @ 5:32 PM #

Ah crap. Poor baby. I hate those jump up things. Dangerous little buggers. I predict that one will not be hung from an eye bolt in your house anytime soon.
Glad everyone lived, and Julia is none the worse for wear. In my experience, kids LOVES ERs. At least Charlie does. TV and juice, what could be better?

Posted by Blogger Estelle @ 7:54 AM #

OMG, i can't imagine the scare that you guys had! Thank goodness everyone is ok though--she looks like she pulled through with flying colors... :)

Posted by Blogger Amanda @ 8:13 AM #
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