I’ve been going back and forth for the past two months on sharing these two stories with you in fear of being judged. Judged for being young, naive, or some might say careless.
If you are a mom I hope you will find comfort in knowing that these two instances happen more often than not and that it’s okay. It’s okay to make mistakes sometimes, and it won’t be the last time you screw up. You are learning to navigate this foreign world just as much as the next mom. So moms, let’s be kind and understanding. Let us learn from our mistakes and move on.
About two months ago, I was just getting ready to leave the house with the kiddos and head for a Costco run. I was cleaning the house up a bit before, so I had set Bianca’s infant carseat on one of the dining room table chairs which are, side note: not sturdy whatsoever. Bianca is five months, about to be six months old, and at this point in time getting a little cranky and tired. I pick her up, I’m about ten minutes away from getting us packed up and out the door, and I set her in her carseat because I knew she’d fall asleep soon.
So I place her in the carseat, that is still sitting on the dining room chair, and I turn to grab her blanket my son had snatched away from me. Pause. This was my crucial mistake. From the time I turn my back, to the time I turn back around, my baby girl is face first on the hardwood, carseat on top of her. She is infamous for arching her back (and I know this) but never had I thought she was strong enough to arch her back enough to flip the carseat over by pushing down the front of it with her feet.
A thud, then a terrifying scream comes out of Bianca. I immediately throw the carseat off of her, pick her up in my arms, and try to console her. My son Sebastian is at her side saying, “Its okay baby, it’s okay.” I looked at him, he looked at me, and I seen a face I’d never seen on him before. He was terrified and he knew that his baby sister had seriously gotten hurt.
This is so hard for me to write.
I immediately go to Google and look up, “Concussion signs to look for in a baby that has fallen.” Google’s the worst, but also my best friend at times. It says that you don’t necessarily have to keep them awake but to keep checking on them and making sure they’re okay and breathing normally. I check her to see if she has any marks and if she’s bleeding. No signs of bleeding, but some bruising on the top right part of her forehead is starting to appear. I apply a cold compress on it and I finally get her calm again. She’s still tired, and I know she’s about to nap. So I let her nap and keep checking on her.
She wakes up from her nap fine and happy!
I think to myself, “I got so lucky.”
The rest of the evening goes on and she’s a little cranky, but nothing alarming.
Then it’s bedtime. I put her and Sebastian down at around eight. A half hour passes and I hear her making whining noises. I go in to check on her and she is moving her head back and forth, eyes closed and whining. Then, she stops and falls back to sleep. I think in that moment that maybe I should give her some Children’s Tylenol or Motrin, but don’t want to risk waking her up.
Fun Fact: At a recent pediatric check-up appointment for Bianca, I was told that Infant Tylenol and Children’s Tylenol is the same formula, but is different because the Infant Tylenol comes with a syringe because it’s easier to feed babies that way. Also, Children’s Tylenol has more in it and is less expensive than Infant Tylenol.
Another 30-45 minutes goes by (9:30ish PM), she starts whining again. This is when I started to get really worried and called my pediatricians office who then directed me to the Children’s Hospital line. I explain to the phone operator what happened and why I am calling. She asks me a bunch of questions and goes through the timeline in which these instances occurred.
She then says to me,”If you think she is acting out of the ordinary for her usual self, then I would recommend bringing her into the ER to get her checked out because it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Obviously, I agree with her. I call my husband who is now on his way home from work and tell him I need to take Bianca to the Emergency room. He gets home, and I head for the hospital. It’s now about 10:30PM.
I get to the ER, check-in and then wait twenty or so minutes before going in to talk with a nurse. Then, go back to the waiting room to wait to see the doctor on call.
The only people that know about the accident at this point is my mom and my husband. I felt so terrible and so unsure as to what to do, that I literally didn’t want to ask or tell anyone else in fear of being judged or “mom shamed.”
I get called into the doctors room and of course, as expected, Bianca is smiling at the doctor. She’s following him around the room (he’s checking her motor skills), and is laughing when he touches her feet. He tells me that she seems completely fine and that his main concern are broken bones. He starts to feel her collarbone and arms. Grabs her head and feels around her skull.
He then goes on to tell me that when babies have a concussion they usually immediately vomit within an hour or so of the fall, and continue to do so as time goes on. He says that the only way to know for certain if she has a minor concussion is to do an MRI, but didn’t recommend that for her and said that she’ll be okay. He says she might be sore and that Motrin and rest for the next day is probably best.
Thank God, right?!
Before we head home, they give her some Motrin. We were there maybe a total of two hours, so not bad at all.
The next day she’s happy, and back to her normal self. (Very lucky!!) I notice a little bit of bruising still where she must’ve hit her head, but it went away the following day.
So now on to part II of another terrible experience that’s very hard to forgive myself for.
Not too long ago, I was laying with Bianca in my bed to help her fall back to sleep. It was very early morning, and of course I’m tired. My intention was for her to fall asleep and then move her into her bed. She falls asleep, but then I do too and I don’t even have her on the inside of the bed between hubs and I, but of course on the other side near the edge of the bed.
You probably already know what I’m about to say.
Not sure how long I’m asleep for, but I wake up to a big bang and then her piercing cry. Nick and I fly out of bed.
Nick (husband) yells out my name, “HOLLY!” I’m still kind out of it, fall to the floor and hug her. Bianca’s arms are flailing and all I can think about is how I f’d up, again. I’m on the verge of tears and hand her over to Nick.
She finally starts to calm down. We both look at her for any marks or bruising. (Our room has carpeting, not that it matters that much, but still better than falling on hardwood.)
I start to go over the paperwork I was given at the ER, and I keep a close eye on her the rest of the day. I get to Sebastian’s playgroup playdate an hour late, and told one mom friend of mine what happened this morning because it was eating away at me. She helped me feel better about the situation. (What would we do without our mom groups?!)
I seriously didn’t tell anyone else about this until a few weeks later. And when I did, I honestly started to feel so much better about the situation.
Bianca ends up being fine, happy and smiling. A little bit whiny for a few days, but nothing alarming. I still hope I didn’t miss something and kind of regret not taking her into the pediatricians office, but she’d been acting her normal self so I didn’t feel the urgency.
I can talk about what happened now because everything turned out fine. I also feel like it’s important for me to be authentic in my writing and on social no matter how tough it may be for me, and no matter how much I want to hide when things like this happen. I hope by telling my story it will just remind moms to be mindful and aware at all times. I also think a few moms will have similar stories to mine.
I think back to this Facebook video that a families security camera caught that was circulating around a year or so ago of a mom who had her baby on the changing table mid diaper change, and she turns to grab something quick just as the baby starts to roll over. Her oldest son runs and catches his baby brother just as he’s falling. I remember reading comments that were congratulating the boy for being a hero, and saving his baby brother from falling from so high up. Some people shamed the mom for being so careless. But it also brought awareness to something that many of us moms in the midst of the everyday survival mode, forget about.
We don’t do these things on purpose, we just simply slip up. We forget sometimes to keep a hand on them at all times, or to buckle them into their carseat before walking away, or to never leave a baby unattended. Yes, sometimes these small slip ups can lead to terrible consequences. I know that, the next mom after me knows that, but sometimes shit happens in that specific time and we mess up. We aren’t perfect, but this doesn’t make us bad moms.
Imagine if Bianca would’ve been seriously hurt, how much more terrible I would’ve felt. I would have never forgiven myself.
Being a parent is hard, being a mom can be draining at times, but there is not an amount of love that can replace the love we have for our babies. We’d do anything for them, and we don’t want to see them cry and hurt.
I hope this is a reminder to new or even veteran moms out there that you can never be too careful and cautious. If you make a mistake, it’s okay and life goes on, and you deal with it and keep on going, because in the end that’s all you can do.