|Thanksgiving 2017 Family Photo|
Above is our Thanksgiving 2017 family photo.
But look at those bandaids on my daughter’s forehead. These are covering up what remains of our visit to the Science Museum just four days prior, which is also the day I consider the worst day of my life as a mom.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already read an abbreviated version of what happened that fateful day, but I’m writing this now with the hope that if you ever find yourself in a similar situation (but I pray that you never do), you’ll be able to deal with it like a champ.
On the day in question, my daughter had woken up a bit fussier than usual, but I thought, “Eh, she’ll lighten up and start having fun at the museum when she sees all of the fun stuff there.” We packed up the day’s snacks, drinks, lunch, and pull-ups, and drove to the museum.
Once there, she seemed to be getting in a better mood. She was awed by the fish, and she was ecstatic while petting a stingray.
Then, she got fussy again, so I knew it was lunchtime.We went in search of just the right bench to settle down to eat our lunch. We found a quiet bench near the mechanical exhibit. I was munching on my ham and cheese sandwich and trying to make sure Leia ate her food as well.
She took her first bite of mac n cheese and walked off with a Dorito in her hand. She put her back up against the wall opposite the bench and looked at me with a sheepish smile, I called her back to me to get the second bite of her food, and that’s when it all started to go wrong.
She ran at me faster than I’d ever seen her run, then, before I could really register what was happening, I saw her quickly fall. I heard a dull thud as she fell, so I knew she’d hit her head on the smooth metal edge of the bench.
I looked down at her, she was on her hands and knees under the bench. After my mind finally caught up with what was happening, I began to stand up to help her.
I took a small breath and rolled my eyes toward the heavens muttering a small prayer, “Please, don’t let there be blood.”
She started to cry, and I quickly stood her up and looked at her forehead. There was a relatively small gash on her forehead, but it was deep, so deep. I knew immediately that she was going to need stitches. Blood quickly began trickling down her face, some of it even got in her eye. My first instinct was to keep the blood from going into her eye. So I cupped my hand under the gash and instructed her not to move, then I used my free hand to find something in my purse, anything to contain the blood.
The first thing I found was a pack of Huggies Natural Care wet wipes. So I grabbed a handful of those and put them on the wound. I maintained pressure on the wound while I cleaned up her eye, and began looking around for someone who could help us. In the distance, I saw a bright green shirt. Yes! The uniform of the museum employees is a bright green polo shirt. I yelled for him to come. At first, he didn’t hear me, then two men that were close to him signaled toward me, and the man in the green shirt came sprinting toward me to see what we needed.
He asked, “What happened?”
I looked down at my daughter and said, “She fell and hit her head. She’s bleeding, do you have a medical office or something around here?”
He said, “Yes, but wait one moment,” and he got on his radio.
This whole time, my daughter had been crying, so I stood behind her, pressing the wipes into her wound, and making sure the blood wasn’t getting into her eyes, all the while trying to comfort her.
I just kept silently repeating in my head, “Keep pressure on the wound. Keep pressure on the wound.”
I kept telling Leia, “Shhhh… It’s going to be ok.”
She kept crying and saying she felt better.
This only made her panic a bit more.She began crying and loudly proclaiming, “I don’t want a shot! I don’t want a shot! I feel better. I feel better. I want to go home.”
“Keep pressure on the wound.” I handed her the bloodied wipes and she had someone dispose of them. She told me that the paramedics would be arriving soon.
But when she got the question, “What’s your address?”It hit me, I’m going to have to take her home with stitches on her head, and she’s only three years old, and what kind of mom lets something like this happen to her three-year-old? I started to cry.
I apologized and she told me, “We’re all on the same boat here. I’d probably cry too.”
So I wiped away the tears – that just kept flowing anyway – and finished answering her questions.
Then, another paramedic informed me of my options, “Well, the bleeding has stopped. She didn’t throw up or lose consciousness, and she’s not complaining that her head hurts, so you have some options. We could take her in the ambulance to Jackson, you could take her to a children’s urgent care that’s about a ten-minute drive away –”
“Hospital?”“Yes, mam. As long as she gets treated in the next six to eight hours – which she will – she’ll be fine.”
I can’t remember at which point another museum personnel came and asked if she could bring Leia anything to snack on from the shop, and they suggested gummy worms, and Leia is obsessed with anything gummy, so at some point throughout this whole ordeal, they’d brought her some gummy candy. I loaded her and all of our belongings into the stroller, and she enthusiastically munched on her gummies on the way to the car.
I called my husband from the parking garage to let him know what had happened, “Leia is ok, but she fell and cracked her forehead open and she needs stitches, so I’m driving her to Miami Children’s.”
“Ok,” he said, “Do I meet you at the museum? Or the hospital?”
We agreed that we’d meet at the hospital.
I got stuck in some traffic on the way out of downtown Miami.
Leia kept going back and forth between saying, “Mama, mama, mama,” and, “I don’t want an injection.”
I kept my husband on speakerphone because he wanted to keep me on the phone until we reached the hospital, and, honestly, it helped me keep my composure to have a level-headed adult on the phone keeping me company as I navigated through crazy Miami traffic.
While we were stuck in a traffic jam, I took a quick pic of her…
|This pic makes me so sad, but also leaves me awestruck because I marvel that such a little person can be so brave.|
Then, Leia got quiet when we were stuck in a jam half-way through our trip down US1.
I looked in the rearview mirror to see if she was alright.
She’d fallen asleep with the gummies tightly clutched against her abdomen.
The paramedics had informed me that she would want to sleep, and since she wasn’t showing signs of a concussion, that it would be alright to let her sleep on the way to the hospital. I could hear her usual little snore, and I knew she was ok.
My husband informed me that he’d arrived at the hospital. He parked his car and told me he’d be waiting for us outside the entrance to the emergency room.
Ten minutes after Leia fell asleep, I woke her up to make sure she was ok.
“Are you ok, baby?”
“How do you feel?”
“I feel better. I don’t have to go to the doctor. I don’t want the doctor to take off my little head.”
“What?! The doctor is not going to take your head off, mi amor. They are just going to look and make sure you’re ok.”
I had to reassure her a few more times that the doctor was not going to remove “her little head,” and about ten minutes later, she fell asleep again.
It took me one of the longest forty minutes of my life, but we finally made it to the hospital!
I woke Leia up, and my husband took her out of the car seat to check her in at the emergency room desk.
Thus, the tale of how Leia got hurt, and how I got her to the hospital ends.
UPDATE: It’s been four weeks since that fateful day, and Leia’s head and scraped knees are all healed up. She still wants to keep them covered with bandaids, and I humor her. I can’t say that I know how her little head works, despite having studied psychology, but I think that these bandaids are her way of coping with the trauma of that day – they help her feel a little more safe, and who wouldn’t want their child to feel safe, even if it means spending money on bandaids that her little body no longer needs. Her mind needs them and that’s ok with me. I keep helping her change her bandaids daily and reminding her that all of her physical wounds from that day are healed, and she doesn’t need to use them anymore, but that if she wants them, she can keep wearing them. I’m her mom and I’ll support her and help her feel safe no matter what it takes. But I have to admit, I’ll be pretty happy the day she no longer needs those physical bandaids because that’ll be a sign that she’s learned to cope with incident emotionally, and she’ll be able to move on from it. Until then, I’ll keep the first aid kit stocked with all of the princess bandaids my money can buy.