A very wise person once said: ”Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere….write that down.” When baby No.2 was about 8 weeks old and we were 8 weeks into the nightmare that was his infancy as is well documented on this blog, I was thrilled when a relative volunteered to pull a night shift for me.
Hubs was out of town and having experienced children with colic, this aunt was more than sympathetic to our plight. I was so thrilled at the prospect of sleeping a solid 8 hours. At the time it was like someone handing me a million bucks. I snatched it up like no one’s business. So, aunt arrives, we have a nice visit and I decide a nice bedtime bath might be the perfect way to relax babes, introduce him and aunt all the while wind down the evening so I could enjoy the blissful slumber that was awaiting me.
Things didn’t exactly go as planned. After getting him all bundled up post bath and leading aunt down to where all of his litany of props were arranged I slipped. I slipped and fell….with him in my arms, all the way down the stairs. I have no memory of the fall, all I remember is my heel slipping off the stair and the scream that escaped his mouth as he lie there, still all bundled up at the bottom of the stairs. I didn’t know if he was hurt, I didn’t know if he bumped anything…nothing…blank. Aunt didn’t know either. She was behind us and was also in such a state that she had no idea. After a few minutes of cries we figured that he must be just fine. ‘I’m sure he didn’t bump anything, just a big fright’. We told each other that for some time.
After an hour or so of more visiting and determining that all was well I crawled into bed and stuffed those ear plugs in as far as they could go. I slept well, not as long as I’d hoped but a longer stretch than I’d experienced in a while. I relieved my aunt who said the night went quite well and by the sounds of it, seemed like a fairly typical night for him. She headed off and I started the day. I laid him on the change table to clean up his diaper when he turned his head off to the side.
That’s when I saw it and gasped, a swollen bulge out the back of his head. The panic was suffocating and it took everything in me to keep calm and get us safely to the hospital. The guilt, the fear, the panic, the worry that piled and piled. I’m surprised the triage nurse at the hospital didn’t offer me a brown paper bag to blow into. After the x-ray the doctor delivered the news….skull fracture. He wasn’t too stressed about it, not that big of a deal apparently. His skull is still majorly underdeveloped, nothing has fused yet, in a few weeks it will be like it never happened, no treatment, just watch out for any changes in behaviour. That was it….now head on home you hot mess.
I think about it and still feel the panic I initially felt and feel guilty for not immediately taking him to the hospital. What if the worst would have happened while I was enjoying a full night’s sleep? My husband is quick to shut it down. No good can come of beating yourself up like that, it was an accident and he’s fine, forget about it. He’s right, mostly. I think what I’ve realized now is that I’m no longer beating myself up about it, I’m just taking stock of how lucky we all were that the worst didn’t happen. That’s the big irony…it’s hard to be grateful for every second unless you stop and think about what could have been.
Oh, and that very wise person was Van Wilder.