Flipped out


Today I watched Sarah do an unintentional forward flip off the kangaroo climber in the playroom. I watched her little neck bend in a way that it shouldn’t and I watched her body land in a crumpled little heap.

I shrieked, she wailed, and Matty made a bunch of noise, too. I picked her up and held her close as she cried and cried, but then I started to panic. That’s right about when I realized that they really should give some sort of exam at the hospital before sending people home with their babies. When do I take her to the ER? When do I give Tylenol? When do I pat her on the shoulder and tell her to buck up? How is a person supposed to know? I just wanted to keep holding her, but I had Matty trying to climb the offending apparatus, and I had this sense that I was supposed to examine her. What I was looking for, I had no idea. I kept lying her down on the couch to check her out, but she kept getting so pissed off whenever I put her down, so my inspections were brief.

Worked for me, though because as I sad, I had no idea what the fuck to look for. Just what ARE the external signs of internal bleeding?

She cried for several minutes, and then even worse, she just SAT there for another couple of minutes. That was the scariest part. That was the part that I was dreading in the re-telling.

First Responder: “So, ma’am, you say your daughter went silent for several minutes after a traumatic fall, yet you STILL didn’t do anything?”

Worthless Mother: “Well…uh…I…right. I did ah…nothing.”

Then the dog walked by and Sarah started laughing and lunging at her to give her a kiss. Her legs were involved in the lunge, so I could tell she wasn’t paralyzed, but my internal terror lingered.

All afternoon I kept poking her in the neck to see if she was bothered by it. Guess what? She was. Wouldn’t you be if some Giantesse was poking YOU in the neck? Happily, though, she wasn’t in pain. Within about 30 minutes of The Incident she was totally herself. Me? I needed another 6 hours and two huge vodka lemonades. I’m not even sure I’m really ok yet, but the vodka is telling me I am.

But honestly. Isn’t there a handy guidebook I could use for these kinds of things. When do I call the doc? When do I just rush to the ER? When do I stay home and apply an ice pack? I’ve heard rumors of a “Mother’s Intuition” but I don’t think I have it. I just sat there during this ordeal second guessing every non-decision I made. Even though she seems to be completely ok, I can’t even go back in the room where it happened.

The lack of confidence and lack of know-how makes me feel like an imposter.   And it brings back those feelings I had all through the four years of trying and the 9 months of gestating… Those feelings of “Yeah I think I want a baby, but what the hell am I going to do with it if it ever arrives?”

I know I really need to get over this.  Toddlers injure themselves daily (at least).  I’ll probably have tons more opportunities to doubt myself in just the next few days.      Fuuuuck.


3 Responses to “Flipped out”

  1. I have the same doubt paralysis here, and ironically, it always seems to last just until the doctor’s office is closed, and then I have a new round of doubt of whether it’s worth calling the after-hours number or taking them to the ER instead of just calling the normal pediatrician. And seeing as we’re big fans of climbing here, and I’m sure jumping isn’t far behind, I foresee lots of questionable falls in our future. Sigh…
    Here’s hoping we’ll both somehow “just know” when it’s serious!

  2. The book Toddler 411 has an AWESOME section on when to call the doctor, when to go straight to the ER, what to do in every type of emergency situation. I can’t tell you how many times we have referred to that with two toddlers! Here are some examples:

    Nate pulled the end off a broom handle and gashed his finger. It was gushing blood. Do we go to urgent care, ER or just call the doctor?

    Alex gouged the back of his throat with a party favor. So much blood! But he was breathing and acting fine.

    Nate had a 105 fever in the middle of the night!

    Very rarely do I suggest books as “must have” but this is one of my must haves because toddlers just seem to get hurt.

  3. I don’t have a whole lot of advice to share. I completed an EMT course in college and have been so grateful for what I was taught, over and over again. I never dreamt I would need to do the heimlich twice on my own child within one year, but I did, and I am so fortunate that I knew what to do. I also had to take the same child to the ER two weeks ago for breathing difficulties due to croup. I think I should be taking my hair coloring money out of his college fund!

    I would say taking a CPR/First Aid class is a great counterpart to Laura C’s suggestion. I took a refresher last March, and it was a huge confidence booster.

    Lastly, I do remember from my EMT classes that heavy bruising and bleeding from orifces (nose, ears, etc) can signal internal bleeding.)

    I think you did everything a concerned mom would do, and observing behavioral changes is one thing that helps tremendously.

    Perhaps these links on my blog will help you out: http://adventuresintwinparenting.blogspot.com/search?q=911

    Take Care!

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