I never realized being a mom could leave me so helpless.
It happened so quick. Within seconds my daughter went from smiling and happy to screaming and in pain. I had watched it happen. I had seen it coming and I was helpless to do anything.
I had tried, of course, to get to her. I was only a few feet away but I didn’t make it. I reached her only seconds after she hit, hard. I scooped her up in my arms trying to console her while trying to figure out if anything was broken. Looking to see if she could move her arms, legs, fingers and toes.
It’s been 12 hours since it happened and those few terrifying seconds have run through my mind more than a thousand times. I keep replaying it over and over, I can’t help it.
There she was, in the crib, about to throw two plush foxes over the side, just like she always does. She never keeps anything in the crib. She wakes up and throws everything out, just to chuck it as hard as she can over the side. If she could, she would probably throw the mattress over too.
But this time, she went running, full speed ahead. I saw her just as she began. A big smile across her face, the 2 fox’s bouncing in her arms. She’s taller now. Taller than I knew until that moment.
In that moment, I realized that she was going to go over. I knew she expected the crib to stop her. That she would run, be stopped by the side of the crib and she would watch those two foxes gloriously fly through the air and crash onto the floor.
Instead, it was her.
I know that by the time she reached the side I was moving toward her. I was only a few feet away. I watched as she hit the side and her body flipped, feet straight up in the air for just a moment before gravity took over and sent her crashing, head first, to the floor. The only thing protecting her head from the hardwood floor, a thin rug.
I couldn’t save her.
The seconds in which this happened passed like hours and I will never forget the sound it made or the scream that followed.
Just like I’ll never forget the feeling of being helpless to save my child. To watch something terrible happen to her and not having any control over it.
I didn’t know what to do. I just sat there and held her. My husband right there, just as helpless. I picked her up, took her to the kitchen and grabbed an ice pack.
She wanted nothing to do with it. She was calming down but she wouldn’t have that ice pack on her head for anything.
We called the hospital, spoke with a nurse. They said to bring her in for an evaluation.
So as quickly as we could we packed up both kids and headed to the hospital.
On the way, I kept thinking how terrified my daughter looked when I was in the hospital. When I had her brother, it was the first time she had seen me like that, the first time she had been to a hospital since her birth. I didn’t want this to terrify her, she had already been through enough, but there was no way around it.
She was amazing. Such a little trooper. She sat there while they poked and prodded. While they evaluated her, she was curious. She never cried and by the end of the evaluation, she was being her normal, goofy self.
She’s okay now, still asleep after her long night.
As for me, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be the same again. This is the first time in my life that I’ve experienced the anguish of watching my daughter get hurt and knowing there is nothing I can do to stop it.
I know that I can’t protect her from everything, that things like this are going to happen along the way.
What I do know is that I love my children as fiercely as any mother and that I would do anything to protect them. All I can do now is try not to beat myself up about it and do what I can to prevent it from happening again. To remember that I’m not a bad mother and that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. (Or so they say.)