When we first brought James home from the hospital, my awesome husband left to get ice cream for me around the corner at 7-11. What else would I want after staying up for 3 nights in a row after giving birth?!
He came back to me standing in our living room, sobbing, holding our newborn. He thought something seriously wrong had happened, but instead I was told him I was crying because I was worried that something could one day happen to our baby James. I felt so vulnerable that I loved this tiny life with my entire life. My hormones might have been going crazy, but so were my newfound emotions to love and protect this bundle with all that I was.
Well, people say to become a mother is to know what it’s like to have your heart walking around outside of your body for the rest of your life. I one hundred percent agree.
And two days ago, my “heart” got hit in the face with a chair.
This day was like any other. He was sitting on the floor playing, my husband was sitting at our kitchen table, and I was putting things away in the kitchen, watching James and talking to him. Unfortunately, this 8-month-old crazy man is obsessed with trying to pull himself up on everything.
I looked away for maybe 10 seconds… in that short time, James had scooted on his bum to the nearest chair – he can’t crawl yet – , pulled on one leg and brought the chair toppling down.
I will never get that image out of my mind of seeing my baby on his back with the chair completely on top of him. He was screaming. I ran over, threw the chair off, scooped him up, and the blood began to flow out of his mouth.
The back of the chair had hit his face and busted his gums. His two front bottom teeth that were only beginning to peak through the top of his gums were now fully exposed to the front.
I rocked him and nursed him to calm him down, and thank goodness my husband was there to calm me down too. I was focused initially on making sure James was okay, until all of the questions and the guilt started coming…
Would his teeth fall out?
Did he have gum damage?
What if he needed surgery to support his now exposed teeth?
How could I have let this happen? I shouldn’t have let him sit that close to anything he could grab…
Panic set in and I just HAD to get that baby to the ER. Someone needed to evaluate his injury! My husband smartly recommended we check with our pediatrician on call and see what they suggested. Since the teeth had not broken and were still attached, it turns out we could wait to be seen until the next day. Despite my desperation, it was true, James would be okay.
(To cut to the chase, the next day we ended up seeing his pediatrician and a pediatric dentist, who assured this worried mama that his roots were still holding the tooth in securely, and that baby’s mouths heal very quickly at this age, so everything should go back to “normal” on it’s own soon.)
After things had calmed down a bit, I sat in the dark bedroom rocking James down for his nap, and in the stillness, the tears started flowing from me. (If it’s not obvious, I’ve totally turned into a mega-crier).
I was living the fear that I had when I first brought him home from the hospital…I won’t be able to protect my child from every hurt.
I realized this is only the beginning. We survived this “first incident.” I know with this active child there will be other incidences, whatever they are. Maybe it’ll be a bump on the head when he’s learning to walk, or a crash when he’s riding his bike. Maybe he will experience a broken heart, a sports-related injury, or something else that I don’t even want to imagine.
There’s no denying that when you’re open to love, you’re also open to pain.
I thought to call my mom. I wondered how she felt when she saw me get hit in the eye with a baseball as a little kid. Or when the brass lamp fell on my brother’s head. She totally got it. It’s hard, but it’s part of being a parent.
A lot of times it’s no ones fault. It’s just a lessen learned, and a chance to comfort them, maybe a chance to watch them grow and learn. It’s another chance to help your child navigate the situation, until one day they are the adults helping their own kids navigate them.
I am grateful this was just a very minor hurt in comparison to the many other things children can suffer from. I can’t get off my mind the moms and dads who’s heartbreak for their children’s pain is daily, and I most surely have compassion for the extent of their hurt. Anytime your child is in pain, or potentially could be in pain, you feel the pain right along with them.
I’m definitely not looking forward to the second, or third, or hundredth incident, and hopefully they don’t get worse as we age. The first injury will one day just be a memory, a story we tell as part of a joke about how strong of a baby he was or how he was always getting into trouble. I don’t think it will ever get easier on my heart to see him stumble through life, but hopefully I’ll get better at knowing how to handle it. But if I don’t, I won’t feel bad… no one loves him and will feel his pain quite like I do ❤️