It was awful! That is all I can say. I don’t think I will ever forget the sound of the thud his body made when it hit the hardwood floors beneath. Then, the cry … or lack there of for an excrutiating 30 seconds. His first fall and it was all my fault.
Last night, after bath time, I carried Ephraim into his bedroom and placed him on his changing table as I have almost every night for the past nine months. I can admit I was a little preoccupied. He hardly napped yesterday so he was really ready to go down for the night and we held him off as long as we could. He loves his bath, but as soon as we pulled him from the tub and wrapped him in his towel he was done. We follow the same routine every night (bath, bottle, bed) so he knows as soon he is on that changing table that he has to endure be slathered with lotion and stuffed into his pajamas before he gets his coveted bottle.
I was distracted last night because our schedule was off and he has a small red bump on his hip and I cannot figure out what it is. When I carried him in and sat (that’s right I said “sat”) him on his changing table, I stepped away for two seconds to turn on the lamp so I could get a closer look at his bum. The worst part is is that I sensed it before it even happened. It was like when you know someone is about to hit another car or something, but you can’t react in time to stop it. I pushed the button for the lamp and I heard the thud almost simultaneously. My heart and stomach dropped.
I quickly turned to see what I already knew, that he had fallen from the 4 footish high chest and was laying sprawled and in a silent scream on the floor. I scooped him up (Michael says I screamed but I don’t remember it) and tried blowing in his face to force him to take a breath. He did and then let out a heartbreaking scream. Again and again. I clung to him, he clung to me and we cried together. His first fall and my inability to make it all better. It was horrible.
I screeched at Michael to get the phone and call my sister, Alexis, who is a nurse and ask what to do. My first thoughts were not of broken bones but concern about a possible concussion. She was very reassuring in explaining just how resilient they are, soft bones that don’t break easily. She told Michael about the many falls her kiddos have had and it is always okay. She reminded us that this would be the first of many falls, bumps, scrathes and owies to come. In my head I knew all of this, but in my heart I was so unprepared for the feelings of guilt and helplessness.
He was still crying and naked so I gently laid him on the table to diaper and dress. He clung to me so I let him and slowly got him ready for bed one handed. In the midst of this some measure of the reality of parenthood weighed on me and I was overwhelmed. I have to admit that the only thing “good” (if you can call it that) was knowing that he needed me for comfort and reassurance. I breifly feared that I had Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, but pushed past that and just held my little man. We fed him, prayed over him and put him to bed. Basically we just carried on with the routine. He was out instantly.
Michael and I went into the kitchen and immediately opened a bottle of wine. I needed my little red friend to steady my still shaky nerves. During the choas, Michael also called the pediatrician who called back and offered further reassurance. We held each other and I cried some more and realized this was probably one of the real welcomes to parenthood. It is true when they say it is not for the faint of heart.