Last week I had a couple of friends over, with their kids, to help with the wallpaper glue removal. All the kids were playing outside - we had the sliding glass door open so we could hear them and keep an eye on them. My friend was helping her son out the screen door when I heard her say, "Alex?!?" I was up on the ladder but I turned and saw Alex running into the house. She was white as a ghost and looked like she was crying but no sound was coming out. I ran to her as fast as I could, but before I got to her my little baby collapsed on the kitchen floor. She passed out. Right in front of my eyes. For all you mothers out there, I don't think I need to explain the panic and terror I felt in that moment. You can imagine.
I grabbed her and picked her up and she immediately came to, with a loud cry. I started inspecting her entire body for injury as I tried to calm and comfort her - my friends were interrogating the other kids, trying to determine what had happened to her, but no one had seen. I could find nothing wrong with her except a red cheek. Alex simply said she fell down. I had her show me where.
Soon she was calm and happy and acting normal. I'd eliminated the initial fear of a concussion (or a brain injury) and determined that she passed out simply because she didn't take a breath when she was crying. I know that happens, but she's never done it before.
Paul was working in the ER that night. I have his pager # but I have never used it. Not once, even in medical school. I thought about paging him right after Alex's fall but, like I said, she'd calmed down and seemed perfectly fine and I felt pretty confident that it was nothing serious. So I didn't. I was afraid if I paged him it would freak him out and he'd think one of the kids had died or something.
So Alex was fine, but I wasn't. I couldn't stop shaking for the next couple of hours. And when I put her to bed and she wanted me to lay by her longer, snuggle closer, squeeze tighter, and give more kisses I didn't hesitate or grow impatient. I soaked it up. I couldn't bring myself to leave her.
That's when I paged Paul. I needed to know - I needed my "diagnosis" confirmed. By a professional. So I got the card off the fridge, followed the instructions, and within 15 seconds Paul was calling the house. The first words out of my mouth were, "Everything's ok."
I told him what had happened, what I'd seen, what Alex said and did. I answered all his questions. And he agreed - she passed out because she didn't take a breath when she was crying (not a traumatic brain injury sustained while running and falling down in the grass in the backyard).
He did tell me (just in case) to go check on her every couple of hours throughout the night to make sure she was still breathing. Which I did, religiously. At some point in the middle of the night I brought her to bed with me and snuggled her till morning.
I decided this experience was a good "trial run." Hopefully I never have to page Paul at the hospital again with an emergency. But when I think about how many times Noah has split his head open in the first 4 years of his life, I know I probably will. And now that I've done it once I feel a little better. I know how the system works, I know Paul is not going to kill me for giving him a heart attack (he was glad that I'd paged) and I know I'll get a VERY quick response from him...because he knows I don't page him for nothing.
As a sidenote, in case you didn't already pick up on this, this experience made me realize how much I take for granted. It made me want to cherish every moment with my kids. You hear stories all the time of people who have lost children during routine activities that we all do everyday: bathtime, playtime, mealtime. Things can happen to children of the most vigilant parents. I'm not advocating "hovering" and you can't live your life in fear. But maybe I needed a little reminder. A reminder to play with my kids a little more, to snuggle a little longer, to laugh with them a little louder. A reminder to enjoy the little moments each day...because isn't that what life is all about?
And even though Alex is in the middle of the "terrible twos" and earning the label in every way, shape and form here are a few of the things that I LOVE about her right now:
- that she loves to snuggle
- her slobbery kisses that she gives so freely
- the way she smiles at me when she says "I wuv you mommy"
- that she sings all day long
- how excited she gets about the littlest things
- how much she loves and misses her daddy
- that she always wants to be where Noah is
- her sweet smile
- that she's tough
- that she's loves "girly" things
- how silly and playful she is
- her laugh
I love you baby girl!