And I so please.
The weather here has been absolutely heavenly this week. Not to brag to those of you who aren't enjoying temps in the mid-60's to lower 70's with a sunny breeziness, but really - heavenly. That's the only word for it.
After a surprise morning of sleeping in for an extra 30 minutes (a rare treat while Ben is on winter break), we dawdled around, enjoyed a late breakfast, traipsed over to Kmart for a great deal on Lucky Charms (while there is a point to this blog post eventually, the Lucky Charms are completely and totally irrelevant), and spontaneously stopped by McDonald's for some early afternoon fun and to spend our $3 worth of gift certificates. By the time the girls went down for a nap, it was 2pm...much later than usual and we hadn't even enjoyed the weather yet.
Needless to say, when Sarah woke up at 4pm, we immediately went out back to play.
Sarah loves the playground.
I kept thinking - I should really get my camera. But I didn't. I thought, let's just enjoy playing for once without shoving a camera in her face.
The whole time we were out there, it was an unceasing barrage of one word exclamations.
She moved around to the side where the steep steps are and climbed up. She has never had any trouble climbing.
(This was back in November...climbing up with no rails and a cup no less.)
I was on the other side encouraging her to come over to the slide. Not sure why she changed her mind and decided to go back down the stairs, but she leaned forward, lost her center of balance and tumbled. Head first. The fall was truly amazing from my angle. It was like a series of perfect slow-motion somersaults. I wasn't sure she was even hurt, but I ran over and scooped her up out of the grass and then she grabbed her forehead.
That's when I nearly lost it. But I didn't. I am very proud of myself. (And thankful for the calming power of the Holy Spirit.)
Her head was very obviously deeply gashed. I couldn't tell how badly because there was so much blood. I just knew it was bleeding profusely and a band-aid wasn't going to fix it.
I sprinted inside, grabbed a rag from the laundry room to hold on the wound, and yelled (very urgently, I'm sure) for Ben and Abby to get in the van.
We live about two miles from our pediatrician's office in one direction and two miles from an emergency care facility in the other direction. So it seemed logical to me that fastest thing was for me to take her somewhere.
Abby had just woken up from a nap herself and was very groggy. Ben was luckily in his room and easily locatable (instead of roaming the neighborhood on his bike). For some reason, it was important to me that the older kids be wearing shoes. (Who knows where these thoughts come from in a time of crisis.) So I told Ben to run inside and get his shoes while I strapped Sarah in her seat. Abby saw the blood and got shaken up immediately. When Ben got back to the van with his shoes, I gave him an active role and told him to hold the rag on Sarah's head, that she wasn't going to like it, but I needed his help. I sprinted to our closest neighbor to see if they could keep Ben & Abby but they weren't home and in an effort not to waste any more time, I just took them along. I'm glad because Ben held the rag on Sarah's head en route to the doctor's office or it might have been an even bloodier mess.
I lost my calm when I called Sam on the way to let him know. I was doing so well. That's when the emotions came out. I was sorry I didn't catch her. I was sorry I'd even taken her out to play. I was sorry it happened on my watch. I was sorry my two older kids were scared out of their wits by my tears and Sarah's blood. I was sorry I wasn't lucid enough to make a decision as to where to take her for emergency care.
I ended up at our pediatrician's office.
I got the spot right by the door and ran inside and instructed Ben & Abby to follow me (when they had their shoes on...so random). My thoughts were bouncing back and forth between "I hope they can help us" and "I hope there aren't too many kids in the waiting room"...not because I thought they'd make us wait with a bloody head trauma, but because I'd already scarred my own kids, I didn't want to scar stranger's kids with the sight of my bloody shirt and Sarah's bloody...entire body.
There was one couple with an infant carrier. Thank you, God. And that kind gentleman saw me coming and opened the door for me. The nurses saw me, promised to return whomever she was speaking to's call at a later time, and took care of us. She remained so calm. I can't say enough how grateful I am for everyone's peacefulness. It was contagious. Kind of...at least, they didn't contribute to my anxiety.
Ben and Abby arrived by my side seconds later and we were shown into an exam room, where the doctor followed us in. He pulled the rag away and looked at the gash.
And that's when I saw her skull.
It was that deep. Adult foreheads don't seem as fleshy as baby foreheads, but man, it was a deep cut. The sight of the bone shook me up. He took his fingers and pinched the gash shut and said the words, "That's a perfect cut. We can fix that." An interesting choice of words, but great news. By this point, Sarah was mostly calmed down...not even crying. She is absolutely amazing.
Moments later, Sam arrived. (Thank you, God, for his timely departure from work today, because he was practically at the doctors office when I called him.) He took one look at me and said, "Jennie, go to the bathroom." I just wanted to get Ben & Abby out of there. I cleaned myself up a little bit in the restroom, fixed the toilet (which was a nice distraction - but oh-so-very random), and gave Ben & Abby a hug and thanked them for being such brave helpers. For a moment the older kids worked on dum-dums and watched a minute of the Suite Life while I checked on Sarah. Sam had her lying on her back, playing with keys and his cellphone. She was kicking away at his legs and just chattering away. It was as if nothing was wrong. The nurses had cleaned her up a bit and the bleeding from the hole in her head had mostly stopped. (It would start again when they began the stitching.)
Sam suggested that I take the kids to a neighbor's house and change my shirt. Knowing that was a 5 minute round trip, I acquiesced, though I really wanted to stay with my baby girl. Our awesome neighbors took Ben & Abby in, I grabbed a new t-shirt and returned just in time to help hold my sweet, strong baby down for her stitches. (To earn passage into the room I had to promise the doctor that I would not pass out. I assured her I wouldn't. Cry and hyperventilate...maybe. But I wouldn't pass out.)
Five stitches, a whole lot of wrestling by a nurse and two parents, and the reassuring words of our beloved pediatrician later, Sarah was up, hugging my neck, and bidding the doctor "Bye bye!"
Good as new.
Just a little resemblance to Frankenstein's monster.
I wondered if my sweet girl would be traumatized and never want to go on the playground again (like me), but as soon as we got home, we walked out back and she reached out and said, "Play!"
It takes way more than a somewhat-serious head injury to keep this girl down.
When she sees herself in the mirror, she points to it says "Boo boo!" and smiles. I think she's almost proud. She would be. Little stinker.
So that was our Friday night drama. Our first child to endure a stiches-requiring injury ended up being Sarah. Is anyone surprised? (Maybe a little...only because Abby hasn't already required them.)
At the end of the ordeal, I found myself praying - prayers of thanks. Because it could have been so much worse - but it wasn't. Everything played out perfectly. Thank you, God, for taking care of us - all of us throughout this ordeal and every single moment of every day. And thank you for my beautiful children. Period.
If you read all of that, I'll mail you some Gooey Butter Cakes. And consider yourselves "lucky" enough to read an entry of my diary - which is what I sometimes tend to treat this blog as. Sorry 'bout that.
Happy Weekend, All!