Sunday, March 21, 2010

An Evening in the ER

The long and the short of it is Little One fell off or jumped onto her brother's foot board.  We were finishing dinner when I heard her long, painful scream.  Blood was everywhere - gushing down her chin, pooling on the foot board, dripping onto the comforter.  I scooped her up and grabbed a baby washcloth, shoved an ice cube in it, and tried my best to calm her down. 

She had bitten deeply into her lip, the blood wasn't clotting after 20 minutes, and a top tooth was shoved back behind her front teeth.  All this time she was screaming and crying.  How do you explain to a toddler that she'll be okay?  Or that you'll do her best for her?  How do you even know she'll be okay?

After calling our new Dr. and not getting a return call from the Dr.-on-call, I called our old Dr. and immediately got a return call from the nurse-on-call.  (Make no mistake, after I call our new Dr and give him a piece of my mind, we're going back to the old Dr.)  The nurse suggested we call our dentist.  I called our pediatric dentist who heard my voice and immediately said he'd meet us at his office.  

She's most likely going to lose the tooth, possibly the three around it.  Hopefully she didn't damage the permanent tooth forming above the root of the baby tooth.  Our pediatric dentist strongly suggested we go to the pediatric ER just to make sure we weren't dealing with head trauma and to see if she needed stitches for the deep gashes in her lip.

Two hours later, we were headed home from the ER.  No head trauma.  Stitches were another story.  If she'd been cut that deeply anywhere else, she'd need stitches.  Since the wounds cut into her inner lip, she'd probably chew them out anyway.  The wound expert at the pediatric ER said we could do stitches, but leaving her alone would net the same results - just without the anger and crying from getting stitches.  We were sent home with instructions to feed her soft foods, no salt, no acidic foods, and lots of popsicles.

Her lip looks huge.  She looks like she lost a nasty fight.  Her lip is swollen.  Her teeth are a mess.  She's very tired.  And wants to eat pretzels.  Aside from her annoyance that we won't let her crunch on salty pretzels, she's just worn out.  But she's going to be fine.

Darling was perfect through it all.  Well, mostly.  I about lost my mind when he couldn't find the Dr.'s numbers on the fridge, but that was me and not him.  He was the picture of calm.  I've never seen him so steady.  Thank God for two parents.

Me?  How am I doing?  I'm a wreck.  I'm an emotional basket case today.  Last night I was jittery and hyper-alert.  Today I'm ragged.  Suddenly, all the emotions and grieving I thought I'd processed thoroughly after two miscarriages in a row and then pregnancy with Little One jumped up and ripped into me.  The fear that we won't get to keep her leaped back into the forefront.

I remember being pregnant with her and desperately trying to keep myself from thinking about our new baby too much.  We already had two healthy boys.  I'd miscarried our first baby and then had two healthy, perfect, full-term babies in a row.  The next two pregnancies ended early and horrifically.  (Is there such a thing as a non-horrific miscarriage?  Didn't think so.)  So when I got pregnant with Little One, I managed to build an emotional fortress around my heart.  I numbed myself.  I was convinced we'd come home from the hospital without a baby in our arms.  No where in my heart did I think we'd get to keep her.  I know God's got it, but the miscarriages taught me that just because God has it doesn't mean it'll work out the way I want.  His will and my will are not always simpatico.

After Little One was born, it took time to settle into the idea that we'd get to keep her.  Bear with me, because I know this next part is a leap, but I had to give her back to God to be able to keep her.  I had to thank God for her and then tell him I knew she was in His hands, not mine and if he chose to take her, she was His.  Somehow, in that act of on-my-face humility, I was freed to love her and revel in her presence in our family.  And I did.  And I do.

And then last night she got hurt and all those emotions from being pregnant with her and those early newborn days have come flooding back and I feel like a wreck all over again.  Thoughts of what could have been keep rushing into my head.  I keep thinking back to last night and what if I'd gotten up and insisted on her bath, instead of letting her go play?  Why didn't I make sure her brothers had put up their door gates to keep her out of their rooms?  The "what ifs" and "why didn't I's" will paralyze me if I don't process this.

It was just a minor fall.  Her lip will heal.  Her permanent teeth might come in with spots from where her baby teeth roots bumped them.  But that's minor.  She's here.  She's healthy.  She'll heal.  And yet I'm reminded again we're here on a string, by the grace of God.  And it's overwhelming.

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