Welcome to Risky Baby Business, our Saturday series where we talk about pregnancy, paricularly those on the high risk side, and taking care of those new sweet babies.
Last week we talked about my stark fear at bringing Baby Girl home from the hospital. This week, I want to talk about the first time you have a real accident with your baby. As much as we try to protect our wee ones, they’re faster than their tired parents and they manage to get hurt despite all our caution.
Below is the account I wrote after Baby Girl’s first fall, when she scared the stuffing out me. In honor of Thanksgiving (since so many accidents seem to happen over the holidays), I’ll share it with you.
If you’re a parent, I know you’ve had a similar experience and I hope you’ll tell me about it in the comment section. 🙂
I’ll never forget the morning when my jolt of adrenaline came from the sound of my baby girl sliding off the bed and hitting the hardwood floor with her head. Yikes! She was hysterical. I wasn’t too far behind her. And off we went to the pediatrician’s office.
The rest of you mothers are always keeping secrets from us newbies – I know, I know…you don’t want to scare the crap out of us. Blah-blah-blah.
Newsflash: New parents are scared witless the majority of the time anyway, so maybe clue us in on how to check for head injuries, huh? That way we won’t want to run in circles screaming when we get to the doctor’s office.
Here’s a breakdown of the pediatrician visit. I didn’t say any of the blue text in parentheses out loud, although I REALLY wanted to:
Nurse’s Aid: Has she vomited?
Me: (What??! Vomited? Holy crap, is that going to start now?) No.
Nurse’s Aid: OK. The doctor will be right in. [Peering down at the baby who’s now sleeping.] Isn’t she cute?
The next 5-10 minutes were spent:
- Waiting for the doctor.
- Watching baby girl sleep.
- Searching her face for bruises.
- Tweeting with #myWANA pals.
- Trying to stop twitching.
Dr. Wong arrived and introduced herself. She was a very nice lady, but not my usual pediatrician because they fit me in (you know, to check for potential head injuries).
Dr. W: Has she puked?
Me: (Thank God she hasn’t puked. What if she starts puking? That’s two of them now! What’s with all this puking business???) No.
Dr. W: Did she pass out?
Me: Noooo…(Unless she’s passed out now. I THINK she’s sleeping…OMG, OMG.) Should I wake her up?
Dr. W: No, it will be easier to check her while she’s sleeping. [She feels the baby’s head.] Mm-hmm. Yeah. Uh-hah. [Poke-poke, pat-pat.]
Me: Is everything OK?
Dr. W: Her head seems fine.
Dr. W: Feel here, at the top of her head, where it’s flat. That’s her soft spot. You always want to feel there to see if it’s bulging.
Dr. W: If it’s bulging, that’s bad. It means there’s swelling on the brain and you need to bring her in right away.
Me: (Swelling on the brain? WTF! Do I need to check the top of her head every two hours now?) So, do I need to keep checking to be sure the soft spot stays flat?
Dr. W: Just keep an eye on it.
Me: (Like I’ll be doing anything else now that you said that.)
She proceeded to check Baby Girl’s reflexes and manipulate her arms and legs. When the baby woke up, the doctor shined a light in her eyes and moved a stuffed Elmo to watch the baby track it.
Dr. W: She seems to be fine but I’ll give you our handout on head injuries so you know what to look for.
Me: (SEEMS to be fine?? Head injuries? I’ll be looking for a big glass of wine if this keeps up.) So, what all did YOU just look for.
Dr. W: I checked to be sure that her pupils are the same size and that they contract at the same rate. I checked to be sure that there’s no fluid drainage coming from her nose, ear or mouth.
I must have given her a blank look about then because she elaborated (drilling spikes of sheer terror into my brain).
Dr. W: That’s cerebrospinal fluid and we see it a lot when kids fracture their skull. You need to bring her in if you see any clear fluid coming from her nose or ears.
Me: (Oh, my Jesus. I really don’t think I can take any more.)
Dr. W: Here’s the list of things to look for when your baby gets a head injury. (Dr. W circled a list of SEVEN bullet points.) She’s moving her arms and legs and seems just fine. Is she talking?
Me: (What?) A few words here and there.
Dr. W: Be sure to call us if you notice she is losing any of her words or if her speech decreases.
I was feeling a bit dizzy about then, but I thanked the doctor and left.
After finally getting a cup of coffee and something to eat for the day, I went home and Googled “head injuries” and read the Wikipedia page, feeling better since Baby Girl wasn’t doing most of what the Wiki page talks about.
Through it all, baby girl stayed in a fairly good mood and, when we got home, she started walking her little car around the house like nothing had ever happened. I collapsed on the couch and called my husband, ranting that I needed some wine…a vacation…A NAP!
Do you remember the first fall or accident you had with your little ones? What’s scared the stuffing out of you lately, in terms of kids and grandkids? I need to know what all I have to look forward to…