When Your Baby Scares The Stuffing Out Of You

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.

Me: (Whew!)

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.

Me: (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.

Baby Girl in her car

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…


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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22 Responses to When Your Baby Scares The Stuffing Out Of You

  1. Julie Glover says:

    It’s a toddler story, but the stuffing got scared out of me one day when I pulled down the attic ladder and headed up the rickety wooden steps. The son was nowhere near at the time, but goodness gracious, kids can move fast! Next thing I know, he’s coming up the steps behind me. As I start to walk down to get him, he lets go. He fell from the third or fourth step flat onto the carpeted floor of the hallway. That moment of falling was like slow motion, and I couldn’t get to him quickly enough. The fall knocked the wind out of my son, but he was okay otherwise.

    With my sons quite a bit older now, we’ve had X-rays, head scans, sprains, a broken bone, and lots of general bleeding and bruising. Kids are like that dang Energizer bunny: They take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. It’s a good thing that God made children so resilient. Still, I call the doc if something could be wrong; you never know.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, we love our pediatrician because they ALWAYS have someone on call. That falling is a horrible moment. My brother watched my nephew fall 10 feet back out of a deer stand and said it gave him nightmares for two weeks. I’m not looking forward to all these freaky injuries…


  2. My baby girl will be 21 in three weeks. I no longer have stuffing or sanity thanks to her. It would take a huge bottle of wine to tell all the tales of what that girl has done to my nerves. I think her first was at 1 1/2 when she swallowed a charm (about the size of a quarter) and we had to ‘wait it out’ to see if she would ‘eliminate it on her own’. Um, you mean we have to see if she poops it out? Yep. I’m thinking, that thing is huge! Are you freaking kidding me?

    We ended up having to go on laparoscopically and remove it. I have the cutest little x-rays of the bugger inside her belly. For a month.

    Kids are awesome. Stay calm, take care of the damage, don’t freak out in front of them, and it will all be fine. You can spazz out later that night with your husband and a large glass of wine. ; )

    I’m glad Baby Girl was fine. Your thoughts are hilarious! I think you should’ve shared them with the doctor, that would’ve been fun.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      OMG…I want to look like YOU when I have a 21 year old!! That charm was in her stomach for A MONTH? Are you kidding me? I thought stuff moved out of there in like a few hours? Dang.

      I hope Amy is reading this…she can tell us how long it takes for these sorts of things to leave cat and dog tummies.


    • I am with Jenny, YOU have a 21-year-old – my god! You rock!
      And an xray of a charm in her belly – seriously??!?! OMG!!! LOL!!! That’s awesome – total wedding material…


  3. I remember that post 🙂

    I have had too many, scared the stuffin’ out of me moments, so I’m not going there…sorry. As a mother of FOUR rambunctious BOYS I’ll say it takes A LOT to scare the stuffin’ out of me these days. The wee beasties are amazingly resilient.


    • Any mother of four should be too tired to notice much.


      • LOL David.

        It’s more along the lines of —
        Me: The banister is NOT a slide.
        Them: WHEEEEEE
        Them: Whee…oww…
        Loud crashing sound followed by
        One of them: MUMMMMMM…
        Me: looks around the corner :sigh: walks over, hands on hips and look down at the wee beastie flat on his back
        Me: Are you all right?
        Him: shakes head
        Me: Can you wiggle your fingers?
        Him: wiggles fingers
        Me: Can you wiggle your toes?
        Him: wiggles toes
        Me: Can you talk?
        Him: OUCH!
        Me: gives him a hand to sit. It’s gonna be another night of waking wee beastie every 1/2 hour to make sure he doesn’t have a concussion.
        Me: What did I say about sliding down the banister?
        Him: Ta Not to. (said in his best Mater voice)

        And that was just this morning!


        • Jenny Hansen says:

          LMAO, Raelyn! I think the best part is the “Ta Not To” at the end. I’ll never have this joy, because I can already tell you there WON’T be 4 boys in my house.

          It sounds like you are very, very blessed. I always wanted boys. And girls. And at least I got one. One is better than none. 🙂


  4. K.B. Owen says:

    OMG, Jenny! That’s scary, but oh so funny the way you tell it. I sure can remember those times, with all three of mine.

    But let me tell you my “bad mommy” story. This happened with my 3rd child, when he was a toddler. He was in the rec room; I was in the kitchen when I heard him cry. I ran in as he came out of the room with his hand on top of his head, crying. He could only say a few words at that point, and he said “mommy” and “heh” (which I assumed to be head). I figured he hit his head on the coffee table, so I checked where he was pointing. It looked fine, no lump, so I rubbed it, kissed it, comforted him, and pushed the coffee table WAY out of the way. I didn’t think any more about it until the next day when I was combing his hair, and there was this clump I couldn’t get the comb through at the nape of his neck (his hair was rather long at this point).

    OMG, it was a big clump of dried blood! I called the doctor’s office right away, brought him in, and the doctor checked him over. He had a teeny cut to his scalp when he hit his head (at the NAPE of his neck, NOT the top), but the hair had absorbed it, and I never saw any blood.

    She kept clucking her tongue over my lapse. Every time she’d describe something I’d need to watch out for in a head injury in the first 24 hrs, she’d say something like: “Oh, that’s right, 24 hours has ALREADY past, so you won’t have to worry about THAT.”

    Bad mommy. That’s the last time I fell for the old toddler-pointing-to-the-wrong-spot-of-the-boo-boo-trick! I felt like a real idiot. Thank goodness everything turned out okay. Third children (and beyond) lead a charmed life.

    Great post, Jenny.
    Have a great weekend!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You’re not a bad mommy! My husband and I both read this and said, “We’re soooo glad she told us about the kid holding the wrong spot!” We would have fallen for it too. Who knew?


  5. After over forty years I still remember the day my infant daughter – in her infant seat – fell off the kitchen table where her mother had left her for just a second. Brain damage must have been minimal since she has an extremely high IQ, but she did scare us both to death.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, that was a big fear for me – I’ve had three friends have their kids fall in their infant seat. Everyone tells me they’re GOING to fall, it’s just a matter of time. But that doesn’t make the first time parent feel any better. What is this high IQ daughter of yours doing nowadays??


  6. No kids of my own so no stories to tell but good ol’ Mama could tell you a few. I believe I was one of those children that got in the self-pushing walking thingie and went right on down a flight of stairs to a concrete basement floor and just kept on going…Poor Mom…she claims to have had multiple heart attacks throughout my childhood. No doubt. LOL!


  7. Um, lots of stories, like Raelyn’s, both the boys and the girls, but the one that made me feel the most guilty was when my youngest (now 18) was strapped to my chest in the little baby snuggie thingie. He was three weeks old when I stepped in a hole in tallish grass and did a face plant ON HIM!!!! I thought I would die in that millisecond before he screamed bloody murder. We lived across the street from Children’s Hospital in Seattle, but I couldn’t drive yet; waiting for my husband to come home to take us over there was so horrible, even though it can’t have been more than ten minutes after my hysterical call.

    The poor ER doctor kept trying to tell me that I was in much worse shape than the baby, with a severely sprained ankle that might even be broken and lacerations all over my face (since my head found the rocks in the tallish grass), but every time he tried to tell me that the baby was fine, and probably bounced, I wailed even harder. At some point, he took my husband aside, and though said husband denies it, I think he was told that I needed a shrink as much as an orthopedist.

    In the end, I was on crutches for a month; the baby had not a scratch on him, and is now over six feet tall and a sophomore in college.


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