Alright guys. I’m going to share with you probably the worst day/afternoon I’ve ever had as a mom. It’s one of the reasons I had a few week gap in posting. It’s also one of the reasons I’m worried I’m going to turn into a helicopter mom that never lets her kid do anything without me. Also fair warning, this post is sad. I mean it’s about a baby getting hurt, not one of my happier topics. A few weeks ago I had to take Oliver to the emergency room. I experienced the worst feeling in the world as a parent. But don’t worry. There is a happy ending. My baby is totally fine.
I want to preface this story by telling you that Mauricio and I are not the kind of people who rush to the emergency room for little things. Actually we hardly ever go to the doctor. We will wait about a week of being really sick before we’ll call and make an appointment to see someone. In all the years we’ve been together we’ve been to the emergency room once. That was when I was in labor. Also, we don’t really get sick or hurt very often, so we just don’t have the need to go anyway. As I learned two weeks ago though, when my baby is hurting I could care less about hospital bills. I just needed to get him help.
It all started as a totally normal Thursday. As you may recall from my daily schedule, Thursday is shopping day. So Oliver and I went to the grocery store as usual and got home around noon. I set Oliver to play with his toys while I put the groceries away. Now that he’s crawling up a storm, he usually wanders in to the kitchen while I’m in there. Of course he did this time as well. Since the pantry door was open he ventured his way in there. He’s been in the pantry a few times, but I don’t let him explore it too much so that he doesn’t pull anything down on himself. Since I was putting things in the pantry I figured it would be fine for him to be in there. That turned out to be the worst choice I could make. I reached over him to put some cans of pumpkin on the shelf and somehow missed. I think I set them right on the edge, so they started to fall instantly. Right toward Oliver. I smacked them out of the way/tried to catch them or push them on to a shelf. I halfway succeeded. One missed him completely, landing on a lower shelf. The other came down right on his tiny little finger. I had a brief second where I thought it had missed him totally and we were fine. But then the screaming started. I scooped him up instantly and went over to the sink where I discovered how bad it was. His little finger was bleeding so much! I was terrified, and chaotic. I tried running it under water but I could tell this was more than a little cut. I could see a chunk of skin hanging from his finger. I grabbed some paper towels and held pressure on it. But I felt like the blood was never ending. I didn’t know what to do. So I called Mauricio.
I think that was the most chaotic call Mauricio has ever recieved. I’m so glad he answered. He was at work and often times when I call and he’s working he doesn’t answer and calls back when he can. I can’t even remember what I told him but I was holding Oliver and I know he could hear him screaming. He asked if I wanted to bring him down to the hospital and I told him I couldn’t because Oliver was bleeding so much. Mauricio left right then and came to get us. I carried Oliver around the house trying to soothe him, but any time I would move the paper towel to see how bad it was still bleeding he would start crying again. I went outside to start the truck and found that for some reason Oliver was calmer outside, so I stayed on the porch and waited for Mauricio. It took him about 10 minutes to get home and then we jumped right in the truck and went right to the hospital. I rode in the back with Oliver and was somewhat able to tell that the bleeding had slowed down. But my baby was still hurting and we were still going to the emergency room. Moab has an urgent care that would have been a good option for something like this. But it doesn’t open until 5, and there is no way I was going to wait 5 hours to get help.
We got to the ER and since it’s a small hospital we got right in. They cleaned off Olivers finger, which was hardly bleeding anymore, and noted that there was a chunk of skin missing, so stitches weren’t an option. The ER doctor came in and decided we needed to do x-rays to make sure the bone wasn’t crushed. I was dreading seeing his tiny little finger crushed in an x-ray, but I was hopeful that wouldn’t be the case because from the outside his finger looked okay. Bone wise at least.
While we were waiting for x-ray to come get us, I handed Oliver off to Mauricio and took some deep breaths for the first time. I was a mess. As soon as I had a minute to myself all the emotions went wild and I cried. Not too hard, but I definitely cried. Eventually they came and got us for the x-rays and I decided it would be way better for Mauricio to hold him instead of me. So I had to wait outside and listen to my poor baby cry again while they tried to get a good image of his tiny little finger. It was horrible. Mauricio works in the medical field and deals with babies, so he is far better at handling those situations than I am, I’m glad he was there and willing to hold Oliver.
It took about a half hour for them to read the x-rays to tell whether his bone was broken or not. While we waited we got our happy baby back. His finger wasn’t bleeding anymore and he was laughing with us. Oliver recently starting clapping when he is happy so after a bit of playing he started clapping. Which was heartbreaking. When he would clap, he would hit his wound and get the most confused, hurt look on his face, but he didn’t cry. He is seriously so strong. Finally the doctor came back in and confirmed that his finger wasn’t broken. The can really just nicked his finger enough to take a piece of skin off. I’m so glad that it wasn’t worse.
Basically all we had to do to mend his finger was keep in wrapped in gauze for a few days and once it scabbed a bit we could just use a bandaid. I also made him wear a sock on his hand while he ate, just to keep food from getting on the bandage and to keep it from getting wet. The gauze situation was interesting. Wrapping a tiny finger in gauze isn’t easy, and we had to clean it and put new bandages on at least once a day. And that was only if he didn’t manage to take it off throughout the day. There were a few days that I had to re-bandage it by myself because he would manage to get it off. But Oliver was a champ through it. Each night, I would hold him while Mauricio would clean and re-wrap his finger. The first two days were rough. It was still a pretty fresh wound, so I’m sure it hurt when we’d clean it. I don’t blame Oliver for crying at all. But after day three he stopped crying when we would clean it. He would just focus on what Mauricio was doing and every now and then get a little pained look on his face, but no tears. Oliver is by far the strongest baby I’ve ever made.
All this craziness happened two weeks ago, and now all we have to do is make sure his finger stays clean and put some ointment on it every now and then. He’s almost totally healed. Our bodies are really amazing with how fast they kick into gear and repair themselves! Overall we are so fortunate that it was just a little nick on his finger. We really could have taken care of it at home ourselves because it wasn’t that bad, but when my baby was bleeding and crying I didn’t second guess having someone look at it. I think my biggest take-away from the whole experience as a mom was to slow down. I was in a rush to put away the groceries that I missed the shelf. I mean, really? How hard is it to take an extra second to make sure you set something down the right way? I’m not the most graceful person and it’s usually caused from me going to fast. I’ll run into the doorframe because I turn to soon to go into a room. I’ll drop things because I think it’s faster to carry more than I should instead of making two trips. I’ll trip over things because I don’t bother to look where I’m going. You get the point. Since the accident, I’ve been more careful with things, especially when Oliver is around. I’ve slowed down a bit and have tried to be more aware of everything around me, and Oliver. I know that this was a freak accident, and isn’t likely to happen again. But I want to do everything in my power to prevent stupid accidents like this from happening again.