My Worst Fear

I interrupt our usual Wednesday programming of He Said/She Said to bring you this special bulletin.

Yesterday, I realized one of my worst fears. It was something I have always dreaded and known in the back of my mind would eventually happen: One of my children being seriously injured.

My Worst Fear
After some numbing medication and a bandage, a happier boy.

Yesterday, my 2 year-old son slipped off of a ladder (that he shouldn’t have been on, of course) and landed with his head onto the corner of a cement block. We were visiting one of my friend’s houses and my daughter came in the house and told us he had fallen. My friend and I both ran. She reached him before I did and I heard her say “Oh God, Nicole!”

My stomach sank. As I reached the window well, 10-feet down where he had slipped, all I saw was blood. Blood on the cement, the wall, and all over my son.

She hoisted him up to me and I ran towards the house. We tried to assess where the wound was, where all the blood was coming from. It was difficult to see anything but red. Finally, after my friend wiped him off, I could see the wound on top of his head. It was not a scratch. It was not a cut. It was not an “owie.” It was a deep gouge in the top of his head,  maybe 4-inches long.

As soon as I saw how deep the wound was, I immediately scooped him up and ran out of the house, towards my car, and to the emergency room. My wonderful friend stayed with my daughter and then followed me to the emergency room. Thankfully, she had stayed much calmer than me during the whole incident.

Here I am, with my son's blood, all over me.

A long story short, he was given a CAT Scan and we were told everything looked fine–no skull or brain damage. They had to put 8 staples into his head. He was so brave and so patient, waiting for people to repair him. He even remembered his “Thank yous” during the whole ordeal.

The lesson in all of this was a simple one: I cannot protect my children. I think, as a parent, we automatically assume that we can and should protect our kids. However, I have begun to realize more and more that, while I can provide a safe environment, it is ultimately the Lord’s responsibility to protect my children.

He loves them more than I do. Sometimes I forget that. Tolan, my son, could have fallen down the entire window well–a 10-foot drop (instead, he slipped off of the second rung, we think). He would have been more severely injured, or even died, had that been the case.

I am trying not to feel guilty for his injury, though. I feel totally responsible. I feel like I failed, but then I have to remember that “accidents happen,” as everyone keeps reminding me. And more than that, the Lord is still in those accidents. He was yesterday, protecting my son from a worse fate.

I am thankful that, today, I am home with a bouncing, smiling, albeit it a tired and sore 2 year-old. Staples look good on him, too.

Okay, so help me feel better… What is the worst childhood injury you ever sustained? What gave your parents the biggest heart attack?

24 thoughts on “My Worst Fear”

  1. I feel you for sure!
    When my middle son was around Tolan’s age he flipped out of the grocery cart and seriously the head can bleed! The big scar has shrunk and is now only a small reminder of a very sad day.

    But the guilt. I know it well. The motherhood guilt that is always haunting us now has a voice, “You should have…could have…why didn’t you…”

    We just can’t let it stick. There is too much we have to do to help shape them and lead them, we don’t have time for it.

    You are loved!

  2. I feel for you, too! Always scary when stuff like that happens.

    This past February, my wife was at a McDonald’s with a mommies group, and our then 3 year-old daughter fell and gashed her chin pretty good on the tile in the play area. I was really proud of my wife–after getting our daughter stitches, she went on with her day & kept a planned playdate. They were both troopers through the whole thing.

  3. Nicole
    oh how my heart aches for you….am praising that it was not any worse. i have yet to have a major with my girls. I tend to tell them all my war stories and visits to the ER that helps them be a little more cautious when getting into mischief.

  4. Kallen’s falls started on Thanksgiving Day when she was 1 1/2. She was running on the driveway, fell and chipped her 2 front teeth. They were a nice inverted V. That Monday, I took her to the dentist for him to file them so they weren’t so sharp.
    She fell again and hit her teeth when she was 2 1/2. They were sore for a number of days.
    Kallen was 3 the FIRST time she had to have stitches. She was playing on the stroller in the driveway. She stood up in it backwards and tumbled over. That meant a trip to the hospital. They brought in a couple of beefy paramedics to hold her down while they were working on her. They weren’t needed. She was a trooper. 5 stitches in her chin and she was all fine.
    Then, when she was 6, we were in upstate NY and it was icy. She fell and hit her forehead on a rock. We found the nearest doc-in-the-box and she got her head stitched up. When Lance was carrying her to the car after falling, she was more concerned about bleeding on Lance’s jacket than the cut on her head.
    When she was 6 1/2, she fell running on the sidewalk. She came up to me crying because she had hurt the palms of her hands when she caught herself. I said, “Oh good, you learned to put your hands down. At least this time it wasn’t your head that got hurt.” She got a funny look on her face and her sore palms didn’t seem to bother her anymore.
    Now she is 15 and hurls herself off of springboard and platform diving boards. The water is a lot easier to land in than on a hard driveway or sidewalk!

  5. Oh how my heart sank and that feeling in the pit of my stomach happened when I read this!

    It’s so true though, isn’t it? We CAN’T protect our kiddos from everything, even though we want to so badly. It’s not possible, and realizing that, letting it go into His hands and just doing the best we can is SO much harder than I ever thought it would be before becoming a mama.

    There have been a few scary deals with just having a boy, in general, but the scariest for me was him having sleep apnea( unbeknownst to us at the time) and waking to find my son not breathing! I have no doubt God woke me up to check on him for a reason…I am so thankful for that and being able to resolve the reason. Still, I had major mommy guilt wondering how I could not have known this already! He was 3 at the time. There is nothing like the terror a parent feels when something has happened to their child, be it a fall, major wound or asthma attacks.

    1. Jaime, I’m so comforted to know that I am not the only mom struggling to both trust God to keep my kids safe and surrender them to Him. Whew. It is tough.

      How scary for you with your son. I cannot imagine. Praise the Lord for waking you and saving him!

      The enemy wants to make us feel guilty, but God says “Hey, your kid is alive. Just praise Me!”

  6. I actually died.

    When I was 5, my mom took us (myself and my two sisters) to the YMCA in the nearest city (at the time we lived in a rural part of Massachusetts).

    I was on a trampoline, doing a knee-drop into a seat-drop (bouncing on your knees, and kicking your legs out as you come up so you land with your legs out in front of you). I didn’t get enough bounce going and I came down full-force as if I was lying down, only with my legs from my knees down still stuck under me. There was a giant crack (my back) which everyone in the room heard. I got up dazed…walked to the edge of the trampoline where the employees were waiting with their eyes bugging out…and that’s the last of what I can remember.

    My mom said I lost consciousness. I stopped breathing, my heart stopped. My hands were curled up into claws (which is a sign of brain damage).

    Then I remember being mad that they woke me up. I was happy where I was (and yes I remember it).

    I woke up with two employees doing CPR on me. Then the ambulance guys came. This was back when they had a 2-piece metal back board that they slid from either side under you and it clicked together. It pinched me so I tried to arch my back and there was another big CRACK. The ambulance guys freaked out and told me not to move and taped my head down and did a c-collar,etc. I remember the ambulance being really loud. And the director of the YMCA (I think) rode with my mom in the ambulance. We got to the ER and they took xrays. The doc came over, looked at them, asked me to wiggle my toes, then my feet. Asked me if I was in any pain (I wasn’t aside from being miserably uncomfortable from being taped down). And he said there wasn’t a thing wrong with me. He untaped me and watched me as I put my own shoes back on.

  7. awww poor baby! im glad he was brave through it all.

    worst thing that has ever happened to my son: he jumped off the bed when he was 1.5 years old and hit his head first. no blood, no cuts. i thought he was fine. after a couple of hours, he started throwing up & had a high fever.

    brought him to the ER & found out he had a fracture in his skull! we had to stay at the hospital for a few days to make sure there wasnt a hemorrhage. =/ i felt like the worst mom in the world.

  8. Oh Nicole! I’m so glad he’s ok and I so know that feeling you described! I’m so impressed at how quickly you’ve processed this and realized that they are always in God’s hands. Keep fighting that guilt! I think that despite my best efforts to avoid it, I may have been a bit overprotective of my boys and it has made them more timid. Now, in my defense, we spent so much time at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, someone asked me if I worked there because I looked so familiar!

    So, two big accidents for us were Eddie pulling a big butcher block table with a very large TV on it down on his head. Praise God the TV went over him, but the table still fractured his skull :(. I will never forget waiting for the results of the CAT scan and the Dr. coming in very grave-faced and saying, “It’s not good”. There should be a list of things Drs. are forbidden to say and that should be at the top!

    Ethan lost the top of his thumb (including the nail) in a door. Apart from the seemingly huge amount of blood and the fear, I was also embarrassed because I had to call 911 because I couldn’t keep pressure on the wound and drive to the hospital. So he, Eddie and I had a lovely ride in a fire engine to the emergency room. As I once told your mother-in-law…I don’t think I have the cardio-vascular system to be a parent!

    Bottom line, when they give out awards for the worst Mom of the year…the platform will be so crowded, there will be no room for you! =o)

  9. The summer I turned 11, my parents thought it would be a wonderful idea to send me to France. Alone. To a family they had never met (we had hosted their daughter when she was an exchange student at my elementary school). Her mother invited me over for three weeks that summer. I asked my parents if they were going with me, and they said no, they hadn’t been invited (?) and it would cost too much, anyway.

    While I was over in France I fell off my bike while we were at a resort camp and got a huge gash on my forehead, and road rash all over my elbows and knees. They rushed me to the ER, where doctors who couldn’t speak English sewed up this little girl who couldn’t speak French. I got ten stitches smack in the middle of my forehead. (Later I required plastic surgery to correct the keloid scar.)

    My parents were called and notified, while I sat in the hospital for three days, refusing to eat. When I got to talk to my mother on the phone, I asked to come home. I was homesick, my hair was full of dried blood, and my elbow and knees ached horribly, and my head looked like Frankenstein’s.

    My mother’s response: “No, you can’t come home, it would cost too much to change your ticket.”

    When I tell my kids this story, I tell them that if that ever happened to them, if they were injured and homesick far from home, I would move heaven and earth to get them home. I would sell my blood. I would sell my car. I would do whatever it TOOK to get my injured, homesick child home.

    I think that was my watershed moment, the moment I realized I could not depend on my parents to truly care for me or attempt to protect me…that it was up to God.

    Oh, they made up for it later: they were much more concerned when I fell out of my college bunk bed freshman year (while I was sleeping) and fractured my back–they drove right out there, all two hours on the road. Such a sacrifice.

  10. Oh, and as for my own kids. When my oldest was 18 months he was bitten by our cat. Said cat was fluffy and delicious looking, and while he was sleeping my son tried to nuzzle his belly, startled the cat, which flew at him, bit him on the forehead and clawed him.

    What they say about head wounds bleeding more than any other wound is so true: blood flew everywhere. I kicked the cat across the room (he later was given a new home with no kids), scooped my spurting child up and drove him to the ER, where I felt like the worst mother ever. Thank God his eyes weren’t clawed; he had two puncture wounds on his forehead, where the cat bit him so hard he had bruises as well, and claw marks on the top of his head. They healed perfectly with no scars.

    Coming out of the ER I was met by Animal Control (the ER has to contact them with any animal bite) and I was told the cat should be in quarantine from people and animals for a week. I said, “That damn cat is going to get a new home on a happy farm somewhere, if you get my drift.” One week later the cat was gone.

  11. Oh gosh Nicole,

    I was cringing the entire time I read that. No one wants to see that happen to their baby. I am glad he is ok. Try as we might, our kids are going to end up at the emergency room. He learned and taught all the other kids around him a very valuable lesson yesterday. Ok, that was my attempt to look at the bright side of the incident. no worries- my son almost bit his tongue clean off, it was hanging on by 2 pieces of skin on both sides. The good news, tongues heal really fast. He was not with me when this happened. But I have made some bad mistakes regarding his very serious nut allergy and I want to kick myself every time because we always end up in the ER. It always seems like the one time I forget his emergency meds is the time he ingests a nut product. I always feel bad because I am supposed to protect him but he has learned that no one can protect him except for himself. He does not trust anyone and I am glad to have taught him that. Seriously don’t feel too bad. Tolan is a boy, thats what they do.

  12. baseball bat swung full force contacted the side of my head (swung by my older bro). I was 5, bro was 8. 2 inches further forward and it would have killed me instantly. Instead I got a headache (and goose egg), and a bowl of ice cream. Only lasting side effect is a rather apathetic attitude towards all things baseball.

  13. Oh, Nicole! I just saw this after seeing Jonathon’s post about T’s staples being removed today. I was so shocked to see it. What I am not shocked about is the way that God protected Tolan that day, nor am I shocked about the way that you handled it so bravely. When we are actually IN those moments where our children are helpless, perhaps even dying in front of our eyes, it is so easy to take their lives into our own hands like you said and it is so easy for us to blame ourselves. However, God is the one who protects our children. How hard that is for us to grasp at times….especially in those moments. BUT….in hindsight, it is always apparent who saved them.

    My prayer during those days in the nicu with Gavin, especially when he was 12 days old and the doctors told us they were doing 100% of the work for him was that God would hold him and protect him because I was unable to even touch him. When we were asked if we wanted to continue with care or take him off life support, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Gavin’s life and his survival had absolutely NOTHING to do with me. Kudos to you for recognizing the same….not to say that in those moments we don’t go into “mommy-mode”. I fight against taking his life into my own hands every single day.

    I love you Nicole and I pray that you never have to experience CT-Scans and staples ever again…

  14. I cannot even imagine the terror- oh my goodness! Praising God that he is okay!

    I agree that we can’t protect our children, and I just wish that I personally had more control over this. I wish that God gave me the supernatural power as their mother to protect them from ALL harm.

    But, it isn’t so….and I think I will resist that truth for awhile, and then surrender to it, and then resist it, and so on and so forth.

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