How does date night turn into the worst night of my life?! I’m so exhausted, I don’t really want to write.. but I need to, and so many people have been asking what happened and this is a simple way for me to share the details.
Last night my husband and I went out for dinner – for the first time in two years. My older daughter is at her dad’s, so we had my mom come over to watch the little ones. Just a 5-7pm kinda deal, nothing crazy! But still, so exciting to get out and enjoy a great meal. Off we went to The Keg, and a great meal we did have. No complaints there! It was lovely to talk and relax and I even had a drink… that NEVER happens! It was a wonderful few hours out, and I was feeling totally happy and invigorated when we got home.
We thanked my mom, said goodbye and off she went. The babies needed to be bathed, so as always, my two year old son bolted up the stairs ahead of us in excitement. I mean really, what two year old doesn’t LOVE bath time?!? We were on the stairs and he was already up there when we were heard the screaming. I still don’t know what happened, but we have pieced it together from both experience and Cal’s limited vocabulary. He went to throw himself into his baby sister’s crib, which for some reason he loves to do, and in doing so he either tripped on the area rug or just lost his balance. Mind you, we didn’t figure all this out until later, as it wasn’t possible for him to help us with mouthfuls of blood pouring out of him. His face, his shirt, his hands, my shirt, my arms.. covered. I’ve never heard him cry like that, and it was enough to throw me into a panic. We decided that my husband would stay home with the baby (it was bedtime) and I would head to the ER with our son. Off we went, JUST as the snowstorm we’d been hearing about all day began to appear.
In all my ER trips with all my three kids in all my 9 years of parenting, I’ve never been rushed through or seen so quickly. By this time Cal had calmed down and was very tired. He just wanted to be on mommy’s lap and I sure had no problem with that! He got excited when this guy came in… he kept yelling “SANTA HERE! SANTA HERE!” lol…
The doctor could immediately see that his teeth had gone completely through his tongue – in the top and out the bottom – and told me that he would need stitches. My heart sank but I wasn’t surprised. I’d seen through his tongue earlier, I knew the teeth had gone through. Poor love, this was not going to be fun. Then she (the doctor) told me that because he’s so young, so squirmy, and so small, they were going to need to put him under and complete the suturing as a minor surgery. THAT I was not expecting. I called my husband, both upset that I was handling this alone and relieved that we decided that it would be me who took Cal to the hospital. I couldn’t imagine being at home while he had surgery – I couldn’t have handled that.
They did an x-ray on his head to ensure there weren’t any fractures or other issues of concern; thankfully all was clear. At 10pm we were finally wheeled into a room for his procedure. That’s right, WE were wheeled, together on a bed, curled up like the old couple in The Notebook, down the hall and into a new room. There was a flurry of activity around us as nurses prepped him and explained to me what was going to happen. My little man had an IV started (Not. One. Tear.) and we were about to begin, when suddenly someone else came flying around the corner saying that there was a child seizing in the hall and they needed our room. So everyone hit a big, imaginary PAUSE button, and we were wheeled – again – back to where we started. Another 15 minutes or so passed, and then we were back in place – this time for real. I was allowed to stay with him while they put him under if I wanted to, and I absolutely was not going to leave him until I absolutely HAD to, so I stayed. That was one of the harder moments of my life. I sang an old Irish lullaby to him while I watched his eyelids get heavier, and heavier, until finally they closed. By that point not much of a voice was coming out anyway; I was in tears and he was asleep, so it was time to go. They told me to take a walk and come back in 15 or 20 minutes, so I went and called my husband just to give him an update and let him know that the surgery had begun. I didn’t want to leave the immediate area, so I walked around for a moment and then found a chair in the hall outside his room and just sat down. I could see him through a small window and while it wasn’t easy to see him being worked on, I knew what to expect so I just looked away and waited.
Suddenly the room he was in got very loud. I was startled and when I looked in, he was flailing on the table in his little fireman pajamas. They were holding him down, and all of a sudden there were seven or eight people in the room. I heard someone say “He’s turning blue! Let’s go!”, and then he jerked violently and choked blood out all over the place. I was FROZEN. Standing in the doorway, looking through the window, and certain that they were losing him. It took me a minute to realize that I was screaming and then someone yelled for a paramedic standing nearby to get me away from the scene. Two of them held me and helped me around the corner and I just remember that I couldn’t open my eyes. I stood in this corner, sobbing, thinking a MILLION things at once. I’ve never in my life had the feelings that I had at that moment. I will never, ever be able to explain it. I thought of my husband, at home and thinking everything was okay. I thought of my two daughters, one of whom didn’t even know he’d been hurt. I thought of how I was going to have to go home without my baby, and I couldn’t fathom it. I didn’t understand what was happening or WHY… one minute he’d hurt his tongue, the next he’s in surgery and experiencing complications?
It felt like hours before the doctor came to speak to me, but I almost collapsed with relief when she told me they had stabilized him, gotten his oxygen levels back to 99% and that he was going to be just fine. They had sutured his wound, she said it was a bad one, and that once he began to wake up I could return to his room. I sat on a gurney in the hallway and just honestly bawled my eyes out. I didn’t care who walked by, I didn’t care who saw me. I sat there, holding his “Cars” backpack and little winter coat, and cried until I had nothing left. Relief, fear, confusion, sadness, and an all too real understanding of what it might have felt like had I lost my child… it all just washed over me and I almost hoped that some random person passing by would just stop and hug me. When I was allowed to go in and see him, he wasn’t really awake and was very confused and upset. I just stroked his hair and talked to him softly so that he knew I was there. I didn’t let him see me cry, I made sure to get all of that out before I went back in. I’m not a very tough person, but even I knew that I had to be strong for him, and that he’d likely be disoriented and scared upon waking. So, I was just there for him and when he became a little more lucid I crawled back into the bed and just held him.
By about 1am we were cleared to go home. He was all patched up and the worst of it was just his discomfort and pain. Because it was such a severe wound, he has an appointment to see a plastic surgeon next week. I’m not sure what will come of that, but hopefully he won’t need more surgery. The poor love has been through so much… I can’t believe how one minute I was enjoying a nice steak and some quality time with my husband, and the next I was staring at my baby boy as he struggled to breathe on a hospital bed. Such a mixture of emotions… and such SORROW for any parent who did not have a happy ending to their story the way we did… my heart cannot imagine the pain.
Today we have relaxed at home, stayed in our pjs and had lots of chocolate milk and pudding. Cal won’t be eating solids for a while, and I think he’s pretty okay with that…
Resting and recovering from his ordeal with some chocolate milk:
He’s had good moments, and some not-so-good ones as well. He’s in a lot of pain, and it’s impossible for him to not be aware of his stitches every single second, so it’s frustrating for him. But, he’s been SO brave, so tough, and I am SO proud of him. I will be sleeping with him again tonight, and will love every single minute of it. I feel like a soldier called up to active duty when my kids are sick or hurt. When my children need me, that’s when I shine. It was a horrible experience, but I am so glad that I was there to hold him and reassure him every step of the way.
Here is the end result:
Lots of love and snuggles will surely aid in his recovery, as will popsicles and ice cream I’ll bet! There have been many extra reasons to hold my babies tighter as of late, and I am more than happy to do just that. Very grateful once again that we are all healthy and (relatively) in once piece in this house.