Last week, my daughter S fell off the bed. She is 16 months old and is generally very adept at getting on and off the bed. My husband and I left her unattended for just a moment and she tripped (we think) and fell. And she was knocked unconscious.
It was the scariest thing I've ever experienced in my life. My husband ran down the hallway with her limp body in his arms (she was out for about 15 seconds) screaming her name. I was in the bathroom with the door shut (a rare occurrence). I wasn't sure what was happening - it sounded like he was chasing her down the hallway or playing. When I opened the door he was standing there with her in his arms. She was not moving or responding.
We ran down the stairs to our neighbor and friend, a NICU nurse, who came charging out of the shower. We thrust our daughter into her arms, willing her to wake up. She came to, but was definitely groggy and rattled.
After a frantic call to the pediatrician, we got in the car to go to Children's Hospital. I sat in the back with her intent on keeping her awake. We made it there, and after many hours, we were able to get a successful and clear CT scan that declared S was fine.
Throughout the day, I was racked with emotions - guilt, pain, love, frustration, anger. How could this have happened? Why did it happened? What if something is permanently wrong? It's not fair, we're good parents. We love our daughter.
One of our doctors (who was also a mother) took me aside and told me to hang in there and not beat myself up. It was an accident and with children, they happen. We can do everything in our power to try to stop them, but we can't. We just need to be careful, do our best and have faith in them.
I'm writing this publicly because while I never, ever want my daughter (or anyone's child) to go through this type of physical (and emotional) pain, I'm sure we will again. She has an amazingly fearless streak in her (one doctor described her as having "verve") so I know there will be other times.
But this accident is exactly that - an accident. We need to be careful and not put her in danger, but we are not bad parents. We maybe had an overconfidence as to her abilities, but that doesn't make us bad. And as parents (and even more specifically, mothers) we have to stop beating ourselves up for not being "perfect."
Here's to health and happiness.