Tyrant fell, unfortunately not just a normal toddler fall, but a major heart stopping fall from adult chest height onto the ground. She fell from a toddler climbing frame, when she missed the pole she was reaching for. And I missed it, I had turned to talk to another mum, a split second of no eyes on her and it happened, she was lying face down on the ground crying. Rushing to her, I check her over, head injury on her forehead but moving and conscious. First breath sucked in. Next, pick her up and calm her down while asking where it hurts, ‘my arm mummy!’ Is her tearful sob. Second breath sucked in. If she can cry and speak clearly, she is going to be ok. Then I do physical check of the rest of her, all seems fine except arm and head. Breathing commences regularly.
To end the story, we did go to A&E, eventually, I decided to give her a couple of hours to calm down and see how the injury progressed or didn’t. In the end she has a green stick fracture and bad bruise on her forehead, very lucky! Good thing toddlers’ bones have so much flex! Throughout the whole day, I never felt panicked or scared, that I was aware of, in fact I didn’t feel anything strongly, I just reacted and followed my first aid training, thank you Her Majesty’s Armed Forces! I felt calm and in control, I rang Rock, asking him to return home in case I needed him to drive us to the hospital, remember I can’t drive in The Sandpit. I dosed her with paracetamol, had a cuddle, watched Home and waited until she was ready to start moving away from me to see how she moved her arm and how her head was. Even at the hospital, when she was freaking out in hysterics about the doctor touching her, the X-ray, the fitting of the temporary cast I was calm, controlled and calculating (I had brought chocolate for the bribery/reward).
But then, that night, while she was tucked up in her bed dosed up on infant ibuprofen and paracetamol with thumb firmly stuck in her mouth, my mind wouldn’t stop. I kept getting up to check on her, made Rock do it as well, my neurosis of her not waking up, because we had missed the signs of severe head trauma, had me in full blown panic that I woke her every hour to confirm that she could wake, despite the doctor telling me he wasn’t worried about it. The constant refrain of ‘I can’t lose another child’ going on a loop in my head had me behaving completely unlike myself. I wanted to smack myself for the ridiculous overblown drama queen I was, but even though this very loud voice in my head was telling me I was overreacting, as was Rock, I could not let go of the fear. The fear gripped me tight, I could feel myself panicking, to the point that I had to act, if only to stop my rising panic attack, my action was to wake her every hour, even though the doctor hadn’t deemed it necessary, it was the only action that kept the fear under control. I guess, this is the legacy of having a missing space?
I honestly did not realise this fear was there, it has been lying dormant since Cacia’s death. This incident is not Tyrant’s and my’s first A&E visit (stitches and glued chin when she was 2 years old from falling in the park) but it is our first after Cacia’s stillbirth, thus my illogical panicked fear has taken me by surprise, especially in reaction to a relatively normal childhood milestone. Day to day I don’t wrap Tyrant up in cotton wool, she is 3 years old and I believe she has to experience and make mistakes within a safe environment, for me falling off the climbing frame is within that. I also want her to learn that this injury doesn’t have to stop her from living her normal life, she just has to adapt as best she can to do what she wants, within reason. So, she is back in preschool, playing in the park, riding her trike etc… Adapting as required to do what she wants. But now I am left with an unsettled feeling that I have to do something to get past this fear. But what?
For now I have to make sure it doesn’t impact on Tyrant – surely one nights disturbed sleep is only fair considering how many she has given me? However, this experience has shown me that the loss of one child has left me with a real, grip my shit, fear of losing another child. I guess, now I will just have to see what happens, in the mean time I am becoming a whizz at plastic bag cast covers.