A week or so ago, my husband and I were talking about sicknesses and wounds and childhood bumps and bruises, and he mentioned that we were the only people he knew who hadn't taken their kid to the emergency room yet. I countered that it was because I am American (and therefore still have an "insurance might not cover this" mentality) but also that we were fairly sensible. We watch our kid, I reasoned, and he agreed; and besides, it's not like she does much that's too dangerous, anyway.
Oh, the hubris of it. It only takes a second.
Yesterday morning, while eating her breakfast omelet, our little space cadet fell off her toddler chair with her (metal cake-sized) fork* in her mouth and she somehow landed on it hard enough to STICK IT IN HER NOSE. That's right, I had to pull a stuck fork out of my child's nostrils. It was in there good, too, and she bled everywhere. Of course, being nine months pregnant, my first reaction was "oh shit", my second reaction was CALL HUSBAND, and my third reaction was to cry for 45 minutes, completely out of character or rationality for me. (I also apologize to my husband for calling him a nasty name when he didn't pick his phone up immediately. That's hardly fair.)
I caught Mr Poppleton just as he was stepping onto the train platform, and he turned straight back around. I didn't even consider a GP; we live a one-minute drive from a public hospital with an emergency room, and that was where we were going. (Fork. In. Baby.) I grabbed Piper's pile of clothes (she was still in jim-jams, and bleeding everywhere on them) and we waited for Daddy in the car. I was shaking but I remembered to close the back door, leaving the dog outside. I had left my handbag in the car the night before, so we were all ready.
We got to the ER and I pulled myself together long enough to explain what happened, and then the triage nurse came out and assessed Piper. She didn't want the clip to test her pulse, and had to have the sticker, but (for whatever reason) I had my iPad mini in my handbag, so Peppa Pig kept her sufficiently occupied during the poky assessing parts. We were triaged at a 4, which is good, because it meant our child wasn't dying. (I was still a half-hour into my legendary weeping spree.) Piper was calm, not bleeding much, watching the iPad, and Daddy was calm. Even I was calm, except every time I looked at her little bloody jimjams...and remembered pulling the fork out of her. My tiny baby. Okay, the bloody clothes had to go.
I waddled out to the car, got her change of clothes, then came back, and we changed her in the waiting room. As we were changing her the attending doctor turned up. It was not very much fun trying to get the Tiny Blonde One to sit still while the doctor looked up her nose with the light, but we managed, and finally the doctor said she couldn't see any lasting damage, and judged it "just a bad scratch". Well, okay; I definitely pulled a fork out of some soft tissue, but I'll take quick healing over quibbles any day of the week. Piper was going to be fine, if swollen and sore. I could live with that.
After that I offered to drop Mr Poppleton off at a station nearer the city, and he bought me coffee (which was the only thing I had tp eat or drink all morning, I would later realize). He went on in to work, and Piper and I visited Nanna, who had been kept updated and was relieved to see Piper in the flesh looking a bit sore but not fatally wounded. We played at Nanna's house until midday, and she fell asleep in the car on the way home.
Her top lip is fairly bruised on the inside, as are her gums, which makes me think she hit with the tines straight in (as opposed to angled upward). She has a fat little lip but yesterday she was full of kisses, even though she would kiss us - wince - then kiss us again. But she is mostly the same, and went to school today cheerful and happy. We're still giving her baby Nurofen from time to time, just to make her more comfortable.
Now, I heard from several reliable sources that a traumatic experience can trigger labor, so I fully expected to be typing this one-handed. I'm a pretty calm and action-oriented person; even as I was sobbing into the phone to my husband, yelling for him to get back home right now, we have to go to the emergency room, I was mentally making lists of what needed to be done: back door shut, clothes for the baby, my phone, my keys, water for the dog. I ran to do everything, carrying a 13kg toddler, and managed to get herself and myself in the car in less than four minutes. (Impressed, right? Me too.)
I have, though, been doing this for years. My dad worked out of town, which meant I, as the much-older kid, was the one who had to help my mom when my sisters wounded themselves. For perspective, my mother has five rambunctious girls, and twice I had cuts that nearly required stitches (including the first one, triggered by a slippery bathtub fall, where my mom went searching for my dad and he wasn't fishing where he said he would be and she kept muttering "I will kill him" over and over and here I am holding a towel and an ice pack to my bleeding body and finally I blurt out, "Please don't kill Daddy"). My sister Jillian actually had stitches twice in six weeks - once falling off a lawn chair and catching a BBQ to the face, the second time leaping off a stack of catalogues into a coffee table. She also shut her finger in the car door and lost a thumbnail. Janaka had a cut finger so bad it took a splint and four bandages to fix up, and then she broke her arm at soccer. Whitney fell and knocked her front baby tooth out and sobbed all day because she was convinced the Tooth Fairy wouldn't give her money for a missing tooth. So naturally, I text my mother, expecting sympathy and understanding, and she texts me back, "Welcome to the ER years."
I knew I got my relentless pragmatism from someone!
I am very glad for my husband, who didn't even hesitate to cancel his morning meetings and turn on his heel and head back home. I am glad he held the baby (she wanted Daddy!) and didn't care if he got blood on his shirt. I am glad he didn't hassle me too much for the irrational crying, even though it is frankly terrifying for him when I do cry, because it's not that common. (Pregnancy, so much fun for everyone!) And I'm glad that he is always fishing where he says he'll be fishing. Thank you, other half. You are wonderful.
Anyway, Piper is okay, and I am increasingly miserable (so very pregnant, a head cold from the shock, and so over being sick and pregnant). But tomorrow is Friday, which means another appointment. And Saturday means a meeting of the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild! (Come say HI! I should be there unless I am in labor or too sick to leave the house. I'll probably be there. At least for a bit.)
I am hoping things calm down...and I am hoping that we have this baby soon. I would very much like to have my husband home and my new little baby in my arms and Piper learning how to be a big sister! (Also I would like to be able to vacuum again. And bend over. And tie my own shoes and put underwear on without having to do the maneuver where I hold them in front of me with one hand and randomly stab my feet where I think the leg holes are. Dignity: not optional if you want your butt covered.)
I will leave you with this picture of the Little Miss at the hospital yesterday. Since my family is all in the US, this was all over my social media. It is nice to think that everyone was praying for her as it was happening though. Thanks to everyone who tweeted, facebooked, and texted well wishes for us. We appreciate it.
And yesterday afternoon, feeling a bit better.
And this afternoon, still a bit puffy but feeling much better.
Hopefully we don't have to do that again...fingers crossed!!
*We have always given Piper natural materials where possible - so tiny teaspoons and cake forks for cutlery, dull brie knives for cutting up bananas (we just started those, with supervision, last week), real crockery. She's only broken one dish and one glass in her life. It's a big part of Montessori, having natural materials and using them in practical life, and besides the connection to things that come from the earth, it helps her to know she has child-size implements that are the same as Mama and Daddy use. The actual issue wasn't her using a fork at all--it was the fact that she frequently gets up during meals and dinks around. We will be working on that from here on out!