Our Night in the ER


It started off as a normal night.  We were fully engaged in the bath and bedtime routine, like we have done hundreds of times before.  My husband was getting the baby in his pajamas and I was helping Mia out of the tub while we both sang songs terribly off-key and at the top of our lungs, when she slipped and fell, hitting her head on the side of the toilet.  At first I said, “Oh you poor thing!  You’re ok, just a little bump on the head,” but when she lifted her head from the fall, I saw blood GUSHING from her left eye. I froze for a second and did not know what to do.  She was crying.  I was about to cry.  I was shaken.  I felt like a bad mom.  Why didn’t I just put the bath mat down like I always do?!  Then she would not have slipped and fallen and hurt herself.

When your child is hurt, it is hard to think rationally.  You are just riding on pure adrenaline and letting your motherly instinct govern your next move. You try your best to put on the bravest face and calmest voice for your child so as not to scare them even more. My daughter is very much a daredevil so I have been in this situation before. She’s had lots of falls and bumps and bruises before.  But never have I seen blood pouring out of my child’s eye.  It was pretty scary.  I had her wrapped in a blood-stained towel rocking her back and forth when my husband rushed in to see what happened.  “We need to go the ER,” I said in the calmest voice I could muster. Quickly he got the baby dressed, I got Mia dressed.  We threw them in the car and off we went.

As I drove the 20 minute route from our house to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, blame kept going through my head. This time, I blamed myself.  I thought, how did I let this happen?  Why does this sort of stuff always happen on my watch?  I also knew that if this had occurred with my husband in the room, I probably would have blamed him and given him a really hard time.  I felt bad about this for a second, then pledged to stop blaming him for all of the things that go wrong from here on out because accidents really do happen.  Life can change in an instant, with no warning or explanation!

By the time we got to the hospital, the bleeding had stopped and we could see that it was just a laceration on the crease of her eyelid that seemed to be already healing on it’s own. I am continually amazed at how resilient children are, and am chronically embarrassed by how much I still overact, even after being at this mothering gig for four years.  We decided to go inside and have her checked out anyway, in case the cut need stitches. Then the strangest coincidence occurred.  Our ER nurse immediately recognized us because we saw her having dinner out with her kids a couple hours prior. I had taken my daughter out for ice cream to kill some time after dropping my husband off at a client meeting he had in a town 30 minutes from ours.  Not only have I never met this woman before in my life, but we have never even been to that restaurant before.  I remember seeing this woman dressed in her nursing uniform having dinner with her small children and thought how difficult it must be to work the night shift taking care of sick people all night and then going home and trying to raise a family.  What a small world!

My brave girl getting admitted to the ER.
Somewhere between 8:30-8:45 – My brave girl getting admitted to the ER.

And then we waited…

10:30 pm - Trying to feed the baby in the middle of the waiting room.  He will not go to sleep!
10:30 pm – Trying to nurse the baby in the middle of the waiting room. He would not go to sleep!

And waited!


11:30 pm - We finally got a bed!  Why is this baby still WIDE awake?
11:30 pm – Yay we got a bed! Why is this baby still WIDE awake???

Finally at around midnight, it was determined that stitches were not needed.  HOORAY!

Now that this whole ordeal is behind us, I feel like we’ve conquered another level of parenting and that we will likely be tested again in the future.  My daughter loves telling the story about how she “fell on the toilet” and proudly showcases her wound.  For me – it’s good to know I can be calm in the face of fear – I think moms are just born with this gift. I also learned from the amazing doctors at CCMC that the face is the part of the body with the greatest amount of blood vessels – when it’s injured it bleeds profusely.  But after the bleeding stops, usually what’s left behind can be the smallest of wounds.  I feel this sums up our human experience entirely: despite all the worries and the chaos and the difficulties in life that cause us pain, after all is said and done, what usually remains is a small boo-boo that can easily be healed with time, patience, and love.  We humans are resilient that way.

And I most definitely learned the true importance of bath mats!


13 comments on “Our Night in the ER”

  1. I can totally relate to this! Zoey split her lip open when she slipped in the tub when she was about 2. I almost started crying myself. Luckily, we didn’t have to go to the ER because we got the bleeding to stop but it was still such a scary and helpless-and of course “all my fault”-kind of feeling. Hugs to you and glad she’s ok!

  2. This happened to me a few years ago, when my youngest was 3. She was getting a bath and stood up to get out of the tub and slipped and whacked her head on the back wall. She laughed it off (after I gave her a kiss) and we got ready for bed (the bump came out quickly – my mom always said if the bump shows, it’s fine. If it doesn’t, it’s not.) About an hour later, she got up to go pee, and she was walking funny – as if she were carrying a heavy weight in her left hand. We thought it was because she was half asleep, because she didn’t do it as she went back to bed. But at around 1am, she woke us up, crying and throwing up. She couldn’t get out of the bed. She was too dizzy. So I picked her up to get her out of the bed and took her to the bathroom. Stood her in front of the potty while I cleaned her up, and she promptly fell over on her left side. I rushed her to the hospital (I swear, I drove like a manic, half-hoping a cop would pull me over so. I could get a police escort), and she threw up in her lap, twice, on the way. The hospital staff ended up giving her a scan to see how bad it was, but it turned out to only be a minor concussion, and the worst had passed already. By the time we got back home, she was as bouncy as ever.

    I felt like a bad mom for a while, too. Like I should have immediately taken her to the hospital when she fell. But then I realized we do what we can with the information we have, and no one can really fault us. Kids are kids, and they get bumps and bruises and do crazy things. (And honestly, head wounds bleed like crazy – they ALWAYS look a bazillion times worse than they are.) I often think if the things I used to do when I was very little, and I’m amazed I’m not dead!

    1. Oh, wow! Hugs to you mama. That sounds like a very traumatic experience for you both. I am so happy things turned out ok in the end. I know I would’ve thought the same as you if my child had a big bump. Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Thanks! Im normally not so calm, I am usually a tweaker – lol. But I guess when it’s serious, something comes over you and you just move forward on instinct.

  3. Poor Mia and poor you! This sounds SO scary!! You rock for being so calm. I didn’t get that motherhood gift. I FREAK OUT when anything like this happens. Hugs!!

    1. HAHA! I freak out too, but I think when something serious happens, that’s when you kind of go numb almost and just try to be calm for the sake of not making it worse. At least thats what happened last night.

      1. I have this HORRIBLE embarrassing habit of breaking out into laughter during really stressful moments. UGH!

      2. Oh haha – Dont worry, its just your mind’s way of dealing with stress. I kept laughing in the ER every time we told the story of her getting a laceration from a toilet seat – ooopsies!

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