It’s been a long few weeks, as I am sure that it has been for many people out there.
My mind has been all a jumble and blur. So much is up in the air, so much is happening for many people around me. So much is happening even in our own household.
I’ve learned that there may not be such a thing as a tranquil pregnancy. I feel like every mom deserves one and I won’t say that no mother has ever had one. And while I can’t say that mine has been particularly difficult, the road has been bumpy at times and I’m about to the point where I’m ready to be done.
I learned after my first pregnancy not to attempt to rush these few, last precious weeks away. Once baby arrives, the life that you thought was wracked with chaos and busyness suddenly seems like a drop in the bucket. When your wee one is finally here and you’re clinging to any semblance of a routine and stability, that is when things get difficult.
Thankfully, our baby has grown wonderfully and seems to be doing great, despite mommy’s heavy consumption of sweets this time around. Speaking of which, has anyone tried cider donuts? I don’t know if they’re a new thing this year or what but OMG YUMMY.
This week had a few interruptions in life and they have made me realize something profound: I know nothing about life.
I write on here and may pretend or sound as if I do, but in actuality I realize that I am just as lost as the next person. Or perhaps it’s that I do have some stuff figured out, but I have come to realize how many things don’t really matter in the grand, holy scheme of things.
Wednesday, my hubby and me were able to get out of the house to enjoy a date night. It would most likely be our last until the newest member of our family arrives to shake things up. My sister agreed to babysit, which was so kind of her.
Rob and I chose the local mexican restaurant for our meal. It’s a joke between us, really. The day that we went in for what we thought was our run of the mill, 38 week OB appointment while we were pregnant with Jerry turned out to be not so routine and we ended up being induced. Which meant no food.
My chips and salsa dreams were crushed.
This time, at 37 weeks, we planned to
eat chow down stuff ourselves good and proper with all things fried and covered in cheese. And believe me, it was deliriously amazing.
Then we headed over to Target so that I could pick up a handful of last-minute mommy things. Nursing pads, bras, cream, bottle brush. Then we would be on our way back home. I checked my phone and realized that I had missed 12 calls from my sister.
Let me back up about 10 hours. I had gotten a phone call from Jerry’s school that my son had hit his head on a metal door frame on his way back to class. He had been seen by the nurse who was following protocol in letting me know. She iced his noggin, assessed him, and let me speak with him. While he sounded small and upset on the other end of the phone I felt like he would be okay to return to class, and the nurse agreed.
I reassured Jerry that I was just a phone call away and that if he felt worse or different I’d be happy to come and get him. He sounded okay.
I never got another phone call. He got home from school and seemed like my normal little guy, if only a bit tired. He played Lego’s, he painted, he colored, he had a snack. Things were great.
Until that aisle in Target.
My sister relayed to me that Jerry hardly touched his dinner. Then he became disoriented, stumbling around trying to make it to the sofa. Upon making reaching the couch, he started to wring his shirt in pain and was inconsolable. All he wanted was mommy and to go to sleep.
I don’t know what I said to her besides the obvious. “Don’t let him go to sleep. We’re coming.” Rob ran to get the car. I plopped down the basket of what I thought were essentials. Our new mission in life was to be home, to be beside our son as soon as possible.
I waddled, Rob ran. But somehow, we made it to the car at the same time. I’m not sure how that happened other than those fleeting mom super powers that people tell you about. You know, the moms that turn cars over to get them off of their child or fight off an attacker? I guess it was a little of that.
We moved through town with precision as I relayed to him all that she had told me. We called both of our neighbors, one a policeman, one a trained EMT (are you jealous of me? It’s kind of awesome, right?) They both needed hardly any explanation before they were out their respective doors on their way to my son. My neighbor called me back. Jerry had vomited. We decided it was time to call an ambulance.
I know that ride home didn’t take long, but I still remember every second of it. I did have the required mom meltdown. All that I could think about was how awful of a mother I was. I knew he’d hit his head, but I still left him. How could I be out eating dinner when his head was wrenching on the inside and he felt so bad? While I laughed over my plate of food? It’s every parent’s nightmare.
We clamor for time to ourselves, we want personal space, we love nights out. But inside, I know almost any parent feels even the tiniest sliver of guilt. We know that our bonds and needs ultimately lay elsewhere, even if for an evening we get to play dress up and pretend that they don’t. When things are suddenly rough, we know where we belong and where we need to be.
We got home. Jerry was sitting on the porch. The fresh air was my sister’s attempt to get him to stay awake. He looked so small. Just so, so small sitting there on his knees. He had hardly any color. His eyes were wide, but nothing seemed to be registering. It’s a way that no parent ever wants to see their child look.
Let me pause to tell you how amazing my sister was during all of this. She had THREE small children in her care, one that wasn’t doing well, and she managed to think cooly and calmly and take care of my son. That’s a debt that I can never repay.
The ambulance arrived. Neighbors arrived to see what was going on. The EMT’s were wonderful. They discussed the potential outcomes, one of which was heading over to Baltimore since there were clearly coordination issues and hospitals on the Western Shore have highly equipped pediatric units that may be better to assess the situation. All of this amounted to possibly flying my son out via helicopter.
That moment that I wondered how I ended up here. The house could have been burning down behind me and it would not have mattered. My son might be broken, badly. How did we get here? I went inside and within three minutes had a small bag packed for him. He had his Blue Bear and his blanket. They placed him in the ambulance until they had word on what was decided. We didn’t end up having to fly out. Not that I would have cared.
Rob and I both looked at one another and wondered who was going to be the one to get out of the ambulance and drive behind in the car. We decided that we would just ask for a ride home when the time came. Which brings me to my next issue: how children are adorable even when they’re on a stretcher in the back of an ambulance? Or laying in a hospital bed?
When we got to the hospital and went in with him, we were greeted quickly by at least one nurse, and not long after by a physician. When being pounded with medical history questions about Jerry, even dating back to trips he had to the ER when he was 18 months old, I wanted to curtail off from the discussion into the reasons why he was amazing. Why this child was different. Why he was the perfect son. It may have been nothing relevant to aid in diagnosis, but it didn’t matter to me. Them knowing that my son was a treasure to beheld was the only thing that mattered to me. That was the only relevant thing.
We waited to have a CT scan, and in the meantime, Jerry was allowed to rest. After he drifted off to sleep on my husband’s chest, I just went back over the day. I recalled laying in the sofa in the living room next to one another. I loved to make him smile by telling him stories of when he was a baby. I reminded him of just how teeny tiny he was. How we would lay next to one another and rest. How precious he was when he came out of my belly. How much I loved him.
I was just retracing those first few months with him earlier in the day. And now we were here, in the ER. And all that I could think were the moments that we might not get. Granted, at this point, we were sure that he would heal and that he would be okay. I just realized how much of the story that I thought we had left to experience is really up in the air. Though death is not the ending, I don’t believe that for a moment, I realize how much I rely on what I think should and will happen.
Nothing is for certain. No matter what anybody tells you. No matter what your expectations tell you.
And that is a hard thing to learn in the moment.
We made it home just after midnight. Jerry missed two days of school, but returned today and did beautifully. He still experiences symptoms, as we were told that he would off and on for the next month. Right now, we are namely concerned with preventing another head injury, no matter how big or small. And also in just observing him to make sure he is healing.
He puts me to shame. He has had to slow down his pace and have activities limited, including recess and gym class for this week, and yet he is smiling and joyful about it. He knows that what we are doing is best for him, if annoying at times.
I don’t think that things are coincidental. The timing of this happening so close to our newest one arriving can’t just be by chance. If there is one thing that God has drilled into me lately it’s how devoted He is to me. How much of what He does is in my best interest and care. I just don’t always see it. Or I choose not to see it. I think that even Jerry was overwhelmed with how much people cared that he had hurt himself. People from school were calling within 45 minutes of this all happening. Neighbors came over to be with him. Mommy and daddy and sister were right there.
It’s like thinking that you possess the precision and freedom of a trapeze artist and falling, only to discover the safety net was always there. I feel like God works like that in my life all of the time. I don’t realize how much I’m held until I fall. Until I hurt. Then I see the boundaries and the protection clearer than ever before and realize that I never really was going at it alone.
I know that in the grand scheme of things, my son getting a concussion and taking one ambulance ride is honestly nothing compared to what some people go through. I know parents who have been down this road multiple times with various injuries or ailments for their children. I know that this all may seem kind of trite. But honestly, feeling helpless is not something that I would wish on anyone. Not when it comes to their children or someone they love.
I still struggle and keep going back in my mind, over and over, if I missed something. If there had been one little thing I hadn’t seen and that maybe if I had, I would have known that something was off sooner rather than later. I can’t seem to let that go. I really don’t know if you ever do as a parent. If something befalls your child when you feel like you’re supposed to be on guard, it makes you question every step and decision there after.
I have to remember that God is in control. That He allows things to happen and that nothing is beyond His reach or His scope. I’m trying to remind myself of that fact as we approach having this baby. There is so much room for doubt, this is such a vulnerable time for us. It’s a time to trust. It’s a time to lean in.
Let’s also hope that it ends up being a calm time for us. Last week was enough for a while!!