A First

December 30, 2011

Every mom has had one.

That scary moment, where your child is in danger and you don’t think. You couldn’t think, even if you tried. You just react.

I had this happen to me last night, at the close of the wedding reception. I didn’t want to taint my “wedding” post with the details, so I separated it out.

We waited until the last possible moment to leave the reception, around 9pm to be exact. G was a mess, having not napped at ALL the entire day. I was exhausted, having done a ton of standing, walking, climbing (the hill, for pictures) and chasing after G around the 4 floors of the reception hall. I was having a ton of Braxton Hicks contractions, even while sitting down. Some were really starting to hurt!

Long story short, we were all ready to go home, and not necessarily thinking too clearly!

Jesse went to grab our stuff from our table. He noticed a half-full wine bottle and, knowing the wait-staff would probably just toss it, decided to take it home with us. He put it into the diaper bag.

5 minutes later, we were outside the door of the reception, at the top of two very long flights of stairs. All of a sudden, he noticed that the diaper bag was dripping. He put G down (or let go of his hand? can’t remember), and opened the bag to investigate. Drat! The wine bottle top wasn’t on all the way. It had spilled out over everything in the diaper bag.

I reached over to help Jesse.

And then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw G. At the top of this very long flight of stairs. No hand on anything. About to step off.

Rewind: G has learned how to climb stairs whilst standing, but has definitely not learned to go down them. He doesn’t bend– he just locks his knees and goes headfirst forward. We’ve had quite a few tumbles, even on the 6 inch step into our bedroom.

My heart stopped. A jolt of something went through my system. I’ve never felt such a rush before in my entire life. I screamed. I leapt forward, covering the five feet between us in half a second. I reached G just as his little foot was suspended, mid-air.

I grabbed G, just as he was about to topple head first.

Here ends the super-human-mom-effort.

I had many factors working against me, such as being extremely front-heavy, being particularly clumsy, and being completely exhausted from the long long day.

So, instead of stopping at the top of the stairs with G safely in my arms, I kept going.

Jesse says that it looked like I tried to throw G behind me as I fell down the stairs. It’s true that he ended up at least 4 stairs above me, although I was still holding one of his hands.

All I remember is falling and falling and sliding on my back, trying to stop myself with my right hand.

An older gentleman and his wife were standing right there when it all happened. They ran down to us, along with Jesse. Jesse could see that G was screaming and trying to get up, possibly meaning he could fall again, so he grabbed him and took him back up the stairs. The couple helped me up, frightened, asking me if I was okay. Apparently, I had fallen at least 15 steps down!

I was shaking, I was so pumped. Seriously, mommy-adrenaline, there’s nothing like it.

They asked if I was hurt.

I replied honestly that I didn’t think so. I couldn’t feel a thing. I hardly heard their questions. All I could hear was Gregory screaming (Jesse reports that he just sounded like he usually does after a tumble or someone scolds him). The old couple continued to talk to me, making sure I was okay.

I took 2 minutes to calm myself down, as Jesse has told me many times that I make G more scared by my reaction to things. When I felt like I was in control, I went back up the stairs. G was still crying, although his sobs were subsiding.

Then, I noticed that his little nose was bleeding. That nearly pushed me over the edge– I’ve lost it over accidentally nipping him when I cut his nails.

We went down the stairs (all of them, this time!) to the bathroom where Jesse took him into the men’s room to wash off his nose. I was by myself. I didn’t know what to do or what to think. They probably call this shock? I realized that I was once again holding my purse. Funny, I didn’t remember dropping it before I sprang to G, and I didn’t remember picking it back up again afterwards.

The lovely newlyweds suddenly came out the door and went to the steps to their getaway car. Jesse came out of the bathroom with G, who was finished crying. We stood outside and waved goodbye. All of a sudden, I really just wanted to hold G more than anything. I asked Jesse if I could, but he quietly responded, “I really need to hold him too”.

We piled into the car and drove away. All of a sudden, my processing began. The what-ifs, the flashback to that moment, the guilt over wishing I could’ve done better.

It wasn’t until we’d been on the road for about 15 minutes that I realized my entire right side/hip was aching. I couldn’t open or close my right hand. My right ankle hurt too.

But after a bit of talking about the whole thing, we were all able to get a good night’s sleep. I woke up, sore as all get out, but completely functional. My hand feels stiff, but fine. Gregory has acted completely normal all day.

Jesse and I aren’t at the place where we can laugh about it yet, but we are starting to make jokes. When Gregory was a crab as we got ready to pack up and go home, we kept saying, “be careful G, or momma might throw you down the stairs!” It might seem morbid– it’s our way of coping with what could’ve been tragic.

As far as Baby SnowCone, he’s doing fiiiinnnne. Super active all day, as always. I actually saw my entire belly moving today during one of his kicking sprees. This is one STRONG kid! I am, however, going to call my midwife tomorrow and let her know what happened, just in case she wants me to come in for a check-up.

So, praise God, no one was permanently/seriously harmed.

And, I’m thankful for one thing in particular. In emergency situations, I always always freeze. Cover my eyes. Scream unhelpful things.

But I didn’t even have to think about what to do. I reacted so quickly, I’m almost in awe. Apparently, when it comes to G, I’m hard-wired to protect him. I’m kind of relieved for such undeniable confirmation, honestly!

4 Responses to “A First”

  1. Beth said

    It’s amazing what you can do for your kids. I’m usually NOT calm in an emergency, but anytime it comes to my kids I’m all-business and then I panic and freak out when it’s all over.

    When Jackson choked this fall and we had to call 911, I remember being so terrified, but completely focused. My mind was just racing, saying “It’s been too long. He’s losing color. The maneuver isn’t working. Start CPR now.” Just really mechanical, and almost detached even. It was like part of me was screaming and wanting to just crumple, but I just shut it out. Then when I knew he was going to be okay I freaked.

    So glad that G is fine and SnowCone seemed to appreciate the rush too :) And yes, you’re hard-wired to protect them both, so you can rest assured that you can trust your instincts in those horrifying situations. And that moment you described when both you and Jesse couldn’t bear to be away from him, was one of the sweetest things I’ve ever read. I know that feeling.

  2. Wow… I’m so glad that everyone is okay! It’s very sweet that it brought you all closer instead of people trying to assign blame, etc. I think that says a lot about what kind of family you guys are!

  3. Elise said

    I was terrified through this entire post that something worse had happened to you than you let on when we said goodbye. You are a fantastic mother and a faithful friend and I am so thankful for everything that you, your wonderful husband, and your darling little boy did (and put up with) for Z and me on our wedding day. Love you always.

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