Caution: Falling Babies

17 May

Last Friday I experienced the scariest moment of my life. Finn had been dribbling all over himself, as usual (we just realized he’s teething. He’s been doing it for weeks but we just now picked up the baby books and found out what all that weird behavior was) so I took him upstairs to change him into a new cute outfit. I remember telling one of our friends here before Finn was born that I was going to totally love dressing Finn in all his adorable outfits and would probably change him just for fun. Conveniently, the fact that he’s drooling approximately 8.5 ounces of drool per minute means I have reason to do just that very thing.

Anyways, back to the scariness. So after getting him into his favorite little dinosaur outfit, courtesy of Auntie Laura, I scooped him up and started down the stairs. Okay, if you know me and stairs, you know where this is going. I don’t remember what exactly happened, I just know that all of the sudden, instead of being upright, I was slamming down on my back and had the split-second realization that Finn was no longer in my arms. Worst. Feeling. Ever. Just as I felt my back hit the step, I heard Finn hit the tile landing (one step down) with the most awful smacking sound. I honestly don’t remember seeing him or picking him up. The next thing I knew I was cradling him and screaming like there was an axe-murderer after me and watching the side of his head swell up. I ran him down to the couch and ripped off his clothes to check him all over, but it looked like he had landed only on his head. He was screaming hysterically in that “why have you betrayed me?” way while I called Patrick’s phone and screamed hysterically in that ‘I’ve broken my child” way. He was home in a flash and walked in to a scene of tears, noise, and general chaos. We called the doctor, who told us what to do and what warning signs to look out for. Man, were we lucky. Despite the awful smacking sound that replayed over and over in my mind for the next few days, Finn was totally fine. After about an hour of screaming, he nursed and was back to smiling at invisible people and trying to shove his entire fist in his mouth. Resilient little critter, he is.

I, on the other hand, was physically and emotionally scarred for life. Well, it felt like it anyway. After Finn was okay and my shock had worn off, I realized that I couldn’t bend, lift, twist, or do anything really that involved using my back, or the black and blue slab of flesh that used to be my back anyway. Crap. So I’ve been seeing this physical therapist down the road. Inga is Dutch and has the strongest hands in the world. Seriously. The first time I went, she did pressure point massage and at the end of it I winced and wobbled out of the office with small thumb-shaped bruises all over me. But slowly my back is starting to feel better and I’ve stopped offending Finn by groaning everytime I pick him up. (Let me just say though, if you have six chins and thighs that look like cookie dough, you have no grounds for offense).

So I was going to write a Mother’s Day post on Sunday, it being my first Mother’s Day and all. But I was feeling like a terrible mother and just moped around feeling ashamed of myself. Everytime I started to write, it was about feeling guilty for not hanging on to him when I fell, or it bleakly listed the things I had learned, like that kids are breakable and I can’t always protect them, etc. Very maudlin stuff. I decided to forgo the blog post and cool off for a bit. Now that Finn is showing no signs of lasting trauma, I’m breathing a little easier. I’ve warned Patrick that we can never tell our child that he was dropped on his head as a baby. I’m sure it’ll get back to him eventually though.


9 Responses to “Caution: Falling Babies”

  1. Nancy May 17, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    Oh, Melissa! I’m so sorry that happened to you.

    I once dropped my little sister on her head. She just kind of popped out of my arms and landed *konk* on the ground. We were walking on a gravel path and she fell on a particularly angular stone I guess and cut her head open.

    I picked her up and ran to my mom, tears, blood, dirt. Yeah…

    She turned out okay, I think.

    Okay, and one more story, not to brag or compare, but perhaps make you feel better…knowing that you’re not the only one.

    So, I was staying at my cousin’s house in California. How long ago was it…like 3 years, I think…and her youngest was just a brand new baby.

    It happened to be a particularly hard night for their family so she ended up in bed with their son, and her husband was sleeping in the living room on a chair with the baby on his chest.

    Early in the morning an earthquake struck and although it wasn’t a terribly huge earthquake, the epicenter was in their neighborhood.

    The house started shaking, things falling off the shelf…you know, like how things do in an earthquake.

    So Jim, the husband, leaps off of the chair to check on his wife and children, completely forgetting that the baby was on his chest.

    He ran into the bedroom to find my cousin, trying to keep a hold of her son, still in bed.

    “Get in the doorway, now!” he yelled.

    My cousin looked at him with murder in her eyes,


    That’s when he remembered that he had had the baby…

    She had landed (on a cushion, thankfully) between the couch and the rocking chair…

    So anyway, my point–don’t feel bad 🙂 It happens to everyone.

  2. tracy m May 17, 2008 at 5:53 pm #

    Oh, wow- I know how scary that is. The feeling of losing your footing and your baby- crap. I know.

    I fell down our stairs holding Abby last year. My knee is still jacked up, but she, mercifully, is fine. Same thing- her head hit the floor, and I came tumbling after- and all I could think of was her. She had a nasty lump on her noggin, and we both cried quite a bit- but it wasn’t until later, when she was happy agian, that I noticed my knee was no longer functioning as a joint.

    One thing I did learn, from Jeffrey, my oldest, was that head bonks in little kids almost always look worse than they are. Thier little noodles are amazingly resilient and plastic. Good thing, too!

    I hope your back feels better and the Sweedish Thumbs work some major magic. Glad Finn’s OK. Stairs might be scary for a while now- they still are for me!

  3. Robann May 18, 2008 at 7:37 pm #

    So glad you are both okay!! Reading about it brought back an amusing memory of Dan dropping Carrie when she was quite young. We were at the Shoe Carnival and I was a few rows over and suddenly heard Carrie screaming. I went back to find Dan holding her with a sheepish grin on his face. I jokingly asked him, “What did you do? Drop the baby?” And he quietly replied, “Yes.”

    I have always felt that is a true blessing that our little ones are made of rubber.

    Keep up the good work, you are doing a GREAT job!!

  4. Ben May 19, 2008 at 3:05 am #

    Wow, that earthquake story is classic!

    My dad (or was it Mom?) had a traumatic experience with my brother Andy in the men’s room one day. He had set Andy down (a toddler at the time) on the counter and turned to get a paper towel or something, just as Andy was reaching and leaning to be picked up again. Andy fell off and smacked his forehead on the hard floor. Big ouch! But Andy continued on to be a star student, singer, missionary, Master of Engineering . . .

    Adorable pix of Finn! I hope to see you guys somewhere this summer!

  5. Javi (not the brother) May 19, 2008 at 4:28 am #

    I was dropped as a child.

    (Go ahead and insert your own joke here. Many people do.)

    I didn’t find out about it until three years ago after I graduated. I was about to get on my own insurance plan and my mom took me in for an exam. They were gonna do an X-ray and the doctor was wondering if there’s anything they should look for and my Mom confessed a story she hadn’t told in a LONG LONG time.

    Out at some restaurant my Mom tried to put me on a baby roller and I slipped and fell on the floor, head first. She panicked and immediately called the doctor. As soon as he found out that I’d been crying the whole time and hadn’t lost consciousness, he told he I’d be ok. I was checked soon after and there was nothing wrong.

    I was less than 30 days old. Doctors everywhere say babies are pretty resilient. And my parents learned the hard way.

    It happens to everybody. You can’t encase you’re child, at any age, into some plastic bubble. Stuff’s gonna happen. All you can do is pray that Finn stays healthy. Inshalla.

  6. Melissa DM May 19, 2008 at 12:16 pm #

    All these stories are strangely reassuring to me. It’s nice to know that kids all over the world have been dropped on their heads and turned out fine.

    Inshallah he doesn’t cut his own finger off and have to have it reattached, right Javi?

  7. mom May 19, 2008 at 10:49 pm #

    Ok! OK! I confess: I NEVER dropped you or Javy on your heads. Maybe I should have. Maybe dropping kids on their heads rattles the brain cells that reminds them to visit their mothers often when they grow up (Javy!) and reminds them that grandmothers REALLY like having their grandchildren living in the same country as their grandmas (Melissa!).

  8. Javi (not the brother) May 20, 2008 at 6:31 am #

    Can’t believe you remember that story. I had the biggest smile on my face when I read that. I’m glad everything’s ok.

  9. Uncle Matt May 20, 2008 at 10:15 pm #

    It may be a little late to point this out. But sending out a BLOG POST about the incident is possibly not the best way to keep the kid from knowing about it!!!

    Kids these days with their fancy technology . . . . .

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