Last week we had our first real blood-gushing injury. Here’s how it happened:
Scene: playgroup at a friend’s house, waiting for our kindermusic lesson to begin
There are about ten babies scattered around Kari’s living room, playing, exploring, and “sharing” toys while mamas and nannies chat. The home has a wide entry with a wood floor that transitions to carpet in the living areas. I am busy doing something, talking or watching another baby, I have no idea now, I just know that I did not have eyes on Baby Girl when it happened. I hear a huge slapping sound, a collective gasp from the other moms, and whirl around just as my sweet daughter starts screaming. She is splayed out on the wood floor, having tripped on the edge while going from the carpet to the wood. Her arms are out in front of her, and I quickly deduce that he slapping sound was her hands hitting the floor as she tried to catch herself. I scoop her up and she buries her head in my neck, wailing. Now Sweetness is a bit of a drama queen, so I figure she’s just putting on a bit of a show and will calm down in a few seconds. That’s when she lifts her head and someone exclaims, “Oh, we have blood.” I look down and sure enough, blood is streaming down my sweet baby’s face. I freeze. I don’t know what to do. I can’t tell exactly what’s bleeding, because the whole bottom part of her face is covered in blood. In a daze I walk toward the kitchen, with some vague notion of washing off her face. Suddenly Kari is at my elbow, pressing a wet washcloth into my hand. I dab it gently across Baby Girl’s face, trying to be a careful as I can. Naturally she’s still crying and tries pushing my hand away. I look carefully at her mouth, visions of split lips and cracked teeth swimming around in my head, but thankfully the blood seems to be confined to her nose. Kari takes the washcloth from me and gently wipes the blood from my chin and neck. I didn’t even realize that I was covered in blood too from where Sweetness pressed against me for comfort.
It feels like someone else is speaking as I say, “Let’s go into the other room and rest for a minute,” sinking down on the couch and holding the washcloth to Charlotte’s face. I see that the washcloth is red, and am glad that we didn’t ruin it. Another mom, Heather, comes and sits beside me, offering comforting words and helping me clean the rest of Charlotte’s blood from my face. At least the shirt I’m wearing is pink, so the stains don’t show too badly. By now Baby Girl is calm, watching the other babies play. Kari comes up with some gauze that she’s cut into tiny pieces, and I carefully stick it up Charlotte’s nose, cleaning out the rest of the blood. I see that the bleeding has stopped. I try to leave a piece of gauze in her nose, but she’ll have none of it. She bats my hand away and slides off my lap, eager to get back to playing. I watch in amazement as she toddles off and scoops up a toy, babbling happily. I shake my head. She’s fine. I feel like I need several minutes of meditation and breathing exercises to move my heart out of my throat and back down to my chest. Tiffany and Emily congratulate me on surviving the incident and staying so calm. I don’t feel calm. I feel like I’m in shock. Watching Sweetness playing and squealing, back to her old self, does much to restore my peace of mind and I’m able to relax. I think the whole incident took about ten minutes from start to finish, but I feel like days have gone by. We stay for the music lesson, which Charlotte absolutely loves. She sings and dances and claps, and I sing and dance and clap too, the earlier trauma already a distant memory.
I am so thankful that the accident happened at playgroup, that we were surrounded by other moms who reacted quickly. If I’d been alone I don’t know what I would have done. Their support, both practical and emotional, made the experience much less traumatic for both of us.
I am so very grateful for this community of moms. I think this lesson translates to all areas of motherhood…sleep habits, eating, discipline, tantrums…all trials that are lessened by the presence of of women who are going through the same things. Ecclesiastes 4:10 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down his friend can help him up, but pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” We are not supposed to go through these trying times alone. God has given us each other, to walk beside us, to encourage us, to just be there so we are not alone. If you are a mom and don’t have a support system of other moms, go find one! Join a playgroup, or better yet, a MOPS group. Find a Bible study or community group with other moms. When you pass another mom in your neighborhood while taking your baby for a walk stop, turn around, and introduce yourself. Ask if you can walk together. If you are wondering how you can serve God in this very stressful and time consuming season of life, that’s the answer. Love and let yourself be loved by other women who are in the same boat. The Lord created us to live in community. We need each other, as I was vividly reminded through Charlotte’s accident. God was right there with us, and the women surrounding us were His hands and feet.