***UPDATE: HERE is part one if you missed it.***
The stairs to our basement have always scared me.
We have a gate at the top and before any guest can finish their hello’s I am instructing them on the ins and outs of the gate and reminding them to make sure the gate remains closed at all times. Our Little Bean can crawl faster than Little Man can do his stiff leg run, safety first, right!?
My sister, the
sweet, sympathetic nurse, has often scoffed at my carefulness.
She laughed the first time (and each visit after) when I forced her son’s to learn the proper way to latch said gate; not just the top of the gate kids, the bottom too.
She would tell me I was way too protective and that kids get hurt. She knew Little Bean could navigate the stairs and didn’t understand the severity of my warnings.
I didn’t find this out until after the incident, but apparently, I was the only one to see that the danger was not in falling down, but falling off the stairs.
This was something we all had to learn first hand, the hardest way possible.
There is no good way to describe our stairs. It’s better to just see them. I will try to describe them, and I will attach a picture, for when my description becomes too confusing.
The floor of our kitchen extends to the other side of the house. There is a cut out where the stairs go down, but the floor/wall continues straight. Down at the bottom of the stairs is a load bearing post. This setup makes for a triangular shaped cutout to the side of our stairs. The railing that is there, runs along the wall, above the cutout, at a height meant for adults or older children.
There are no banisters below.
There are no railings for babies.
There is just space.
Space that I knew could be the most dangerous space in our home. More deadly than the cleaner cabinets I keep semi locked, the toilet lid that gets left open occasionally and the toy room scattered with Lego pieces.
After I hung up my phone, and sped up to 90 mph, I knew that what was to meet me in my home, was not going to be anything but extremely, horrifically, terrifyingly bad.
I sped through the streets, people honked and flipped me off. None of the sounds or signals affected me. Tears burned my eyes and ran down my cheeks. Nothing, not even red and blue flashing lights, was going to stop me from getting to my baby. At least that is what I thought…
As I neared my home, my neighbor called me again. She informed me that the paramedics were leaving.
They had no choice, they had to go now.
She told me that I needed to change my direction and head to the hospital.
I was furious! I was already past the hospital and not even a block from my house. I couldn’t let my baby go without me there. He needed me to hold his hand and calm him.
The actual truth is I needed to be with him, I needed him to calm me.
He and I weren’t together, he didn’t have his mommy, the one that has always kissed his owies better.
I wasn’t going to let it happen. I swerved into our neighborhood, pleading with my neighbor to stop them. I begged her to do anything.
Either she thought I had lost my mind and was terrified of me, or she knew the terror I was going through and didn’t know how to help. Her voice cracked as she told me they already left.
I threw my phone, it was worthless to me. My neighbor was worthless. My speeding was worthless. In that moment everything became worthless and my world started to turn black.
**Please know in that moment I hated any and everything. I hated the freaking steering wheel and the misplaced rock in the road.
I love my neighbor and thank my Heavenly Father every day for what she did for us. She took Little Man in, without shoes on, in his pajamas and made sure he saw little to nothing of the incident. She set up a makeshift “slumber party” for my son and hers, just to make him feel more adventurous and less scary.
I later learned a lot of other things she did. Like asking Little Man if he was comfortable talking to the police officers, and if he wanted her there or not. She also clarified to the officers, the whole story, after Little Man insisted that Daddy pushed Little Bean off the stairs (I’ll get to this funny little story later).
She then questioned Blushie to the point of interrogation when she came to pick up Little Man. I had asked Blushie to do this but forgot to tell the Neighbor about it. The things I have put this incredible woman through are enough to make me the worst neighbor ever!
And the things I have put Blushie through should make her hate me and never want to be friends with me (or really anyone ever again in her life. Think Kristoff in Frozen…I have ruined helping anyone for her.)***
My goodness I’m off topic…
I started down the street that connects to the street my house is on. I was so close. I could make it. My speeding wasn’t worthless. I was almost there. The black haze that had settled around me lifted a bit and I could see hope, the hope of being with my baby. Feeling comforted and helping to comfort him.
Then I saw those red and white flashing lights. Everything became so much more real. My heart sank and my stomach felt like a rock. I wanted to be in that ambulance. I wanted to be the one with my son. To hold him (or his hand) and speak softly, telling him it would be okay. I wanted to be hurt and take that away from my baby. I was so close, they had to let me in!
I grabbed my diaper bag and opened the door as I applied the brake, and semi pulled off the main road. I yanked my keys from the ignition before shifting gears or pulling up the e-brake.
I had to get into that vehicle.
I ran at the ambulance with my arms waving over my head. Tears and black mascara ran down my face, my diaper bag pulled halfway over my head flapped behind me and because it is so heavy knocked me forward a little more each time.
I was a sight to see.
I looked like an absolute crazy person.
In that moment I was. I had lost my mind and I really did not care, or even think about my actions right then and there.
The driver waved me off the road and swerved around me. That son-of-a-B*@&^!!!!!
I was infuriated. Didn’t he know I was above the law and the flashing red, white/blue lights?! My baby was in there, didn’t he care that I was dying not to be in there!?!
I ran back to my car, flipped it around, hit the sidewalk and perhaps some other things, I really don’t know. I was in the way of the firetruck, their lights flashing in my windows, sirens blaring through the closed doors. I sped after the ambulance only to be stopped at the red light they just went through.
I couldn’t go through it, the cars were coming too fast. How could they not know I needed to be behind that ambulance?! These heartless people, my baby was hurt, the world needed to stop for us.
As I sat there, waiting for the light and hating the driver of the ambulance with everything in me, it hit me.
It didn’t matter that I was dying out here, my son could be dying in there. That driver, the one that waved me aside before speeding around me, was saving my son’s life.
I couldn’t hate him.
I loved him.
So I decided to hate the stoplights instead.
Call it what you will, but I call it karma…
I got stopped at each and every light on the way to the hospital.
Blushie was talking me through my panic, unable to understand a single word I was spewing out of my mouth in between sobs. I became more and more hysterical with every red light.
If there was ever any question of how I would handle any situation similar to this, it was answered. I was a mess and absolutely incompetent at being a human being. I resorted to a primal instinct type function and somehow I made it to the hospital, after getting lost a time or two.
I slammed on the brakes in enough time that I didn’t hit the ambulance, or those unloading it, grabbed the keys from the ignition and ran towards the side door of the vehicle that my husband was emerging from.
His eyes were bright red. His face grey and his tone was flat and scared all at once. He helped me up the stairs and took my keys. All he could say was that he would move the car and be in soon. He knew I needed to be there, both for me and my son.
The first image of my baby will forever be burned into my mind. I walked into that ambulance not knowing what I was about to encounter. Not knowing how graphic it would or wouldn’t be.
I saw my baby lying on a stretcher strapped down at his head, chest and feet. He had a
neck brace on and there was blood pouring from his right ear. Tears filled his eyes as he went in and out of consciousness. He started crying again and said “Mama” over and over. He was pleading for me to pick him up. Begging me to kiss it and make it better like I had so many times before.
I thought back to the Medical Anatomy and Physiology (College level – yep I’m awesome) class I took in high school (see I was smart once upon a time ago…), I remembered hearing how head wounds bleed more, this calmed me when looking at the amount of blood coming from his little body.
Then I recalled some things that Nurse Sister once said and more about the teachings from my previous class.
I couldn’t ever remember any material for a test but sure, 10 years later I was remembering the entire syllabus.
I remembered that bleeding from the ear was never a good sign.
This made me hysterical again.
In less than two minutes, but what seemed like forever, the paramedics were finally wheeling my baby off the ambulance and into the hospital. We went into the same ER I had been so many times before. The same ER I swore I would never go to, after a Doctor there had disgustingly turned Little Bean and myself away for things he should not have.
Another story, another day.
I was sickened to be walking into this place, yet filled with joy that they could “fix” my baby and we could go on our merry way. I had white picket fences, bunny rabbits and rainbows in my head…I was in for a surprise.
On the way to the room I had to walk behind my son. I was met with stares that I couldn’t quite place.
Some seemed to be stares of judgement. “How could you do this“, or “How could you let this be done to your baby” their faces seemed to scream at me.
Some stares were sympathetic and heartbroken and some were the stone-cold-trained-for-this-occasion kind of faces.
Every face had a hint of something similar.
That look, that pitiful look, that said, “that baby is really hurt” was on each and every one of their faces.
I knew it was worse than what I was even looking at. I knew my white picket fences, bunny rabbits and rainbows were not going to happen.
He was hurt. He was hurt really bad.
They took us to a trauma room; before this incident I had no idea that there was a difference in this room and a regular ER room. Let me explain the differences that I noticed.
The ER rooms, usually stuffy and small could be placed easily inside of the trauma room,
maybe even two or three of them could fit. The ER rooms that had, in the past, seemed urgent and important, now seemed slow and laxi-dasical compared to the speed in which everyone was working, talking and moving in the Trauma room.
People moved around me in a blur as I stood lost and confused at the end of the giant stretcher containing my son. I tried holding myself together, that was an epic fail of an idea.
In the middle of the chaos a sweet someone in scrubs, nurse, doctor, I don’t know, told me I was welcome to “stand over there.”. “Over there” was next to Little Bean, and I was overjoyed. Scub person (I honestly don’t know if it was a guy or girl – due to my confusion and tears, not because of their femininity or masculinity) told me to hold his hand and talk to him.
He/She may as well have told me to solve the mysteries of life. I had no idea what to say to my son. No words would make this better. For the first (maybe second) time in my life, I had no words. I was silent – something many have offered to pay me to be and I had never been able to do it.
As the room moved around us, Little Bean and I locked eyes. He wanted me, he reached for me, as best he could with his neck brace and being tied to a bed. He whimpered, closed his eyes and then there was nothing coming from him.
Needless to say…I flipped out. I pleaded with the Doctor to help him, save him! Little bean opened his eyes and I realized he had just gone to sleep or passed out – he wasn’t dead.
I asked the Doctor if he was okay to sleep? I asked why I’ve been told it isn’t okay with head injury patients to fall asleep all my life but now he was telling me it was fine?
I also wondered why the Doctor was just standing at the head of the bed doing nothing? Was my son too far gone? Everyone else was running around, yelling across the room, putting in IV’s, getting supplies, etc., why wasn’t this guy moving?
After a few minutes, again it felt like days, I was told that Little Bean needed a CT scan. They wheeled him out and allowed me to follow.
Once we got to the room they took off his jammie pants, handed them to me, then cut off his shirt. I knew there was no way around this, but it was still really scary. A nurse tried handing me the shirt.
I remember looking at it like it was diseased. I wanted nothing to do with his blood soaked shirt. I hadn’t liked the shirt before it was stained with blood and memories of this night, why would I like it now?
I must have sat there for a while because the nurse pushed the shirt closer and asked if I wanted it. I shook my head, I couldn’t even fathom speaking words at this point.
Little Bean had his eyes closed and wasn’t moving. They told me that normally they need to sedate children but they couldn’t sedate him, not with his injuries and besides there wasn’t enough time. They hoped he would stay still, and figured he would since he was unconscious.
I was asked if I was pregnant, normally I would answer with a funny joke about I sure hope not, or it would be a birth control fail if so. This time I shook my head. Even if I had been, nothing would take me out of this room (sorry future babies – I would risk you to stay with my current kiddos). They allowed me to stay in the room, radiation apron adorned. I was allowed to hold his hand, but only to a certain point, apparently they didn’t need a CT of my hand.
Everyone left the room, situated themselves behind the glass and started the machine up.
I stared at my unconscious little boy and cried big silent tears. I begged with the Lord to save him, to let him be okay. I wasn’t strong and I certainly couldn’t be the kind of strong it takes to lose a child. I’m not an amazing person that can bounce back from that, you know that God, you do.
As soon as they had started the machine it stopped. A group of technicians, doctors and nurses once again flooded the room. In the confusion of it all, I heard someone say, “the Dad is outside.”
What a relief it was to see my husband there. He could fix this, he could be strong, he always is. He is our rock, I was so happy to see him.
Happiness in those moments, is always short lived.
Somewhere in the room, maybe it was in front of me, maybe it was directed to me or maybe it was said to another Doctor, I honestly cannot remember, I heard that the life flight team from Salt Lake would be here soon to take him.
I hadn’t even fathomed life flight. This hadn’t been brought up, it hadn’t been an option. Was it so bad that he had to be flown somewhere to be healed?
I wanted everything to stop so I could catch my breath. I wanted everything to go faster so he could get the help he needed as soon as possible, to prevent any further problems. I wanted so many opposite things that it made my head hurt.
Soldier looked at me while grabbing Little Bean’s hand. “You need to be with him. You fly with him, I will meet you there.”
The strength in that man saved me. Through his red rimmed eyes and tear stained cheeks he mustered up enough, well anything, to be strong and make a decision.
He handed me my phone, my sister voice greeted me. As she was talking I shouted after my husband that Little Bean needed a blessing (a blessing is an ordinance of my religion – LDS – if you have questions about it, let me know in the comments. I would be happy to share any and all info I can, or help you find someone better able to give you info.). Soldier said he would give him one at Primary Children’s Hospital when we landed. At least I think that is what he said.
My sister told me she would make the necessary calls and get my mom there and my grandma and grandpa there. She was throwing some things in the car and would head our way.
After a few steps she called back to inform me that my grandparents would not make it in time. She told me to ask someone there. Her words were lost on me. There was so much chaos surrounding me and inside my head. I’m glad she knows me so well, because after no response she told me to ask someone for a blessing, “just say he needs a blessing.”.
“He needs a blessing,” came tumbling out of my mouth and I hung up the phone.
No one heard me.
Little Bean had started screaming once more as he was poked and prodded.
Once we were back in the room the Doctor, yep the one standing at the head of the bed, told me what was going on. I didn’t hear a word of it. I just kept thinking that my son needed a blessing. Finally, I was able to form the words and spit them out of my mouth.
I don’t know what went through this man’s mind, he had been talking and I flat out interrupted him. He didn’t say anything but I noticed his eyes, his eyes were so kind and so full of empathy.
Finally he patted my arm and said, “don’t worry, Ill take care of it”.
He walked behind me and reappeared with another man in scrubs, I think he was a technician of some sort.
The young doctor reached into the pocket of his scrubs and pulled out the oil. Then the two men put their hands delicately on my son’s very damaged head, even hoovered over it at times and proceeded to administer a blessing.
As these two men started this blessing, I felt a bubble, or like I now describe it, a shield, come down around the four of us. It reminded me of Star Wars, movies I have never seen but have heard many descriptions of, when the invisible shield zaps together to protect the ship.
I could sense activity and noise around me, but I could only hear muffled sounds. I was no longer getting bumped on my arms or legs, as I knelled beside my son stroking his hand. I kept my eyes open, locked on Little Bean, he had stopped crying now, he was just looking at me mouthing, “mama”.
In those few sweet moments the world had stopped and it was just us, in a muffled bubbly shield.
However, nothing had actually stopped, the nurses and specialists kept moving around the room, everyone kept talking to one another, the two life flight teams were talking about their flight plans and patient care and the eyes that were out in the hallway continued to look in at us. The chaos was there, all around me, on the other side of the shield.
Once the blessing had been given and the noise started to once again surround us, I found something inside of me, something that knew, I could do this. Luckily I did, because shortly after, the man that had helped with the blessing, leaned over to me and said, “it’s up
to the pilot to let you go or not…”
Wait, what?! There was a possibility that I wasn’t going to be in that helicopter?!? Well they better strap me to the side because my husband already left and I wasn’t about to let my son go for a “joy ride” without me.
“…but the more calm you are the better the odds that you get to go.”
Okay, that made more sense. It would probably get a little tricky in the sky maneuvering a helicopter and taming a wild beast of a woman.
So I wiped my face, took a few deep breaths and bit my tongue. Not hard enough that it would make me cry, but enough that it kept my mind on that and not the “what if’s” of my baby’s situation.
The pilot’s of both air med helicopters walked over to me, just as I had pulled it together.
By pulling it together, I mean I was not hysterically sobbing at that time. I was still a hot mess mind you.
They both told me the procedure for the flight and asked if I was afraid of heights or if I was prone to motion sickness.
I knew that if I told them that I was a: terrified of heights and b: threw up with just the thought of motion, I wouldn’t have a prayer of going in that helicopter.
So I lied. I lied and I would do it again, it was worth it.
The pilots left my side and continued helping with the preparations of getting my son to a better equipped hospital. I held onto my Little Bean’s hand and said one last prayer for strength, courage and of course to not barf all over the inside of the Life Flight.
The pilot I would be flying with came over to me. He told me that I would walk out with him…
Um, excuse me? I would be walking with my son, thank you very much.
I kissed Little bean’s hand, the only part of his little body not wrapped up or strapped down. Then I walked away, leaving my heart in my Little Bean’s hand, my stomach plummeted to the ground and my feet felt like cement blocks.
It took all the strength and courage I could muster to walk away from my little boy, even knowing he would be behind me, and soon next to me.
This was one of the hardest moments in my life.