Friday, January 7, 2011

Ba Humbug! And Guilt.

This was the way I felt throughout most of the Christmas season.  Unfortunately, I never did get into the Christmas spirit.  A lot of it was stuff that I had going on and didn't want to talk about and part of it was the fact that I was stressed to the max working to achieve 'the perfect Christmas.'

Seriously, my Christmas tree sat in my house for days without me so much as looking at it.  And, the only reason I did finally decorate it was because Chuck was going to if I didn't.  Don't get me wrong, I love him to death.  Really, I do.  But, decorating is NOT his strong suit.  Which means that the only reason I decorated the tree is so that it would look okay.  Terrible, I know.  But, I didn't really want the tree once we got it, and then I REALLY didn't want it to be in my house decorated by anyone but me.

And, the outside of our house?  Well, Chuck handled it.  And, he did a good job with it... minus fluffing the bows, and they needed fluffing!  But I just couldn't bring myself to get out there and fluff them or the artificial trees that sat by our front door.  Or the wreaths, either.  The mailbox decorations even fell halfway off and I left it hanging.  I don't know who finally fixed it, maybe the mailman or a perfectionist neighbor, maybe even Chuck, but not me.

And, gifts... oh, the gifts.  I struggled in that department as well.  I spent less than I usually do, which was a good thing.  But, I wasn't happy with the gifts I chose for my family.  I felt that I didn't put in the thought that they all deserved.  And, I was up late Christmas Eve wrapping because I didn't care anything about it.  I didn't do bows, which I usually love.

I felt terrible throughout the entire Christmas season because Chuck and Emma were into it.  And the more I tried to just let go of all the pressures the more they got to me.  It was such a vicious cycle that the worse I felt, the worse I kept feeling.

I did finally find a glimmer of joy Christmas morning while I watched Emma's face.  Too bad it was clouded with the guilt I felt for being anything but chipper about the holidays.

Then, as we rushed around getting ready to go to my Grandmother's house for lunch, Emma played on my bed.  And, as she was playing, I was watching her while putting on my make-up.  I saw it happening, but couldn't stop it.  She was trying to stand up on my bed and her feet were tangled in the covers.  She fell and I lunged for her.  But it was too late.  She hit the floor, head first.  My heart stopped.  She screamed.  I gathered her up in my arms and hugged and kissed her as I checked her out and cried.  All I could think about were the stories I have heard about kids her age having falls that seemed minor, but resulted in MAJOR head trauma.  However, there wasn't so much as a red spot to be seen on her.  And, silently I thanked God for that, all the while asking for forgiveness for being so crabby.

Emma stopped crying for the most part, but wouldn't let me put her down.  She became hysterical if I so much as tried.  Because I needed to get ready, I took her in the bathroom, sat down in the floor and sat her in my lap.  I was drying my hair.  I let the air hit her hair and it blew it in all directions.  But, mostly, it moved it away from her ear.  I saw it then.  There was the beginnings of a bruise on the top of her ear.  I didn't even know that you could bruise the top of your ear!  I showed it to Chuck and he commented on how bad he felt.

Seconds after that, it started.  Blood came flowing out of her ear.  I couldn't help it.  I freaked out, started screaming at Chuck to look, even though he was just a few feet away.  He said we had to go to the ER and my heart sank.  I jumped up out of the floor, scaring Emma and causing her to cry, and got dressed in seconds.  I was dressed, had gathered up Emma's things and had her loaded in the car before Chuck could get dressed.

We darted to the ER, me crying and panicking all the way.  Chuck let me and Emma out at the front door and went to park.  I could see it all over the nurses faces as we walked in... another over-protective parent bringing in their child for a fever/cough/cold/etc.

They definitely weren't expecting what came out of my mouth.  I told them that Emma fell off the bed and had blood coming from her ear.  In those next fractions of fractions of a second, everyone's demeanor changed.  The room filled with tension and seriousness that I have never experienced and hope to never experience again.  The nurse at the desk yelled to the other nurses, "Major Trauma Stat!"

 If it were possible for me to become more of a basket case, well, I did.  The nurse was about to take Emma from me and head to the back while the nurse up front was getting our information.  She asked for our address and I couldn't even answer.  I let Chuck take over and headed to the back with Emma.

The nurses came in and got her vitals and the doctor soon followed.  I relived the incident each time I told a nurse or doctor why we were there.  They checked her eyes, which were fine, then her ears.  Both eardrums looked perfectly normal, yet there was the blood that we couldn't explain.  The doctor ordered a CT scan and as we waited for that, Emma started dozing off in my arms.  It made both me and Chuck uneasy, so we kept her awake until we could get a nurse back in there.  She told us that it was okay for her to nod off, but to wake her periodically.

We were finally called back for the CT scan, and being pregnant, I couldn't stay with her.  Chuck was with her the whole time and I stood outside and watched the computer screens as they displayed images of my baby's brain.  I know nothing about CT scans or how to read them, but my instincts told me that the images I saw were normal.  Why?  I don't know, but as I looked at her scans on the screen, nothing seemed to stand out as different from one side to the other... everything looked symmetrical.  All I could do was hope and pray that my instincts were right.

After her CT scan, I carried her back to the room and waited.  Luckily, there wasn't much activity going on in the ER that morning and it didn't take long to get the results.  They came back clear, no sign of trauma whatsoever.  After a little more fussing over her, the doctor said that the blood, more than likely, came from a cut in her ear... She has tubes, so that is probably what cut the inside of her ear.  They brought her release papers and we were then able to go home.

As much as I was so thankful that we were able to go home, I was scared.  What if something happened after we left?  What if the doctor missed something?  What if she fell asleep for a nap and never woke up again?  What if she fell and just barely bumped her head and that caused something to happen that wouldn't have before the fall.

I spent the rest of Christmas day and the following days uneasy.  I was worried about Emma, I couldn't sleep, I felt so guilty.  Maybe if I had been more excited about Christmas this wouldn't have happened.

I guess I have still been feeling guilty about the whole incident because as much a I didn't want the decorations in my house, and couldn't wait to take them down, I left them up.  They were up until today.  I couldn't bring myself to take them down.  Emma has enjoyed the decorations since they first went up and I guess I felt like I owed it to her to leave them.  Even though the ornaments were falling off the tree because it had become limp, I left it.

And, now that the decorations are down, and Emma hasn't had the slightest bit of trouble since her fall, maybe I can begin to let it go and forgive myself.  I don't know how parents get through major accidents involving their children, even when there was no way they could have prevented it.  I can't imagine what they feel, and my heart goes out to them.

My heart still breaks and guilt still tries to take over when I think about Emma falling off the bed.  She brings me her baby dolls and tells me they bumped their head.  I even over hear her talking to them, comforting them, after they have 'bumped their heads.'  It seems to be the going theme around our house.

I have to admit, though, that I hope this theme  passes quickly.  It is a reminder of a piece of Christmas that I would like to put behind us.  I know that accidents happen, but I still can't completely let go of the fact that she fell and I couldn't get to her in time.

I am working on forgiving myself.  Luckily, she has already forgiven me, or maybe she never felt the need to forgive me.  I don't know.  Either way, she is still the sweet, loving child that she has always been with me.  She never turned me away and actually asked for me for comfort through the whole ordeal, so maybe I should take that as my sign to let it go.

Like I said, I'm working on it...

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