And I feel like everything has changed.
Let’s back up.
We’re tired guys. I know that’s the most obvious statement a parent can make, but we’re really, really tired. We’re working literally around the clock getting the house ready, taking care of charlie, doing the work we GET PAID for, Chief is finishing up school-it’s the most we’ve ever busted our asses ever. And to top it off, last night there were tornado warnings and I wasn’t going to go to sleep until the storms settled down. I was afraid if I did we might miss the notification to take our tornado precautions. So I was up until 1:00 am anyway.
This morning Charlie woke up around 7:00 am like she normally does. We usually sit and cuddle and play in bed for about 15 minutes. It gives me a chance to wake up and she seems to enjoy it. This morning though, I must have been so tired that I dozed back off. Until I heard a sickening thump followed by frantic sobbing.
I’ve never gotten out of bed so fast in my entire life. She had fallen off on Chief’s side and I found her flat on her back crying her head off. I scooped her up (which in hindsight, I should have checked her a bit more carefully before just picking her up like that) and immediately started running my hands over her body to check her. Arms working? Check. Collar bone ok? Check. Ribs seem good. Legs are okay. Finally, I ran my hands over and over and over again over her head. No lumps or bumps. I watched her for 15 minutes-no bruises or red marks. She calmed down after about a minute. It seemed like she was okay. I put a frustrating call into the after hours line at my doctors office where the lady did not want to send me over to the doctor because the office would be open in an hour. i’m sorry, if I’m willing to pay the $10.00 to talk to my doctor right now what does she care? I actually hung up on her. I don’t do stuff like that, but I was frustrated and frantic. I called when they were open and they took foooreeeever to call back. By the time they did I had already figured out that she was probably fine. In fact we were at Target shopping by then.
She never lost consciousness. She hasn’t thrown up. she DID take a two hour nap this morning which had me panicking. I actually checked to make sure she was breathing which I haven’t done since she was a newborn. I had to wake her up at two hours. I couldn’t take any more than that.
So she’s fine. I know it’s a thing that happens all. the. time. Babies fall. Mobile babies especially. Chief says I need to stop beating myself up about it, and that it probably won’t happen again because now I’ll be extra vigilant. We have a bed rail on my side and we could get one on his, but there’s no way to close in every edge of the bed and all the gaps that I know of.
We could stop letting her in our bed. She’s gone from being in bed with us for eight hours down to about three. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to get her to sleep in her bed the whole night.
I know in my head this isn’t a reflection of what kind of mother I am. Accidents happen. This won’t be the last time I make a mistake when it comes to my kid. By a long shot. In fact today, in addition to her falling off the bed I had to call poison control because she ate the head off of a match (she’s fine) and I fucked up her nap and she screamed and cried about it, then I accidentally woke her up when I tried to creep back in to turn on her sound machine because I forgot. I’m a big old mess today. And I’ll have other days like this.
And while my head fully understands this point, my heart does not. My heart feels like a negligent mother. My heart felt the judgement in the nurse’s voice on the phone, whether it was there or not. My heart couldn’t let me fess up to what happened to my mother when she called me today. My heart hurts because I let pain befall my child. My heart hurts because my child could have been seriously hurt. My child could have hit her head in such a way that it could have led to lasting damages. She could have hurt her neck in such a way that could have led to lasting damages, and far fetched though it may be, my heart can’t help but acknowledge that because of something I did today, my child could have died.
It took me that entire paragraph to work up the courage to type that last word. But it’s true. My child could have died today because I was tired. I was too tired to have my daughter in bed with me. I know the safe cosleeping guidelines, and I disregarded them today, and if something seriously bad had happened to my daughter it would have been my fault.
Tonight when Charlie wakes up around 4:00 am, I don’t know what I’ll do. Chief and I have been talking about it and he thinks it’s ok and that I won’t let it happen again, but I don’t trust myself anymore. Because I let this happen. I’m not beating myself up to be a martyr. I’m doing it to protect my daughter. I’m going to do my best to be cognizant enough to make a choice when Charlie wakes up tonight. I’m going to try to recognize in myself if I am too tired to let her get in bed with me. I’m going to try and trust myself to protect my child better than I protected her this morning.
And finally, I’m going to try and forgive myself, but honestly that’s what I’m having the hardest time with tonight.