Friday, September 17, 2010

James's Big Adventure

Let me start by saying that I'm a terrible mother. I'm not trying to get you to make me feel better or convince me otherwise, I just feel horrible for what happened to James - even if it was two months ago now. When we lived in the apartment I often let the twins play on the bed in the extra bedroom. I know it already sounds like a bad idea but it was sunny in there and it was a different place than the living room that they well, lived in, so it improved their moods. I always made sure to check on them every few minutes. I knew James was getting more mobile - not crawling, just flipping over and rotating - though I still didn't think he'd be able to reach the edge of the bed without a lot of time on his hands. Well, on this particular day I was in the other room getting ready to pick up my mother-in-law at the airport when all of a sudden I heard a loud thud. I immediately knew what it was and went running. (Mark: REALLY? YOU WENT FOR A RUN INSTEAD OF CHECKING ON THE BABY?)

My heart melted when I saw him in the hospital with his bruise and those electrode things. The shirt he was wearing with the dog with the black eye was ironic.

James was at the foot of the bed, lying next to an office chair. He immediately started screaming. I comforted him and was surprised (and later, concerned) that he only cried for about a minute. I saw a bruise start to appear on his cheek below his left eye- I think from hitting the base of the office chair - so I put ice on it. I wasn't quite sure what to do. I started to call Kaiser but realized that it would take an advice nurse forever to get on the line with me, so I called 911. I said I wasn't sure if I needed assistance and asked if they provided medical advice. Stupid, I know, but what do you know - they do have an advice specialist on hand! The specialist said they could send an ambulance for James but I thought it sounded unnecessary since he seemed okay. And then as soon as I got off the phone James started to fall asleep in my arms. If you know James you know this is not typical behavior. This is a boy that fights every nap. So to see his eyes watch me and then roll back I was worried something was seriously wrong. I called 911 back as I yelled, "James! James!" and shook him gently to wake him. He woke up but did the same thing over and over again. I was terrified but tried to stay calm. The 911 operator stayed on the line with me until the EMTs arrived about 7 minutes later.

"See what you did to our son?"

Once the EMTs arrived James seemed to be back to normal - maybe it was because all these new things were happening around him. He passed their alertness tests, and I think they put a mask over his nose and mouth to test his oxygen levels. Since it was a two foot fall onto carpeting (they surveyed the scene of the crime) they thought he was fine, but I could have an ambulance take him to the hospital if I wanted. I did want because of James's unusual sleepy behavior which I described to them. They asked if he usually acts like his sister. I looked over at Julia who's usually all smiley trying to get attention but instead her big eyes silently surveyed the three EMTs. I told them not even his sister is acting like his sister. The EMTs (all male) essentially told the ambulance drivers (all women) that James was fine, but I added that he had tried to fall asleep in an odd manner. Because of his abnomal behavior they wanted to take him to Valley Medical Center instead of Kaiser (possibly because it was slightly closer). They put James in his car seat, his head protected by rolled up receiving blankets, and strapped the car seat to a gurney. I would have liked to have seen that part or taken a picture but at the time I had other concerns, like getting ready to get to the hospital as soon as possible, and hoping my little boy was okay.

Note the smiley faces the nurses put on his electrodes.

To our surprise, James's identification tag listed his name as "YYTwentyfive, Yankee." Apparently when babies are admitted without parents (even though the ambulance had his health insurance information) they admit them with pre-made identification bracelets.

The ambulance could only take one baby and of course I had Julia with me, too, so I prepared to take her with me to the hospital. At the same time my mother-n-law arrived from the airport in a taxi (and saw James being loaded into the ambulance) so she watched Julia while I met Mark at the hospital.

My heart melted when I saw James at the hospital. He was sitting up on a gurney with little electrodes all over his body, and of course a very visible bruise. He was surrounded by three attentive nurses he had charmed. They told me that they thought an MRI was unnecessary and that all their tests showed he was perfectly fine. He got a perfect score on the Pediatric Glasgow Coma Scale. (I never want to have another child have to be measured on a coma scale.) However, they still wanted him to stick around another 4-6 hours for observation. They told us they needed the bed he was in so we'd have to wait on the gurney in the hallway. It felt pretty ghetto not having a room in the hospital. We played games with James on the gurney. I sang songs he knew to make sure he reacted as normal. (And no, that reaction was not, "Crap, mom's singing again?") Mark reached into the diaper bag looking for formula and asked, "Is it all toys in here?" Indeed, I filled the bag with all of James's favorites... as well as formula and diapers.

James hangs out in his hospital room - oh wait, it's just a bed in the hallway.

The doctors thought James was fine and released him after only two hours. I still worried about him. Mark still tells me, "No droppies" when I'm with the babies. On a side note, I've been teaching the babies sign language since they were about three months old and when I make a sign I repeat the word for it three times. As a joke, Mark tried to teach the babies a new sign - he'd point to about the area below the eye on himself where James's bruise was and say, "Neglect." "Neglect." "Neglect."

You know James is feeling better when he wants to put his foot in his mouth

"Don't you know? A foot in the mouth is the best medicine, Mommy!"

Here's Mark's Buzz post about the ordeal:

Jul 24: Yesterday's "minor baby issue" turned out to be a 3 hour trip to the ER as well as Baby's First Ambulance Ride (TM). I wasn't at home to see it, but I'm told the EMTs put him in his car seat and then strapped that to a gurney before loading him in. Missed photo opportunity!

As Kathy discovered yesterday, one day babies stay where you put them and the next day they don't, and sometimes that means they unexpectedly make their way from "on the bed" to "off the bed." But I’ll skip over all the worrisome bits in the middle and jump to the end: James seems to be fine except for a rapidly vanishing bruise near his eye (possible photo caption: “You should see the other baby!”) and he left a wake of charmed nurses at the hospital.

Of course Kathy felt awful about what happened but everything turned out okay, and I’m pretty sure James already has no recollection of any of this, so I think we’re lucky. Fall’s well that ends well...


  1. Was a beautiful page. Thanks to the designers and managers.

  2. The comment above me is weird.

    You are NOT a bad mother, you're a fabulous mother.

    James is adorable when he puts his foot in his mouth.

    Mark's a meanie, even if his comments are kind of funny.

    P.S. You're a wonderful mother.

  3. First, you are not a terrible mother, but I know how you feel! Just hearing the "watch out for these symptoms of neurological damage" was scary enough. We brought Emilie to her 4 month appt with a bruise on her face from lunging at the table- always good to present a bruised child for a well-baby visit! Natascha

  4. Marianne, you're sweet. Thanks. :)
    I love when James puts his foot in his mouth, too (or more recently Julia's foot!). James gets camera shy when his foot actually makes it inside though.

    Natascha, I can totally sympathize. I was wary of him following asleep that night, too.

  5. I won't say which parent was present when Ari fell off the bed, but there was one there and it wasn't me... that said, he was fine, and lots of babies do fall. Sorry for your scary ordeal.

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