Thursday, October 14, 2010

A scary dose of reality

Today Matt & I experienced one of our first truly scary moments as parents. Chase fell off of our bed.

Matt was upstairs getting ready for work and I was downstairs before I got ready and so Chase was up with him. Matt needed to iron his pants and placed Chase in the middle of the bed for a moment while he ironed. He turned around for one brief second, and in that second, the now fully mobile baby made his way to the edge of the bed and toppled the several feet down.

I heard a loud crash followed by a heart wrenching scream and I ran up the stairs faster than I have ever moved in my life. Matt was already to Chase and holding him as the reality of what had happened unfolded in my mind. Chase was screaming and crying in a way I have never heard him scream and in that moment I felt like a helpless being, unable to do something immediate other than hold him, that would make him feel better.

We are extremely fortunate that he was not hurt. While I tried to calm him down, Matt called the doctors office to find out what we should do to make sure he was ok. He passed all the "tests" the nurse gave us to see if anything might be wrong and they told us to monitor him and call if anything was wrong.

I think in addition to having my heart break over seeing my baby in a potentially dangerous situation, it also broke my heart to see the instant feeling of guilt that came across Matt's face. I've said before that Matt is the most amazing dad I've ever met, and not surprisingly, he placed immediate blame for this accident on himself and it pained me to see how racked with pain he was.

Of course, it wasn't his fault but he couldn't see that. It could have easily happened to either of us. It's one of those things that makes you realize how quickly babies grow and change. It wasn't that long ago that Chase was a little lump that was swaddled and unable to move. Now he is near crawling and knows how to roll around.

I'm rambling and jumping around a bit in sharing this story. The emotions I felt this morning were similar - all over the place. I've known the protective instinct toward this child that took over my body the moment I found out I was expecting him - but there was never really a moment to this point that put it to a real true test. It also showed me that I can't protect Chase from every form of potential danger in this world. What happened today was an accident, plain & simple. Perhaps an avoidable accident, but we are human and parenthood didn't come with a handbook. We go with our gut instinct every day and hope that it will be enough. I also realize how different a person I am today than in the past. My pain is no longer derived from only within myself, but also from the pain that both Matt & Chase experience. When they hurt, I hurt.

At the end of the day, we are all ok. It probably isn't, in the grand scheme, as big of a deal as it felt to us this morning. Chase will never remember falling off the bed, though it is something that Matt & I will carry with us forever as one of our stumbles in parenthood. The point I suppose is, that we are all human. Mistakes happen. All we can do is love each other and hold on tight. Doesn't make parenthood any easier though, and I can tell you for certain that we will think twice next time before setting Chase down.

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