Warning: Usually my posts are pretty upbeat. I like to think I don't usually post downers. But this time I just can't help it. If you checked in with my blog to get a little pick me up during your day then I'm sorry. Usually I can deliver. Not this time.
I'm going to post this in parts. Not because I enjoy leaving people in suspense but because I think if I don't post the part I have written I'll never finish it. Then this post will join others in the "forgotten and never-to-be-posted" blog graveyard. I will finish it. It's hard to write. It makes me sad and embarrassed. I will write and post it in stages.
Mothers out there, ever had that moment when you question your very ability to parent. When you wonder if somehow God made a mistake and you weren't actually meant to be a mother. When you're so mortified with yourself that all you can do is think, "Oh my God how am I going to look anyone in face?", "How am I going to look my kid in the face?", "How am I going to look at myself in the mirror?".
I managed to make it through 8 weeks fighting pre-term labor, almost 3 weeks in the NICU, a month at home with "preemies" who weren't supposed to leave the house because of their "fragile" health, 2 months giving my daughter caffeine medicine so her heart wouldn't forget to beat, and an entire year of caring for TWO infants without having that moment: "Oh my God how am I going to look anyone in the face?".
Wednesday I was holding Lola on my left hip and reached down to pick up Jackson. I have performed this feat, so familiar to twin moms, 20 times a day since the kids were holding up their heads. And so I thought nothing of it. I firmly held my squirming Lola and reached down to get Jackson out of his new Red Flyer wagon. I balanced Lola with my left arm and grabbed Jack under his right shoulder. I've done this a thousand times. And so I did it with confidence. Confidence that disappeared in a puff of anxiety as I heard his right elbow pop.
It was anxiety, not panic, which I felt first. I am experienced with injury. I taught gymnastics for over 6 years. I participated in competitive gymnastics for almost 15 years. I know what to look for when I hear something pop. Is there any immediate swelling? Can the child grab my hand? Is the child voluntarily moving his arm?
I know what to look for when I hear something pop in SOMEONE ELSE'S KID'S ARM. This wasn't someone else's kid. This was my kid. And his arm didn't pop while tumbling or when he fell off the balance beam. His elbow didn't pop when he fell while climbing his changing table or running while carrying a ball. His elbow popped when I picked him up. I did it. I made my kid's elbow pop.
And now he is crying. He's crying and crying and crying. Ok, but I'm used to that. Jackson cries when I say "No, don't take Lola's toy." He cries when he falls, which happens daily. He cries when he doesn't want to take a nap. "So just calmly check it out," I tell myself. "Check out Jackson's elbow and see if there's any swelling, if he will grab my hand, if he is voluntarily moving his arm." But he is crying because of something I did to him. I did this to him. The anxiety increases and panic starts to set in.
"Please don't have to go to the doctor, please don't have to go to the doctor," over and over again I think.
There's no immediate swelling, he is moving his arm but only a little bit. I put him down and offer him my cell phone on is right side. He reaches with his far left arm, not his right. He puts his right hand on the ground to begin crawling and winces. Then cries. Crap, now I have to call the doctor. "How am I ever going to look the doctor in the face again?" I think as I dial the familiar number.
When I explain to the receptionist what happened I don't get a nurse but the doctor on the phone immediately. He explains that it could be "Nursemaids Elbow," a common injury in which the the tendon slips to the wrong side of the bone. Not a really big deal, he tells me, but he needs to be seen. The doc could do it but the office is almost closed and he can't stick around today. So I'm going to need to take him to Children's Hospital. WHAT!?! The hospital. The EMERGENCY ROOM! Oh my god, I've hurt my child and now I have to take him to the emergency room. I felt so incredibly low. This is precisely what I'm supposed to prevent. My heart sunk. I called Aaron and as soon as he answered I burst into hysterical tears.
********* I assure everyone out there in blog-land that Jackson is fine. There is no lasting problem with his arm. I was and continue to be far more scarred by this experience than Jackson. I'm going to stop here and post the rest another day. Hopefully tomorrow. Please pardon the interruption. ***********