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THE HARDEST NIGHT

Posted on: Friday

A couple of nights ago Gaby and I were laying in bed, slumbering to the sounds of the Brooklyn streets drifting up through the cracked window.  One giant dog lay sprawled across our feet and one snoring baby girl had meticulously wedged herself in between us, one arm across her Mama's face and one foot jabbed into her Papa's ribcage.  We've been co-sleeping since Biet's birth, and are used to a full bed, so this scenario is one you might find in our house just about every night.  Biet loves sleeping next to us, and while we love it too, it is becoming a little uncomfortable as she get's bigger and stronger. We are working on transitioning her into her crib, but she usually still ends up in our bed sometime before the morning arrives. On this particular night, my little sleeping monkey turned and twisted and  pushed me further and further over until I was nearly falling off the bed. Not comfortable. Not fun. So I decided to stuff a few pillows in my place and sneak out to the living room to do a little writing.

Just as I was getting into my project I heard Biet mumbling in her sleep and moving in the bed, so I got up to go check on everyone.  I stepped into the room, moved in the dark towards the bed, and- thud. I saw the hazy shadow of my precious baby's tiny body roll over the edge of the bed and slam onto the wooden floor. My heart stopped beating. I couldn't breath. I lunged towards the bed and scooped her into my arms, just as a strained ear-piercing scream broke through the sleeping silence in the room.

My baby. I hoped and wished with all my might that it was just a little bump. Please let it be just a little bump. We recently switched to a low bed, so it couldn't be too bad, right? Wrong. I held my baby close as she struggled to breathe through her stinging screams, moved into the light, and assessed the damage. And that is when my eyes too filled with tears. Blood spatters covered her face. Deep purple lines, already bruising, marked the bridge of her nose, which was streaming blood from both sides. Both her top and bottom lips were split.  My whole body tensed in shock and panic and painful compassion. Her eyes pleaded for me to make it all stop- to let her go back to the peaceful sleep in which she had been engulfed just moments earlier.

But I could not take away the pain. Gaby ran to the store for some baby tylenol (which she had never needed before this point) and I tried to nurse her and hold her and rock her until she calmed. I stared at her beautiful wounded face and felt, along with a profound sense of protection for my baby girl, intense and overwhelming guilt. I was not supposed to see my baby's blood. Ever. It belonged inside her perfect body, not out. Why did I leave her on the bed? Why hadn't I realized that she was big enough now to roll over the pillows? How did I let this happen to my baby?

After an intense nursing session, her screams turned to sobs, then to low squeals, and finally to heavy breathing. She remained in a sleepless state of confusion for many hours, unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the throbbing pain. We took a few showers together. I cleaned her up a bit. We contemplated going to the ER, but decided it would be best to wait and see. Her body seemed fine, but her face was just smashed. It broke my heart. I ended up staying up the entire night watching my baby girl, crying with her, crying over her, staring at her when she slept, protecting her when she couldn't sleep, holding her close, and loving her. It was a rough night. Just as the sun was coming up through the living room windows I snapped these photos of her..



To add insult to injury, her second top tooth peeked through the next day (her 4th tooth so far), and she broke out in her first case of hives (not certain whether they're from overall injury-related bodily stress or a reaction to the organic chicken soup I made- we're being cautious with meat now, though), so she has been in an enormous amount of pain. It is so incredibly hard to see your little one suffering. I am trying not to beat myself up about her tumble off the bed. I know there has to be that first fall, sometime. I just wasn't ready for it yet. That night was the hardest night I've had since Biet's birth. I am trying to learn from it and to be a better Mother because of it.Biet is a trooper if I ever saw one. Hours later, she was laughing through her tiny busted lips. A day later, she was eating normally and smiling and healing. And 48 hours after the fall (and countless baths later), her face is completely healed and her good spirits restored. If I could bottle the healing power of babies, I would be a gazillionaire. No scarring, no long term damage, no bad feelings. My strong and feisty girl is back. Gosh I love her. This is how she exclusively sleeps now- behind the wooden bars of her crib. Safe and sound.






33 COMMENTS:

  1. what a resilient little girl. i can only imagine how you must have felt...but you are so right, the first fall has to happen sometime. glad you are both on the mend. :)

    www.wishdownawell.blogspot.com

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  2. oh, mama! I am so sorry you had to go through that because I know just how horrible it is!!!

    biet is a little trooper... and you are such a good mama.

    i am glad she is well now.

    xoxoxo
    Sarah

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  3. This exact same thing happened to my gf's little boy. She felt awful.
    Accidents happen and it is so not your fault.
    I co-slept until they could roll over and then was just too paranoid. She is so beautiful...{and resilient!}
    Hugs mama.

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  4. lindsay1:36:00 PM

    oh, you poor sweet mama! this post just brought me to tears! my little one is about the same age as biet and we're still co-sleeping and this is a major fear of mine. as a mother of a baby girl, i just completely and totally felt your horror and pain. i'm so happy your beautiful little girl has healed so quickly! you're an amazing mama!

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  5. Thank you all for these kind and caring comments! It's so wonderful to feel supported by other Mothers out there. It is times like this that I am so grateful for this whole blogging thing and the community of people that it brings together. And Biet- she is doing just wonderfully now. xx

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  6. Oh no! Poor little boo!

    I remember when I was about 4 years old and my brother was 1 or so, and he was behind the rocking chair (old fashioned type probably another reason why gliders are so popular now) and i jumped on it when he was behind it and the back leg of the rocking chair smacked him right in the head splitting open his lip and throwing him a good 2-3 feet...my mother was horrified! I never to this day heard her scream so loud! He was fine though, just some cuts and bruises.

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  7. i understand how you feel. my 10 month old daughter fell off the bed when she was almost 7 months old. it was friday the 13th, of all days. i don't know how it happened, since i stepped out of the room for a few minutes while she was napping on our bed. i heard her starting to wake up and just as i was walking into the hall towards my bedroom, i heard a blood curdling scream. when i saw that she wasn't on the bed, my heart sank. she was on the hardwood floor, between the nightstand and the bed, flat on her back. we decided not to take her to the er either. her pupils looked normal, there were no bumps..so a little bit of tylenol and tons of extra cuddles and kisses later and she was fine...thankfully.

    after that, she stayed in her crib...for a month. now she is back in our bed because she refuses to sleep alone (ahhhh!!) but we are doing things differently...set up wise.

    glad to hear biet is doing wonderfully now. :) baby's heal amazing-ly quick!

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  8. Oh my goodness Belle! I can just imagine the panic you must have felt! I am so afraid of the day my Little Man takes his first good tumble. I can not handle him being in pain of any sort. We co-sleep too, but he's not rolling over yet. Nevertheless - I know it's coming. Off the couch, off the bed... ugh. Paranoid.

    (As a small, and much much less important, side note: I think I finally figured out my picture formatting! Thank you again for all of your amazing help!)

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  9. Oh Belle! What a heartbreaking story. I so know how you feel. When my little bird was just a few months old she fell from her highchair (strap wasn't properly fixed). THe trip to ER and a terrifying night just watching her little face bruise and swell was just awful. But you know what I learnt that night? It hurts us so much more than it hurts them! By morning she was giggling and playing again .. totally oblivious to the bruises and bumps. Where as i still get flashbacks to that night! :)

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  10. Falls are so awful but so inevitable too! At the same time they are so resilient and heal so perfectly 99% of the time. Try not too feel guilty. Even if she'd been in her crib the whole time, there are so many other ways and places to fall.

    Just a couple days before Alexandria was born Max had his biggest ever fall running outside from me to his papa. He tripped and toppled over and one whole side of his face was badly scrapped. I was literally saying "we should not have been outside!" That is a mother's irrational guilt, but we have to try to forgive ourselves.

    So glad Biet is all better now!!!

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  11. Falls are so awful but so inevitable too! At the same time they are so resilient and heal so perfectly 99% of the time. Try not too feel guilty. Even if she'd been in her crib the whole time, there are so many other ways and places to fall.

    Just a couple days before Alexandria was born Max had his biggest ever fall running outside from me to his papa. He tripped and toppled over and one whole side of his face was badly scrapped. I was literally saying "we should not have been outside!" That is a mother's irrational guilt, but we have to try to forgive ourselves.

    So glad Biet is all better now!!!

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  12. Oh my, how utterly terrible for all of you. That must've been just heartbreaking for you to witness. I once watched my eldest (who was not even one at the time) topple off our bed while I was applying make-up on the other side of the bed, and I wasn't fast enough to stop him. That was heart rendering enough, and there wasn't even any blood. Just mainly shock, on both our parts. I'm so sorry it happened, and am glad to hear she is doing well now.
    Ronnie xo

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  13. Anonymous10:07:00 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  14. Anonymous10:08:00 AM

    Come on ppl please practise SAFE co sleeping. It is safe done with care. Mattress on floor, bed rails. Research pls. And no pets in the bed! It is so important.

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  15. Oh poor little one!
    The same happened to my girl Malva up in our cottage in Sweden last summer.
    It was awful and although she was fine after a while I will never forget her crying, truly heart-wrenching.
    I hope your girl is fine now :)
    Have a lovely weekend.
    a.

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  16. Thank you everyone for these comments! They mean so much.

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