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.