I went from the high of celebrating Mother's Day yesterday to the low of getting a call from Ella's daycare center today. (Really--is there ever a "good" reason why the daycare center would call a parent in the middle of the day? Perhaps maybe if I referred someone and they were going to give us a discount, but I can't think of anything beside that.) I got the call at 11:45 this morning, just as I was wrapping up some morning projects so that I could head over to feed her. When I saw the name and number pop up, I knew something was wrong. I figured that maybe Ella had a fever...I never expected the words that came out of the daycare center director's mouth.
Ella had fallen off the changing table and hit her head on the tile floor.
My heart started beating faster, and I was out the door before I even hung up the phone. I didn't ask many questions at that point--I just wanted to get to my baby. I said a quick prayer and called my husband. I then called my very-dear friend (the pediatrician) to find out what signs of concern I should be looking for. I left a message for my mom as I was pulling into the parking lot of the center.
Ella was in the arms of the main care provider when I came in the room. She gave me a feeble smile and let me hold her tight. With shaking hands and her still in my arms, I somehow took a picture on my phone so I could send it to my husband, my mom, and my very-dear friend (and so I could have "proof", if needed...but oh how I pray it doesn't come to that). She nursed just fine, and let me apply an ice pack to the huge bruise just over her left eye.
I'd like to think that I remain pretty calm in crisis situations. My main focus was Ella. It wasn't the time or place to point blame or cause a commotion--all I wanted to do was be good to Ella and assess how she was doing. When I saw that she was nursing just fine and putting her hands up to my mouth to kiss, I started to relax just the tiniest bit and asked a few questions. The gist of the story is that one of the "floaters" who was helping out in the infant room was changing Ella and didn't realize how mobile she was. Ella rolled right off the changing table counter, and she tried to catch her. It sounds like she grabbed her a bit to break some of the fall, but Ella definitely hit the tile ground hard enough to leave a nasty bruise and cause a bit of a bloody nose.
I opted to call the pediatrician's office, just to be safe. After playing a bit of phone tag with the triage nurse, I took my very-dear friend up on her offer to have her husband (also a soon-to-be pediatrician after graduating from medical school this week) take a look at her since he was nearby. I didn't follow all of his medical lingo, but ultimately he thinks that she looks okay. The bruise is on her forehead, and not the side where there could be more neurological concerns. She didn't lose consciousness, and didn't show any other signs of a concussion. By the time that we met up with him (about two hours after the fall--which is the most vital time), she was smiling and laughing and reaching for toys (and our cell phones). I made contact with the triage nurse at her pediatrician's office, who agreed with my very-dear friend's husband's evaluation.
I kept her with me the rest of the afternoon. I wanted to be able to monitor her, and I wanted to be able to comfort her. And selfishly, I wanted her to be able to comfort me. I wanted the reassurance of her sweet smiles to let me know that she would be okay. We're home now, and she ate her dinner and took her bath like nothing was wrong. She's nursing now, and I'd like to think that the swelling and bruising is going down...but maybe that's just wishful thinking.
Now I don't know what to do. It is completely inexcusable for a child to fall off the changing table in a daycare center. Yet at the same time, I realize that we're all human and we all make mistakes. I want to be compassionate, but I want Ella to be safe. I've been very happy with the center and the care providers, and while I'm obviously shaken up and rightly concerned, I don't know if pulling Ella out is necessarily the right answer. What's done is done, and I can't change it.
What do you think?
This was such a scary experience, and yet I have to say that it's a blessing that she wasn't more seriously injured--or at least it appears that way. It's a blessing she didn't lose consciousness, it's a blessing that my very-dear friend and her husband were able to give some medical advice, it's a blessing that my supervisor and colleagues were so understanding when I brought Ella back to the office, it's a blessing that the regular care provider called me this evening to check on Ella. I never want to go through this sort of scare again, but God is good in limiting her injuries to what appear to be bumps and bruises. But please pray for Ella--that she not be in too much pain tonight, and that she not have any lasting complications from this fall.