Just for the record, head trauma is not the description a mother wants to hear about her child.
I had been planning to take Genny to the park and then have lunch with a friend and her baby. I placed Genny on the middle of the bed and turned around, flipped my hair over and brushed it up into a ponytail. As I turned back around to the bed, Genny was just diving off.
She landed flat on her face and began to scream and cry. I tried to nurse her, but her eyes started closing and her body went limp. Shoving the stroller along the bumpy sidewalks of Jackson Heights on the way to Elmhurst Hospital—Genny threw up.
After standing and sweating at a registration desk for fifteen minutes, I almost passed out. Meanwhile, Genevieve was just burrowing her head against my shoulder, not normal behavior for her at all. The doctors decided to do a CAT scan just to make sure everything was okay.
She looked so tiny all wrapped up in the white sheet, cocooned against the metal tube of the CAT scan machine. We had to step out of the room while they zapped her. I leaned against the long hallway’s wall holding Nick’s hand. Being in the hospital brought up too many bad memories of our past year together—Nick’s mom passed away the same week Genny was born and a cousin of Nick’s lost her baby in a drowning.
Biting its way through my brain was the thought that Nick must think I’m a bad mom. I kept seeing Genny falling over and over again in my head. If only I hadn’t turned my back on her. If only I had realized she would one day learn to crawl all of a sudden and maybe take me by surprise.
While we waited for Genny to wake up from the sedation, the results came back—everything looked fine.
What if everything hadn’t been fine? What if Genevieve had been seriously brain damaged? How would I have forgiven myself?
Nick said he doesn’t blame me. And I know he means that. And I know that accidents happen, but I felt like they would never happen to my baby when I was around. I can hold guilt against myself for what happened or I can learn from my mistake and not let it happen again. With a baby though, there is no way to totally protect her from the world. Genny is going to fall again whether I’m around or not.
She’s sleeping peacefully now, albeit with a rug burn tattooed across her forehead. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a calmer day.