It was after work on Monday, and as usual, I went through the mad traffic from work to the child care to pick up my baby, Little K. By the time I reached the child care centre, it was drizzling. Once I got into the room, the teacher said Little K had a great day, and that he was starting to babble a lot more. In fact, he even gave me a big bright smile when the teacher passed him over to me. I thought to myself, that’s great. Finally he’s starting to adjust to the day care environment. I grabbed his bag filled with his used bottles and spare clothes in one hand, and held him in my other hand, with my handbag over my shoulder. So, my hands were literally full. We walked out of the centre, and it was still drizzling, so I increased my pace so as to avoid the rain on Little K. As I was walking down the ramp, I slipped, lost my balance and fell. In that split second, all that crossed my mind was the baby – hold him tight and don’t let go, that’s what I was telling myself. I fell on my bum and held on to my baby tight, so he didn’t fall out of my grip, but what followed was a loud, distressing cry from him.
I thought he must be crying out of shock, because I didn’t let him go during the fall. There was no time to waste, so I quickly grabbed his bag that I let go during the slip, and walked to my car in the rain. I tried singing to calm Little K down while I was driving, but it didn’t work at all. He was crying non-stop, all the way until we reached home. He only calmed down a little when Saucer or I held him in our arms. But, it was the after work rush time, I needed to get dinner ready and make sure everyone had their shower/bath. All I could do was to pass Little K to Saucer, hoping that he would eventually calm down, while I got dinner ready. When it was time to bathe Little K, poor baby was so exhausted from all the crying that he had fallen asleep in Saucer’s arms. I gently transferred him over to my arms, and he woke up. So I thought, I’d quickly give him his bath and put him to bed. He was fine in the bath but once I started dressing him, he screamed and cried loudly again, especially when I touched his leg. It was then that I realised, something was very wrong. It just wasn’t like him to cry without reason, and with such a distressed manner. At the back of my mind, I feared for the worst, that something had broken in his leg.
I was really worried and Saucer said we’d better go to the hospital to get him checked. So, without even having dinner, we packed everyone up into the car and headed to the hospital. I made sure I packed a sandwich for Little J in case he got hungry. Once we reached the hospital, it was another excruciating wait for the doctors. We had to wait a few times – once for our number to be called by the nurse so that she could do initial evaluation, another time to register at the counter, then to wait for the doctor. Once the doctor came, I was so relieved. She did the checks and sure enough, Little K started screaming away when she touched his left leg. I thought, surely we would need an X-ray done? But she said she’d better get a more experienced doctor to take a look first. By then, we had already waited for more than 3 hours, it was after 10pm. The senior doctor took a look and said Little K needed an X-ray, so off we headed to the imaging department, where we waited yet again. Did the X-ray, and went back to the emergency department, and waited longer. Finally, the doctor saw the X-rays and said there was indeed a fracture in his left thigh. Oh my, I was on the verge of breaking down by then. The X-ray showed a little chip off the bone and a crack across it, but it didn’t snap all the way through. They called it a buckle fracture. The doctor said he’d have to send the scans to the orthopaedist (bone specialist) for him to decide what needed to be done. Guess what? Another wait! About 15 minutes later, he came back telling us Little K would have to be put in a cast for at least a week, and then come back for a check up after. So many things were crossing my mind, was the damage going to be permanent? How would this affect his development? Was he going to be in pain for the next week?
All this while, Little J was being such a champ. He ate his sandwich and drank his water, and entertained himself with the toys and books we found in the waiting room. By then, it was already close to midnight. We still had to wait for someone to be available to put a cast on Little K, and it was way past everyone’s bed time. Finally, we got a cast on Little K and were allowed to leave the hospital just after midnight. By then, everyone was so exhausted, especially Little J, who went straight to bed.
Little K was such a brave boy too. He didn’t even cry or fuss throughout the X-ray procedure, when the radiologist positioned his leg in a few ways to take the images. He was also really good when they put the cast on his leg.
Once the cast was on, that was it. That was the moment I felt really terrible. I was reminded of the stupid accident that happened, of the slippery path from the child care, and of the way I fell and held on to him a bit too tight that it must have bent and cracked his bone. I called the child care and reported this incident the next day, to which the director told me that it was the second time someone slipped there in one year. She said she would definitely get someone to look at it, because it’s no joke when there are so many kids/babies going in and out of the centre.
Little K had the cast on for about 10 days, before his check up appointment was due, but during the 10 days, every time I looked at his cast and how he couldn’t move his leg, it was a big slap on my face. It was a bitter reminder of what happened and how it caused everyone so much pain. It was a reminder that babies are really super fragile and we need to be extremely careful around them.
By the time the check up came, the doctor took off his cast and moved his leg around. We thought we’d need another X-ray to check on his bone but because Little K was doing so well (he was smiling and laughing when the doctor moved his leg), the doctor thought the X-ray wasn’t necessary anymore. There was no point subjecting a baby to unnecessary radiation anyway so the doctor let us go and reassured us and Little K was as good as new. He clarified all my doubts about the fracture affecting his development and said that babies’ bones heal lightning fast, and because he’s so young, his bone would only grow to be stronger.
Needless to say, I was so happy that Little K didn’t need the cast anymore. He was so cheerful once the cast was off too, as if he finally found freedom for his leg. 🙂 He didn’t move his left leg as much on the first day after the cast was off, but a few days later, he was bending his leg and trying to chew his toes! So I knew that he mustn’t be feeling any pain anymore to be able to do that.
Now that everything is over, I’m able to pen it down to serve as my memory. But back then when it happened and when Little K had his cast on, I couldn’t help feeling like the worst mum ever. I didn’t even feel like talking to anyone including my family.
I’m happy that now things are back to normal. Many people have told me, how things could have been a lot worse when I fell. And I shudder to think of what would have happened if I had let go of my grip then.
So there you go, my bad mum moment. I’ve been a mum for more than 3 years now and this must be the worst mum feeling ever. I really hope I won’t have to experience this feeling anymore.