The distance from the top of the changing table to the tile floor is a little over three feet. The sound of a baby hitting the floor face first after falling that distance is a horrifying smack.
Yes, last night Mellow fell off the changing table. Or lunged off. Or rolled off. I don’t really know. Wildling witnessed it, and very helpfully demonstrated it for the doctor in the emergency room, but Wildling’s version lacked the drama of the fall and she couldn’t seem to remember which body part hit first. Will, who should have witnessed it (and stopped it!) was unfortunately not paying attention.
I was in the kitchen, I heard the sound and froze, waiting, paralyzed for a few seconds until I heard her start to cry. That’s when I started running, and ran right into Wildling whose first instinct was to come get me. When I reached Mellow, both she and Will were crying, one from pain, one from guilt. Mellow was bleeding from her lips and nose, and was inconsolable. She’s always been such an easy-to-calm baby, and being unable to stop her cries made me worry even more.
Luckily, she is fine. She did not chip her teeth, or even loosen them. Her nose is thankfully not broken. She cried for nearly an hour, and when she finally stopped we were already in the ER, and had already talked to a couple of nurses and a doctor. They kept us for evaluation, but when she showed no signs of traumatic brain injury, they sent us home with instructions to monitor her.
I hate the long term PTSD-like reactions to incidents like this. Will spent all day replaying it over and over in his mind, fixating on what else could have happened, what else could have gone wrong (what if she had landed on her neck?), what he could have done to stop it from happening (pay attention? not turn his back?). I’m the same way. Once, Wildling almost fell down a winding staircase. She was running and she fell and tumbled down one step before managing to turn sideways and stop herself. If she had kept going, I think she would have died. And I couldn’t do anything to save her. For weeks afterward I saw her falling and catching herself, and I felt the same nauseous feeling as I felt when watching it, and I felt the same dread rising up in my throat.
But today, Mellow was fine. A little fussy, a little bruised, with still-swollen lips, but emotionally fine. Just like Wildling after the stair-fall incident. She stood up, cried a little bit because she fell on her knee, but then promptly forgot all about it and took off running again. Kids are resilient. Too bad parents don’t have that same resilience. I don’t know when Will is going to stop beating himself up for Mellow’s fall/lunge/dive.