On July 4th, we had a long day, and a late dinner. Jake wouldn't go to bed, and so I brought him out of our shared room to sit with me while I ate. Eating with Jake on my lap is not an easy feat as he reaches out to grab most things, or tries to wiggle to the ground. We had balloons on the picnic table, to celebrate Kyndra's birthday. TJ took Jake off of my lap and set him between us on the bench. I started to eat, and Jake reached out to grab a balloon, losing his balance and falling to the ground below. It all happened so quickly, but he hit the bottom of his skull on the bench as he went down, thankfully landing on his bottom.
The worst sound in the world is the heart-wrenching scream of a child in pain. For a mother, it immediately pulls at the gut.
He screamed right away and didn't stop screaming for 30 minutes, even after a dose of infant Tylenol and endless consolation from TJ, me, and my dad, as well as a priesthood blessing. TJ was a mess, blaming himself for setting him on the bench, and I was a mess trying to contain my own emotion to focus on helping Jake. Finally, when the screaming didn't stop and Jake threw up a lot, we rushed to the car and off to the emergency room.
After I shakily checked him in, we were taken right back to triage. My exhausted boy had tried to fall asleep in the car on the way, but in our nervousness about a possible concussion, we had kept him awake. By the time we got settled into our room and Jake was checked by the triage nurse, he was wide-awake and happy. After a few minutes of waiting, the doctor came in to check him. After a thorough examination, he declared that Jake was just fine, but that since he had vomited, we would need to stay for a CT scan. I wanted to be sure everything was alright, but I was disappointed we would have to go through the CT scan.
We waited around for probably about 15 minutes before the x-ray technician came to get Jake. He was an older man, probably in his late 50s, and told us that we would need to wait for a nurse to come and restrain Jake. He described it as "the burrito," which didn't sound all that bad.
How wrong we were.
Another few minutes of waiting, and a male nurse came to our room and had to have the restraint described to him by the technician. He then went off to find another nurse, who presumably knew what she was doing. Both nurses returned with an orange, rubber-looking pillow. They placed Jake on the device (which was actually a stint for broken limbs), and began using a pump to suck out the air. The "pillow" hardened around Jake as I held it close to his face, and little foam beads could be seen through the rubber material. I talked comfortingly to Jake as he started to get a little worried, with his body being cocooned in plastic. TJ and the technician observed, and when the air was gone, the technician declared, "No, that's not right. You need to find Emily. She knows how to do it. He has to be completely immobile."
I was angry.
The rational part of my brain told me that these people were only doing their job; they were only trying to help. However, this highly irrational and very instinctual part of me was louder. I could barely contain tears of anger that they were causing my baby to scream and to be afraid. Seeing the look on my face, and hearing my muttered disapproval, TJ sent me out of the room. As I sat on a chair, clenching my fists, the tears spilled over. Probably a minute later, the infamous Emily rushed into our room and firmly shut the door behind her with one look at my face.
Since I was no longer in the room, TJ related the next portion to me. He said that Emily came in and reprimanded the other nurses, quickly directing them in what to do. A minute later, they exited, with TJ carrying the stiff "burrito" that was our now-whimpering son. I jumped up, grabbed our things and went to follow him as one of the original nurses said, "You know, it's OK to cry when your baby cries."
I wanted to sneer at her comment since she didn't know the real reason for my tears, so I simply nodded and followed the technician to the other side of the clinic and into the CT scan room. He asked which of us wanted to stay with Jake, and I stepped forward. He wrapped me in a lead-lined shield, and then went to the adjoining room with TJ. Jake laid very still, whimpering as the machine moved and whirred. In a shaky voice, I sang to him: I am a Child of God. He remained still throughout the scan, and started whining as soon as it was over. I hastily removed my shield and handed it to the tech, as TJ unwrapped our little boy. I picked him up, his body as wet with sweat as if I had picked him up out of the bath, and bright red. I carried him back to our room, then handed him over to TJ. We turned off the lights, and Jake fell asleep as we awaited the results of the scan.
If I ever doubted the legendary momma bear instincts before, those doubts have been laid to rest.