I fell on the pavement carrying Samara yesterday. It was the most scared I have been since becoming a mother and a story I am sure I will tell her throughout her life.
My sister and I took the subway to Harvard to meet our father for lunch. Samara was not in her usual cheerful mood. She fussed a lot over falafel salmon at Legal Seafoods and had progressed to full blown crying for the walk home. We decided not to take the T, in the hopes that a walk in the sunshine, over the cobblestones would rock her to sleep. She was not having it. By the time we reached Inman, she was screaming. I lifted her out of the stroller and she instantly ceased her tears. After carrying her for seven or eight blocks, I decided to switch her to the sling. But she was still screaming. Since we were still a mile or so from home, I considered nursing her, but opted against it. We were close enough that she could wait, I thought. And then I tripped.
I was wearing flip-flops and the pavement was uneven. The whole thing happened so fast. One minute I was standing up right and the next I was on the ground, my hands and knees scraped, my baby under me. For about five seconds, I believed she was crushed. I was sure her skull had hit the pavement and the force of my weight had ground it down.
Thank G-d Mariel was there because all the other people on the street just stared at us (Boston is so friendly). She helped me up and over to a bench, where I proceeded to sob for about four minutes while I tried to calm the baby. I nursed her a bit and she fell asleep. We decided to take her to the pediatrician, which was just about a mile from where I had fallen.
At the office, they gave her a thorough examination and could find no indication that she was hurt. She was all smiles, even laughing as they took her rectal temperature, which amused the nurses. In the end, all was ok. But I am still very shaken. I keep thinking: what if I had not tranferred her to the sling? Would she have just gone flying?
It could have so easily gone the other way. "Accidents happen," they kept reminding me at the pediatrician. But I can't stop thinking that a beautiful Friday in May could have been the last day I was with my daughter because of a series of seemingly innocuous decisions--walking over the subway, flip flops over sneakers and carrying over letting her cry it out in the stroller. It may take a couple days for the lesson to sink in (if there even is one). For now, I am just so grateful. Grateful that I still have her chubby cheeks to kiss and her sweet forehead to smell. Grateful that, despite a scary afternoon, we were able to go and have a nice dinner with our friends. And grateful for my daughter's limited memory. She had forgotten the trauma two minutes after the fall. I expect it will linger in me for the rest of our lives.