And Jaxson went bump in the day: My worst nightmare
“I’ve learned that – no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process” – Unknown
The Dreadful Day
On February 20, 2021, my worst nightmare (to date) came true. My toddler and I were hanging out that morning as we normally do. I was in the kitchen putting the dishes away with a direct line of sight to him. He was SITTING on the couch playing Playstation. I hear him say something to me and as I turned to look….much to my horror, he’s falling off the couch as the cushion was sliding down, propelling mouth first into the coffee table 😱
He screamed out in agony – a sound that drove a stake through my soul 💔 I immediately ran over not realizing the gravity of the accident. I remove his hand from his mouth and see nothing but blood dripping out. Afraid to really look in his mouth, I assumed I knew how bad the injury was. I sure as hell underestimated that.
Of course, I start spazzing out, because, who wouldn’t?! It would be just my luck that the one time my son isn’t doing anything reckless, he gets severely injured. And, of course, my angst made Jaxson freak out even more. I rush him upstairs to get a washcloth for some ice and in my panic, call his dad. Fortunately, he was able to calm me down long enough so that I could get our little guy rushed over to urgent care 🚑
A Mother’s Nightmare
At urgent care, the three of us impatiently wait to be seen by the doctor. Once she comes in, I discovered then that the trauma was much worse than we had thought. There, in front of my eyes, was my sweet child’s two top teeth pushed backward and up through his gums. 😭 One of his teeth was barely hanging on, hiding behind his severely swollen lip. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Believe it or not, I’ve never seen that much blood before (aside from giving birth). So, forgive me for being a wimp.
The doctor assesses his mouth and determines that there isn’t anything she can do because there were no lacerations to his lips or gums. She suggests we take him to a dentist who handled dental trauma 🦷 I call our family dentist at 1 PM. I remember this time specifically because their office closes at 2 PM on Saturdays so I was praying hard that they’d have an opening. After calling three times, I was able to get in touch with the receptionist. In between tears and fear, I explain to her the emergency. They tell us to get over there as soon as possible.
No Smiles at Smiles Dentistry
Upon arrival, Jaxson’s dentist, Dr. Patel, immediately whisked us into the exam room. As we suspected, she informed us that BOTH teeth would have to be extracted. She suggested she attempt extraction there (with the assistance of laughing gas and novocaine), but that dad and I would have to assist in holding him down 😟
Let me tell you something. When toddlers want to resist you, they dig down deeeeeppppp to a hidden source of strength. Jaxson went full-on Hulk on us 💪🏼 What sucked the most is that he is still too young to fully comprehend what was happening. All he felt was the pain. This meant that we couldn’t really get him to calm down and cooperate the way we needed him to.
Dr. Patel, who has a 3.5-year-old at home as well, was on the verge of tears seeing his reaction. We spent an hour and a half there while she made a flurry of calls trying to find a dentist who had more experience working with children and trauma. Can you believe that the one dentist who was “on-call” said he wouldn’t be able to see us until MONDAY?! And even then, it would be a consultation 🤯
Keep in mind all of this happened on a SATURDAY. We convinced Dr. Patel to keep calling around. There was no way we were going to make our toddler wait until Monday to be seen – not with his teeth damn near ready to fall out on their own 🙅🏽♀️ Not after she told us he could swallow his teeth in his sleep. With God on our side, she expanded her search and finally found a pediatric dentist in Washington, D.C who was open 🙌🏽
Third Time’s A Charm
Dr. De Vito at Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry was a lifesaver. A mom of a 3-year-old, she could sympathize. She was awesome, nurturing, and understanding. None of which Jaxson could attest to given that he was severely and rightfully upset with her 🙃 Much to our surprise and appreciation, she followed up with us later that day and the next day to see how Jaxson was holding up. She told us, “if I was on-call at home and received this call, I would have got here immediately.” No questions asked. Having your child in the hands of someone who cares like that is extremely comforting 💜
In fact, both of the dentists followed up. That kind of bedside manner is hard to find!
Sorry, I digressed.
So, anyways, Dr. De Vito confirmed the same – the teeth would have to be extracted. But, again, we’d have to help hold him down because anesthesia was not an option. In between my tears and reassuring words from the nurse and his dad, the 4 of us managed to pin Jaxson down long enough to get the laughing gas administered and the novocaine in. Just as quickly as she injected the novocaine, she pulled out his teeth. The worst of it was over 🙏🏽
Now, can we talk about the incessant amount of guilt a mom feels when a traumatic injury happens to her beloved?? 😔 I carry that guilt with me although it is becoming less of a burden to bear as the days go on.
For me, it’s harder because this isn’t the first time a major accident happened under my watch.
When my oldest was a toddler – I was in the bathroom getting ready. He was in my room and came across my unplugged but hot flat iron sitting on the ironing board. He found himself trying to be helpful and grabbed the flat iron to “put away”! 🤦🏽♀️ As he touched it, realizing it was hot, it somehow hit his face. As a result, he was left with a huge burn mark on the side of his handsome face. Fortunately, it happened at such a young age that now, at 10-years-old, you can’t tell that he was ever burned.
That guilt of letting something happen to my children sits with me for a while. I eventually shook off the guilt from the burn injury. So, I know I will eventually shake this guilt as well. Still, I can’t help but feel disappointed that I couldn’t have, somehow, avoided this accident with Jaxson. Even more so because I saw it happen in motion but was not fast enough to prevent it. BUT, such is life, right?!
Inner & Outer Circle Support
To my friends and family who offered me words of encouragement, thank you. ❤️ Jaxson is loved by so many people and the concern was appreciated. It’s nice to have friends and family who remind me that accidents happen and it doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom.
I shared my story in my local Facebook mommies group, seeking some virtual reassurance, and exactly that was what I got. Moms in my area gave me an outpour of love, support, reassurance, and shared their own horror stories. I learned that this particular accident was common. There were stories that made mine pale in comparison 😳 Reading all of the comments, knowing there are other moms who share in my guilt and pain has made this pill a little easier to swallow.
Business As Usual
That day, many tears, kisses, hugs, words of reassurance, and $75+ in toys later – Jaxson started his journey to recovery. I bought all of the soft foods I could think of and grabbed Tylenol and Ibuprofen, prepared for some long nights.
Yet while I’ve been wallowing in my own self-pity, my little one is back to business as usual. In fact, when we got home – did he want to sleep after being out for 6.5 hours?? No! Instead, he stayed up and PLAYED. The next day, he was 75% back to his old self. By Monday, he was 100% back to terrorizing his brother and me 😈 Tuesday, he was attempting to hang off the kitchen counter! 🤦🏽♀️ God, help mothers of boys!
Occasionally, he has had a flashback and recalls out loud how he lost his teeth and he wants them back. I take the opportunity to remind him that his teeth will grow back. My goal is to assure him that his new teeth will be better and stronger. This has worked so far. 👏🏽 However, given that his permanent teeth won’t come in for a couple more years, I’m not sure how much longer he will buy that.
For now, we’ll ride the wave, I’ll enjoy his cute gummy grin, and eventually, this will be a distant memory ✌🏽