For once, our most recent hospital trip was not for me! Our slightly over-zealous and completely hyper toddler decided to jump off the sofa and collide with the floor and table. Apart from being a little shaken, she seemed O.K. yet it turns out she was anything but!
The reason I have decided to share this story, is to show that no one is perfect and that there is definitely no such thing as a perfect parent! Accidents happen, and sometimes, we even miss the signs of something major.
This week we had our final Christmas get together, and it was fantastic. We invited a few of our friends over and had a big Christmas blow-out complete with a dining room table that looked like Christmas threw up on it, and the last presents for and from our friends.
R had been super excited about the event since we had told her it was happening. She kept telling everyone how we were having a, 'big family meal' - which was so cute as she was including our friends as part of our family.
While I was feeding Little L, and John was finishing off dinner, R was playing with one of our friends. As per usual she was running around and causing mischief, being loud, hyper, and completely over-excitable thanks to the special treat of staying up past bed time.
Then she did something silly - she jumped off the sofa-bed in the back room, towards our friend. He was too far away to catch her, so instead she collided with the floor, and bumped her head on the table.
Of course there was tears. She said her hand hurt, and - as I'm sure most parents would - we just thought it was because she had bumped herself, and that she was more upset by the shock of the situation.
After the initial shock wore off, and I had given her lots of cuddles (which included rocking her and Little L together as I was still trying to feed and burp her little sister), she went back to normal. She played, chatted, ate her dinner an opened her presents. That night she slept all night without a murmur.
The following day, John had the day off work, and neither of us saw any issue with the way she was. She continued life as normal, and her arm didn't look any different, apart from a slight swelling in her fingers. John and I both tried to get her to tell us if there was any pain, and pressed along her arm to see if she flinched but there was no reaction - so we just assumed that she had, at worst, sprained her wrist.
After another uninterrupted night's sleep, her arm didn't look right. From her elbow to her finger tips was swollen and bruising started to appear just below her wrist. Immediately I knew something was wrong. The most important thing for a parent to do, when they realise that things aren't quite right, is to do everything in their power to get things checked out and the correct care administered; so I decided to take her to see a doctor.
After sorting food, for all of us, I took R (sleeping newborn in tow!) up to our local minor illness and injury unit. Once we were there, they told me that there was a long wait, and that even when I did get seen, they couldn't x-ray as R is under five.
Cue making a trip to Peterborough City Hospital, and the A&E department. When we arrived there, the sign said there was a five hour wait. Slightly panicking about waiting for that long with a newborn and toddler, I queued up and waited to see the receptionist.
Thankfully, we were seen a lot sooner the five hours estimated - probably because the children's emergency department wasn't quite so busy! Once the nurse had taken the details, we were very quickly seen by a lovely nurse practitioner.
After R has been given some paracetamol and ibuprofen, e heading off to x-ray. When the images were reviewed it turned out that she had broken not one, but both of the bones in her arm.
I'm not going to lie, I burst into tears. I felt terrible. It's easily done, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the first - and certainly won't be the last - parent who has missed something pretty serious because their child showed no signs of having any major issues!
Everyone at the hospital was amazing. We were seen quickly to the plaster room, where R had a cast put around the top half of her arm, the base left to allow the swelling to go down within the bandage.
She was so not bothered by the whole situation, she even had a nap while I was hugging her as we waited in the plaster room!
In a couple of weeks we will have to go back to the fracture clinic, where she will have another x-ray and have her arm put into a full cast.
Thankfully, R has continue to act perfectly normal. She is playing with her toys; watching her TV programmes and doting on her baby sister. She is also sleeping through the night without issue. The only difference is in everyone around her. She is cetainly loving and lapping up the extra attention and everyone spoiling her!
I was a little worried about how I was going to care for a newborn and a toddler who cannot use her dominant hand - but so far, so good! All it takes is a bit of chocolate, Sophia the First on my iPad, and being close by to her baby sister (who is apparently her best friend and makes her feel better) to keep her occupied and quiet.
She is also quite happy to run off and role-play tea parties and picnics next to her kitchen in the toy corner, although that requires her arm being in a sling which she is not really too keen on.
It would appear that I was more traumatised by the experience than she has been. I am trying, however, to try and not blame myself. Around 66% of boys and 40% of girls will sustain a fracture before their 15th birthday* - they are, unfortunately, a normal part of childhood.
Accidents happen, and I did the best I could - ensuring she received the care that she needed as soon as I realised that hugs and love weren't going to cut it. That's the most important thing.
* Information found in the Core-Info: Fractures in Children leaflet