Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Birthday Blues

We had a birthday party for Brayden and 5 of this little buddies last Saturday at the local campground that has a mini-golf course. He turned six on Monday and we wanted to celebrate a few days early.

It was a great party! Even though it was incredibly windy outside, we were able to golf a few rounds, play on some play equipment and then spent a good deal of time indoors playing fooseball and basketball, enjoying pizza and the blue cake that I tried (but failed) to decorate very well as a soccer ball. It actually ended up the color of the green pot scrubber thing by my sink instead of the smurf blue that I had envisioned. But Brayden still said it tasted good (thank you!) And, just as an FYI to all of you that may want to try making a soccer ball cake of your own, I have since discovered that the white areas on a soccer ball are hexagons and the colored areas are pentagons--not all hexagons or pentagons ... who knew. I will do my homework next birthday!)

It was a great party ... until the last 5 minutes when the kids went outside for one last round of golf before their parents showed up to get them. Oh yes, it's exactly what you're thinking ... that's when one of the boys swung a putter like a baseball bat ... and got Brayden in the head!

The visual of him coming through the door, blood covering his entire face, streaming down his new soccer shirt from his grandma that he was so proud to get just the day before and him screaming so loudly in a tone that is nothing normal remains stuck in my head as a permanent nightmare that plays over and over. I have never before seen so much blood out of a little body. And definitely not out of MY little boy! It was scary ... very scary ... and I was hoping to never have to have my children have head wounds ... but this makes 3 already this year. Although this even outdoes the trip over snow-pants that Brayden had in the hallway that almost deadened his front tooth and split open his lip in Jan.

Thankfully Jeff was there and he has been blessed with a calm head in crisis situations. He was a rock through it all and I ... well, I tried my best to look calm while we both were praying BIG time on the inside. A couple of mothers helped out with Nolan and Easton was an angel and stayed out of the way but close at hand while we tried to apply direct pressure to the wounds that were also so bruised and instantly swollen that he wouldn't let us touch them (yes, try doing that First Aid combination) all the while assessing what needed to be done and clean up the party stuff. After we were able to get the bleeding pretty much stopped to a slower drip and calmed him to a lesser hysterical state we did end up going to the Pediatrics office to have him examined. Because he said he was sleepy and he was glassy-eyed and of course not himself (but who would be?) I was adamant that we go even if it proved to be unnecessary. The idea that my husband had fallen out of a tree 30 years ago and had been alright didn't do much to calm even an iota of fear or worry. And as we drove the 20 minutes to the doctor's from the golf course and I was trying to keep him awake in the back of the van I was trying not to show that I was scared ... or maybe how scared I was, I'm sure he knew I was scared. All the what-ifs ran through my head and the thought that we had planned this birthday party for him in the first place! He did make it clear that "this was his worst day!" in-between the tears and painful screams. In another part of my head I reminisced about 6 years ago how I had gone into labor on that very same day and how Brayden even then had drama around his birthday as he refused to be born ... In fact it was only after 36 hours of HARD labor and some pitocin that he finally was ushered into the world willing or not. Would it all come to an end today? That beautiful life that I too often assume will be there every day?! I couldn't even bare to think on that ... I know that seems a bit overkill now, but at the time my mind was racing. I thought about the skier last month who had died of a blow to the head--What about concussion or blood clots, hematomas ack!

He did need 4 stitches (3 in his forehead, one under his nose) to bring the flaps of skin back together. The idea of stitches TOTALLY freaked him out ... keep in mind that he doesn't even do well with his finger being poked or with Band-Aids in general ... well, this obviously was much bigger than that. It took the doctor, nurse, Jeff and me to hold him down for the stitches ... I think he thought we were surely going to kill him and he is a STRONG boy! BUT here is the silver lining to the story ...

... Brayden was really scared and really fighting us when finally Jeff just started praying out loud ... I mean if you can imagine the chaos with him trying with everything in him to squirm away from us and the table and him with a head-wound badly needing stitches, the doctor not wanting to poke him and have him tear it out of his hands making things even worse ... The amazing thing was, the more Jeff prayed the more he settled down, and by the time they got the FIRST stitch in he was like a limp rag doll, not just calm or trusting ... but limp! The doctor said, "Wow, I've not been one for the power of prayer before ... but this is absolutely amazing!" (And as an added plus our regular pediatric doctor was the one on call for the weekend shift and he is also a friend of Jeff's from his hockey league.) So amazing how God can use the bad for good and bring glory to His name. I hope the incident made a lasting impact on us all ... for the good.

The experience was not how I had envisioned his sixth birthday party ... I don't think I've really released the fear yet, I'm waiting for the crash any moment and it will probably be a little thing that sets it off like running out of TP or something. **Luckily** (and I say this in jest) the day after Brayden's birthday both he and Easton came down with an awful, awful flu bug that has kept us too busy to dwell on things. Oh yes, and Nolan has about 7 dots of Chicken Pox that surfaced yesterday as well (someone brought that to the church nursery 2 Sundays ago and thought 5 days was long enough to stay away from people ... apparently it's more like 7.) Long week in the Mom department.

The doctor wasn't worried about head trauma beyond the wound which was reassuring ... we of course continue to watch Brayden ... and thank God for His protection over him. Let us know if you'd like us to throw a birthday party for your child. ;-)

Here's a photo of Brayden on the drive home. They did a great job sewing it together and making it so much smaller! Amazing. Thank you God!


sara said...

Oh, wow - what a a bummer! With boys it usually isn't "fun" until someone gets hurt :(

I loved Carrie's post about "Dear Valerie"!! it really made me sit back & think how blessed I have been by people who have NEVER even known that they have blessed me & how wonderful it feels to let someone know how they have touched you!

PLEASE, send me an email - let me know where you guys are at in IA. Are you adopting from China, with all those boys of yours? lol! New Day is the greatest!

T & T Livesay said...

Hi - Random comment from a random person in Haiti.

Can you tell me where you got those super cool wall vinyl things you sent to China to Carrie? I have never seen those particular sayings (but I live where there is no shopping so this is no surprise) --- and I would like to order them. Can you email me the info?

Firefly Photo Jewelry said...

Hi Valerie!
OMGOSH! Poor guy! He looks sooo pitiful in that last photo. I can imagine how terrifying it had to have been for you.
Imagining Jeff praying and seeing God work brought tears to my eyes.
That is amazing.
I hope he is feeling better now :)

Tara Anderson said...

It is the WORST when our kids are hurting! I handle it better than Andrew does...ironic, since he's WAY more level-headed than me in every other way...but I don't handle it nearly as well as I do when it's someone else's kid! Oh! What a day!!!

The family

The family