Today I sit and watch my girls play together and take every single second of it in. I watch. I adore. I thank God for them. Today I am reminded of how quickly things can go awry and life can be forever changed.
Yesterday, which seems like an eternity ago, was like any other Wednesday in the Dayney house. Ashlyn was cooing happily. Reagan and I were playing hair salon. The dogs were barking and annoying each other. We had plans to go on a family walk when Justin got home and I was really looking forward to that. After Reagan finished removing all the barrettes that she had strategically placed in my hair, still wet from my shower, she went downstairs to check on the homemade popsicles we had made earlier in the day. I followed behind her after I collected Ashlyn from the blanket on the floor.
I walked out of the playroom and went to take the first step, but as soon as I did I knew that something went wrong. My foot had missed the step entirely and I was midair, falling with Ashlyn. There was nothing I could do except brace for the fall and try to protect her. It felt like an eternity, but happened in the blink of an eye at the same time. I vividly remember my lower back hitting the landing first, then my back slamming against the steps behind me. Ashlyn’s head either hit my shoulder or the step behind me. I’m not exactly sure about that part.
I jumped up so quickly, cradling Ashlyn as she started screaming loudly. I quickly examined her, finding a large lump already forming on the back of her head. I quickly went downstairs where Reagan was asking me for a one of our frozen treats.
“Not right now,” I said. “It’s not a good time, Reagan.” I grabbed a ice pack from the freezer and my phone to call the triage nurse.
Once the nurse answered the phone and I told her the situation, she immediately started asking me questions about Ashlyn’s condition. I tried to answer them as best as I could, but Ashlyn was crying so loud. It was hard to hear. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Reagan licking a popsicle and I smiled at her to let her know I approved, then the nurse told me she thought I should bring Ashlyn to the E.R., which scared me even more.
I called Justin, then threw snacks and bottles into the diaper bag before hopping into the van and heading to the hospital. Most of the drive was a blur.
Upon arrival at the hospital, they checked us in quickly. A charge nurse was getting Ashlyn’s vitals when Justin walked in. After that we were escorted back to our room, which was cold and uninviting. One more nurse came in and asked the same series of questions before the doctor finally arrived. He gave her a quick exam before giving us our options.
He said the bump was pretty large and normal protocol would be to do a CT scan to see if there was any bleeding in her brain. he continued to tell us that 1 in 2000 people who receive a CT scan will end up with cancer down the road and that Ashlyn is so young, her chances are greater. The alternative would be an x-ray to check for a fracture in her skull and close monitoring for the next 24-48 hours. After a lot of discussions and weighing out the pros and cons of both, we decided to only get the x-ray and then go from there if something was wrong.
After the x-ray, while in the cold, dark radiation room alone with Ashlyn I buried my head in her tiny shoulder and prayed out loud to God over and over. I prayed that she was fine as I paced back and forth. I prayed and cried until the technician came back to release us.
After an hour of waiting, her x-ray came back fine. They released us and we’ve been monitoring her closely since. Her swelling is all but gone and she is her normal, happy self.
Today, as I think about yesterday and how fast it all happened, I am grateful. Today I feel blessed. Today I am reminded that I need to protect these beautiful babies and remind them every single day how wonderful they are, how important they are and how much I love them because life is just so short.
It’s so precious and so short.