About 18 months after we moved to our home, and six months after Big was born, I called my husband from the car, in a panic, “how do I get to the ER?” I asked. We had a small, first-time mom-type emergency. Big’s finger had gotten in between two pieces of his highchair and his tiny finger wouldn’t stop bleeding.
Later that night, Big’s finger “bandaged” and fine, my husband said to me, very firmly, “you have a boy. You’re going to need to know where all the hospitals are. There will be lots of emergencies.”
He was right. In ten years, with two sons and a daughter, we’ve been to emergency rooms and urgent care centers well over a dozen times. We’ve had several more near-ER visits, including last night. (The story, below, was written last night after the kids were in bed.)
Let me start at the end: he’s okay.
But tonight was one of the scariest of my motherhood.
During warm-ups before tonight’s Little League baseball game, Big was throwing with a teammate, in a double row of about 6 kids. It was early, one of the coaches was about ten feet away, warming up another player, while the head coach was in the dugout, getting the game ready. I was getting comfortable, talking to Middle and Little as they played on the grass, probably checking my phone… doing a lot of nothing.
Commotion caught my eye, and I noticed one of our players fall forward to the ground, he’d been hit in the chest. Somehow, he rolled to his back, or his teammates moved him there, as a few had gathered around him. About the same time I dropped my phone and started to walk over, the kids called the coach, who called over the head coach.
Somewhere in all this, I quickly calculated that it was my son that was laying on the ground.
As always, this next part felt like an eternity, but must have happened quickly. As I started toward the fence to the outfield, pushing my other two children away, the coach beat me to him. (Probably a good thing: he’s trained in baseball safety, I’m not.) Big still hadn’t moved, and the coach had his hand on his chest, talking softly to him. When I got to his side, Big’s eyes were closed and, for a minute, I noticed blood, all around his lips. (Thankfully, I realized quickly that the blood was chocolate from a warm chocolate chip cookie he’d just been eating a few minutes before. But, upon immediately seeing him, I’m sure I gasped with panic.)
While one coach ran off to get ice, I asked if he was awake. I truly believe that was my safest way of saying, “is his heart beating?” What else do you say when the coach has his hand over your child’s heart and your son isn’t moving? Is he awake? “Yeah,” Coach replied. “He’s awake.”
Slowly, Big sat, then stood, and took a walk with the coach, while I returned to the dugout to grab a fresh water.
And I sat. And I shook. And the rest of the game I wondered if I responded the way I should have. If I should have run out to the field as I did, or let the coach be there without me? If I should have taken him to the ER immediately, rather than letting him play out the game?
He did, by the way, play out the game. He wasn’t quite himself and I could tell by the reassuring, strained smile that he didn’t feel great. But he continued smiling and telling me he was fine until after the game ended.
Besides quietly telling a friend what happened when she arrived, and visiting Dr. Google (don’t. Just don’t google “kid hit in chest with baseball”), I tried to remain calm. Oh, but I was sick inside. So sick. I was a shaking, freezing mother who just needed to get home where the world is safe and your kids can’t be hit in the chest by a speeding baseball.
We were lucky. There’s a large bruise at the bottom of his rib cage, about an inch to an inch and a half below his heart.
I’m a sports mom
Since that first drive to the ER, I’ve enjoyed the knowledge that we have an athletic family. Those on twitter often see me share my soccer mom status, rushing from one field to another. I love sharing pictures from various soccer games, swim meets, and Little League. This season, I’m driving myself crazy with baseball, t-ball, soccer, gymnastics and swimming… plus after school chorus practices.
I know there will be moments of fear and moments of worry. I know that this isn’t the last, or the first, time for one of my kids to be injured. I know that. Of course, I don’t know what will come next. We never do.
I’m just so very thankful that he’s okay. So very, very thankful.
Little League created an equipment checklist with suggestions of products to keep your child safe. An optional item on that list is a heart guard or heart shield. I ordered this one last night: Under Armour Big Boys’ UA Brushback Short Sleeve
I’m also creating a list of protective baseball gear for Little League kids and will link to that here.
© 2014, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.