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How We Made It Through Our First Emergency Room Visit with Our Toddler

Oh, the dreaded moment every parent visualizes when their child is born: the emergency room visit.

I will NEVER forget the first time we had a serious accident at home and had to take KJ to the emergency room. He was 2 years old and had just woken up from a nap. As he was walking towards me, he tripped and fell face first into the hearth of the fireplace while we were at Chris’ parents’ house. He fell so quickly, that not only could I not catch him, but he couldn’t even stop himself from falling so hard. He busted his eyebrow right on the edge of a brick and immediately started gushing blood!

First thing’s first: We couldn’t freak out. We knew we needed to stop the bleeding, so we rushed him into the bathroom and my mother-in-law applied a washcloth until the bleeding lessened.

Then I called Chris at work and CALMLY explained to him what happened. I told him to meet us at the emergency room and to be sure to stay calm when he saw KJ for the first time. I was honest about how bad I thought it was and that he would definitely need stitches.

We called ahead to the emergency room on the way to make sure they knew we were coming and would need help immediately to make sure he didn’t lose a lot of blood. That way, they had a heads up and could pull our files from our doctor’s office, since they were in the same network.

I had Chris’ mom drive us there, so I could help to keep KJ calm in the backseat — and so that she could drop us off under the carport instead of me having to park and walk with him from far away.

I always have kept our medical cards in my wallet, so I knew I had them. It’s so important to have those readily available so you don’t have to search for info when signing in your child. Keep them in the same place so you don’t lose them and you’ll have them when you need them.

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Once we got into the room and the doctor notified us that he would need stitches, we were honest with KJ and didn’t try to sugarcoat it. We told him it would hurt a bit to get the stitches but that it would help him to feel better later and that it was the best thing for him. We assured him that we would be right by his side and we loved him. We tried to remind him that he was strong and he could handle it. And that the doctor was his friend and is there to help him.

He cried a lot and begged Chris and I to make the doctor stop. Those were some of the toughest moments of my life, feeling so helpless and not being able to stop my child from hurting immediately. It took everything in me not to start bawling, and if I did start to cry, I would just turn my face away. I knew if I got super emotional that it would make it worse for KJ. So if one parent can’t stay calm, it may be best for them to step out during the stitches so your toddler stays calmer.

Once the nine stitches were in, we all felt relieved. We hugged KJ so tight and told him we were so proud of him for how brave and strong he was. We then treated him to his favorite restaurant and got him a cuddly toy. That all seemed to help.

The good news is: Kids heal pretty quickly. Looking at KJ now, age 5, you would never know he busted his eyebrow wide open and had 9 stitches. We followed the doctor’s instructions for healing and treating the wound after stitches and it turned out great.

I know how hard it can be when your child is hurt and there isn’t much you can do to help them. Just know that they most likely won’t remember the pain anyway and that the most important thing you can do for them is comfort them and love them. Also, remember you aren’t alone. None of us parents want to go through that with our kids, but most of us will. And hopefully you’ll all come out of it tougher and closer than before.

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