A Broken Child Unnoticed

How can a mom not know her daughter broke her arm?

Two boys, and the girl is the first in a cast?  Go figure. 

Picture this.  We're sitting in the the urgent care center at the Kaiser Facility in Towson.  The doctor asked, "What happened?"  Fair question. 

My answer?  "Would you believe me if I said I have no idea?"

Doctor: "Believe it or not, it happens all the time."  Enter sigh of relief.  I was pretty much expecting for Child Protective Services to show up right then and there.  Seriously, how does your 2-year-old break her arm and no one notices?

Of course we all know that hind sight is 20/20, so here's what we can piece together: On Wednesdays I work in Annapolis, so my friend and fellow Mom watches my kids.  She didn't mention any tragic events so I didn't really think to look for anything abnormal.  As I'm putting on Madison's pajamas, she winces out in pain.  Granted, they were tight fitting pjs, so I just assumed I had caught her finger or something.  As soon as the arm was through the sleeve, she stopped. 

Bedtime went off without a hitch.  The next morning, I was putting on her fleece, and she did it again, winced out in pain.  This time I thought I'd just check.  Maybe she had a bruise or something.

When I looked closely at her arm, I noticed a small bump.  So I felt it.  Um, that's not a bruise.  That's a bone.  I guess were going to the doctor.

At this point, I'm still calm.  She's doesn't seem to be in any pain.  I drop my middle child off with a friend and head up to Towson. 

The doctor does a full examination of Madison's arm and she doesn't even flinch.  She notices the bump, but figures it must be something else.  A break would cause far more discomfort, so one would think.  "Let's do an x-ray just to make sure."

Off we go to radiology.  Madison isn't one to be forced to do anything, so of course, holding her arm under a big scary machine didn't exactly go over well.  But it was over in a few seconds and we were back in the doctor's office.

A few minutes later the doc comes in and literally says, "You got yourself a trooper because that arm is broken." 

In a way I expected it, but I still wasn't prepared.  How in the world did my 2-year-old little girl break her arm?

While we're waiting for the doctor to get the casting stuff, I texted the babysitter. 

"Did Madison fall yesterday?  She seems to have a broken arm."  In hind sight, I probably just freaked her out, but in the facility I couldn't call her.  I could only text. 

Her response, "actually she did fall, but only cried for a couple minutes and then acted completely normal.  I didn't think anything of it."  Yep, I totally freaked her out.  I spent the next few texts trying to explain that it wasn't her fault and that I wasn't at all mad.  (Oh and that I would have called, but I can only text in the doctor's office). 

Even as they were applying the lime green cast, Madison still just looked completely unscathed.  In fact, she was more intrigued than anything.  I couldn't help but be proud.  Yes, I was still struggling with feeling like a horrible mother who allowed a broken arm to go unnoticed for nearly 18 hours, but still...I was definitely proud.

I looked right into my daughters eyes and said, "think of it this way honey, at least childbirth will be a breeze." 

In the days after, I had Mom after Mom come to me and say that the same thing had happened to them.  Though it made me feel a little better, I couldn't shake the guilt.  I guess that comes naturally.  Aren't we always questioning our abilities as Supermoms? 

Lesson learned: Just because they act okay doesn't mean they're actually okay. 


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