Written by Amber Hodges, June 2021
Being a mom of three boys means that I am no stranger to injuries or wild shenanigans. However, about two months ago my youngest son, who is three years old, took our familiarity with tragedy to new heights.
It was the beginning of December, and I had just taken my oldest son (Rhett, 10yrs old) to school. My younger two sons (Larsen, 5, and Baylor, 3) and I ran a few errands before heading back home, and as we drove back to the house it began to snow. I clearly recall thinking how calming and beautiful the fresh snow was while the boys sang Have a Holly Jolly Christmas in the back seat. We got home, and I sent them upstairs to the loft to play together while I cleaned the main floor. They ran to the only window located upstairs to watch the snow fall, and I began mopping the floor. A few minutes later, Larsen started screaming and ran down the stairs.
“BAYLOR FELL OFF THE ROOF! BAYLOR FELL OFF THE ROOF!” was ringing from the top of his lungs and sheer terror emanated from his face. I knew that was impossible, because there was no way to get to the roof from where they were, however, I also knew that falling out of that window was possible. And that also meant dropping 20 feet toward our concrete porch. I sprinted out the front door, and found Baylor laying in my flower bed screaming. Larsen had opened the window to get a better look at the snow, and with Baylor standing on the window seat pressing on the screen, the move proved to be severe. Baylor tumbled end over end toward the ground, with nothing between the two, other than that screen.
I abandoned all emergency protocol I knew about not moving someone who could have a spine or neck injury, scooped him up, and ran into the house. I’m pretty ok in crisis situations, so I had the coherency to give him an immediate once over and check for injuries. After going through concussion protocol, it was obvious he had a concussion, though I wasn’t sure to what degree. His limbs seemed free from injury, as did everything else, except a scrape on his forehead. He had no physical manifestations of injury outside of that forehead scrape, which looked like road rash, and the inability to put any weight on his left foot. I knew I needed to take him in.
I called my husband at work, relayed the story, and he rushed home to go to the emergency room with me. That was a harrowing drive, as my son was still screaming and I was sobbing. Baylor threw up a few times in the car. My mind raced a million directions.
Why hadn’t I been more careful? Cleaning the floors was not a top priority. I should have watched more closely. What kind of injuries were we going to discover? Would they call social services and take my son from me due to my negligence? What about Larsen? He watched him fall. What kind of trauma was he going to have to work through?
GUILT. GUILT. GUILT. GUILT. GUILT.
The emergency room doctors and nurses were magnificent. We didn’t wait for a single second, but instead were rushed back and they immediately peppered us with questions while examining him. We learned that if we had called 9-1-1 they would have immediately dispatched life flight. They do that for any fall that is double a person’s height. For 3 year old Baylor, that 20 foot fall was well over double. MRI. X-ray. Screaming. Crying. More questions. Then my phone started blowing up with texts and calls. My mother-in-law, who had gone across the street to see if our neighbor’s Ring doorbell may have caught the fall, told our neighbor what had happened. Word spread like wildfire, and we were flooded with messages of concern and love. The entire emergency room experience was very overwhelming and I noticed myself shutting down. I climbed into the bed with a sleeping Baylor and cried. For a good hour and a half. I left that bed an entirely different person than the one who climbed in. I’m pretty sure that person is gone forever.
The scans all came back clear, diagnosis was a moderate concussion, and they kept us for a few hours to monitor him. By some miracle, Baylor had fallen straight out of the window and missed our concrete porch which stuck out over 6 feet. The flower bed caught him, and saved him from significant injury, and the fact that he survived the fall at all is nothing short of miraculous.
It took about a month before Baylor could put any weight on his left foot. Nothing was broken, so we assumed a deep bruise or sprain, and today he has no signs or symptoms of that fall.
Raising boys is not for the faint of heart, and being a mother is the hardest, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.