She challenges me every day. EVERY day. I have no idea how I should be parenting her but I hope against hope that keeping her alive and growing is good enough for now.
And then I opened the door after her nap and found her playing in her pack and play, licking some lozenges and shaking a bottle of prescription meds. At least a dozen other miscellaneous pills were scattered around her feet.
I wanted to die. Suddenly, what I'm doing is no longer good enough -- in fact, it's no where near close.
Thankfully God seems to have an override on maternal instincts, because while all I wanted to do was grab her and sob, and hide her away from the danger that had already come, what actually I did was get her to the hospital. I tell her calmly that no, we're not going to the park, we're going to see a special doctor. "I don't wanna see a special doctor. I wanna go to the park." I tell her that maybe we can go to the park tomorrow.
It's not until the nurse in the emergency room asked me what she took that I found it hard to talk and the tears started to fall. In truth I don't really believe that she took anything but that's not the point -- she could have, and that's the hard truth. That's the proof that despite my best efforts, this day they just weren't good enough.
I saw the social worker at the nurses station. We hadn't met yet -- we had an IV to put in first, and a catheter, and a trip to radiology too -- but I knew it was him and I knew why he was there. Confirmation that I hadn't met the mark that day and that The System had to step in. He was apologetic, but he had to do his job. I understand. But I'm used to being on the other side of the patient chart and I knew what was being written. In a blink I was just another lousy parent. Just another one that screwed it up, big time.
He was apologetic, but he had to do his job. The protocol is the same for everyone. He had to notify the State. CPS would be here tomorrow. He would do his best to get us home as soon as possible, but now we had to wait on them.
A night on the pediatric unit, the CPS investigation looming large over our heads, the monitors and IV hooked up to our daughter alarming over and over -- it was a long night for Rob and me. The only comfort was knowing that Sara really was OK. If she did indeed swallow anything there was no evidence found in her labs or behavior. Sara was fine.
We were not.
Sara's pediatrician came in first thing and assured us that, never mind this, we are good parents. Our daughter, despite this mistake -- a terrible, scary MISTAKE -- is thriving. She is smart, and strong, and now also so brave. We're not bad. We're human. We're going to be OK -- she would help to make sure of it.
And we are OK, or will be. As it turned out the investigator was a very nice, normal woman. She was quick and kind, and made what is without a doubt the worst day in my mothering career as painless as she could. And it's over. We're home, together, healthy. That's all that really matters.
This child, she challenges me. EVERY day. Her little tiny life is a force to be reckoned with and this job of being her mother... it's hard. And humbling. And painful.
Thank God it's mine.