B-R-O-K-E-N and Blue

Saturday night I was sitting at the Eastside Centre in East Peoria, Illinois watching my softball team play for 3rd place in State of Illinois 4A Tournament.

We had been in Central Illinois with my team since Thursday, my parents on “Brady Duty” while I coached and Glenn traveled for work. The season was ending that night. Summer was here. Glenn was home from a rare business trip. We were going to settle in and start preparing for the arrival of our second child.

I checked my phone after the second inning and saw I missed a call from my mom. Weird I thought to myself. Maybe he is running a fever since the daycare cold refuses to quit. Or maybe she has something to ask me about food. No. Not my ma’s style to call me about something that minuscule. Then I saw a text message asking me to call her. My mama’s instinct kicked in and I knew, just knew, that something was wrong.

She and my dad had been watching Brady all weekend while I was coaching. They had taken him to the splash park, eaten Dairy Queen, watched Mickey Mouse and gone to the park. Honestly I am not even sure Brady knew I was gone those two afternoons. My mama and papa care for him sometimes better than I think I do. They have those instincts that you can’ t teach. Brady whines when my dad leaves the room. He looks for my mom at meal time. He was safe. But I just knew something was not right.

I grabbed my phone and walked behind the grandstand and dialed the number I know by heart and dial each morning. I dialed with an urgency I couldn’t place, my heart beating quicker with each breath.

“What’s wrong?”
“Well, Kristi, we think Brady got hurt at the park today.”
“Hurt? What do you mean? Is he upset?”
“No, not right now but he can’t stand on his leg. We think he may need to go to the ER.”
“What happened?”
“We aren’t sure. He went down the slide with grandpa and started crying.”
“I am on my way home. Pack a diaper bag with food, toys etc… and I will meet you there.”
“I am so sorry sweetheart”
“Sorry? For what? You and dad didn’t do anything.”

I rushed back to the dugout, found my assistant athletic director explained to her Brady had been hurt and going to ER and that I needed to leave. I ran out of the Eastside Centre, literally ran if you can imagine a 28 week pregnant girl doing this, to my car.

I picked up my phone and drove, quickly but safely, back to Bloomington. For some reason, I was calm. I knew I needed to call my husband who was 120 miles away. I knew I needed to think clearly because there was a 20 month old that was going to need his mama.

My next phone call was to Glenn.
“I need you to go somewhere alone, where you can be calm, listen and hear me.”
“Okay. What’s up?”
“Brady got hurt at the park. My parents think he broke his leg. I am meeting them at the ER.”
“Do you want me to get in the car and drive down?”
“No. Let me see what is going on when I get to the ER.”

I got to the Bromenn Regional Medical Center Emergency Room in Normal, at the exact minute my parents got there. He wasn’t crying. He smiled when he saw me and my dad got him out of the car. He waved and for a moment I wondered if my parents, were just overreacting.

The next hour was a blur…a quick blur. The diagnosis was spiral tibula fracture. I remember the doctor saying, “common, toddlers, easy to heal” but past I couldn’t tell you what she said.

An almost 20 month old with a fracture in his leg.

I have never seen this sadness in my dad’s eyes before. He felt responsible, guilty and horrible even though we didn’t and still don’t blame him. Accidents happen. They happen every single day. My papa…being a good grandpa and honoring my toddler’s wishes rode down the slide with him and somehow in a freak accident, his tibula fractures.

After getting a temporary cast put on, we were on our way. We needed to see an orthopedic surgeon and had to wait until Wednesday so the swelling would subside. All I could think, was this is our new normal. 28 weeks pregnant and our new normal.

I was a rock until Sunday afternoon and we were driving back to Chicago. I am not sure what the trigger was but I couldn’t keep it in. The tears flowed. I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t angry. I was emotional. I was hormonal. I was selfishly sad for how quickly “summer” had just changed. I was taking it worse than Brady. I spent most of the day crying. And that night, as Glenn pulled me close, after he couldn’t listen to me cry as I did laundry, ate yogurt, or sat at the table, I released what I had been thinking for so long.

This is MY FAULT. This is because I am selfish. This is because I couldn’t walk away from something that is my passion. If I wasn’t coaching, this wouldn’t have happened. If I wasn’t trying to “do it all”, as he reminds me so frequently when life spirals out of control our house, this wouldn’t be our new normal. I am reason he his hurt. I am the reason our summer will be “different”. I did this.

This week our “new normal” has been a roller coaster. Monday was okay. Not great but okay. See, when you can’t burn energy you have a lot. And you don’t nap. Making a pregnant mama crazy and a toddler pretty upset. Tuesday was bad. Brady was unhappy, I was unhappy and we were a puddle of tears by the time Glenn came home to rescue us. My OB appointment did not go well and I knew I was in trouble, physically and emotionally. I threw myself a pity party most of the day.

I woke up today knowing that we would get answers. We would know what life was going to be like. I knew today, I needed to buck up. My husband will tell you that “carry” to much but today I knew I needed to carry my emotions quietly. I need to be a mama.

We had our first appointment with an orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Memorial. We got this shiny blue cast.
There were positives and negatives. The good news is that it will be taken off in four weeks, ironically on our wedding anniversary. Also good, is that the doctor told us Brady will not remember this and it will not impact him whatsoever going forward. More good news is that it is waterproof so he gets to take a bath and we actually have to get it wet every day. (Edit: This has been interesting. After the bath tonight we couldn’t figure out how to drain it. But we knew it was not drained because Brady was leaving these little puddles wherever he sat.) The bad news is that the cast is over the knee and half way up the thigh.

He scoots. He army crawls. He still finds a way to get in to things he is not supposed to be in. Today, as I was preparing lunch I put him in front of the Wiggles on TV only to find he had scooted to the playroom and found a crayon to color our walls with. Normally, I would be pissed, but today, I was just proud. He does love the extra snuggles (so do we). He watches more TV than we would like. We are adjusting to our new normal. He has clearly adjusted better than we have.

Do we need help? Yes. My OB has made it clear that she will not allow me to care for Brady alone at the expense of our little girl. Are we going to have to get some help? Yes. And we have friends and family who are willing. Accepting it is hard.

So, our new normal is normal. It’s not so bad. It’s hard but it’s just a curve ball in our game of life. And I think one day we will look back and laugh. As the doctor told us today, this will be something to look at in pictures years from now and laugh with him about.

Disclaimer: I tried to be objective and honest when writing this. There is a fine line between negligence and accidents. Four days later I blame NO ONE, not even myself. I want anyone who reads this to know that I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world for the amazing dad I have. I do not blame him. There is no one to blame. It was a fluke accident and it could have happened to any of us with Brady.