#Momlife, Family Health

Taking Our Baby to the E.R. for the First Time

The following is one of those parenting moments that you think will never happen to you. It’s the kind of thing you’d read in a magazine or see on television. You’d feel sorry for those parents, but never in a million years would you be those parents.

This is what happened last Friday…


Kyle came home from work to find Eva still down for her nap. She isn’t usually asleep that late, but we’d gone to Costco and our day had been thrown a bit off. We’ve also been collectively sick as a family for the last week or so, so a little extra rest wasn’t going to hurt anyone. As we were catching each other up on our days, we could hear the baby starting to wake up in the other room, so Kyle went to collect her and surprise her with a little Daddy time.

He brought her out almost immediately and said, “We have a problem.” Then he turned her head to the side and I could see that her ear and cheek were covered in dried blood. It’s amazing how many conclusions your mind can jump to in a microsecond when you’re in charge of a tiny being that’s apparently been injured. Aneurysm? Foreign object? Bar fight? A quick sweep of the area revealed no cuts, so the blood had to be coming from inside of her ear. All sense of reality left. Was her brain coming out of her ears? Is this what they said would happen if she bonked her soft spot?

It was, naturally, ten minutes after the pediatrician’s office had closed, so I had to page the doctor on call through the service. In the meantime, I spoke to my father (also a doctor) and he calmly theorized that she had ruptured her eardrum. Apparently if you have an ear infection and it gets really bad, the fluid can build up until it actually tears the eardrum. I guess it isn’t too big of a deal, except for the part where we’re such awesome parents that we didn’t notice our baby had an ear infection. The pediatrician on call phoned in and added a second vote to the eardrum rupture theory. He told us to take her in right away to see someone to make sure that no permanent damage had been done.

All of this, by the way, is surreal when it’s happening. I have always thought hospital-related stuff is surreal. One minute you’re debating about frozen pizza vs. enchiladas for dinner and the next minute you’re trying to pack a supply bag and grab insurance cards so you can head out to the emergency room for what may very well be a 12+ hour stay. Kyle and I have become pretty comfortable with emergency rooms thanks to my heart’s tendency to go into a-fib, but we’ve never had any reason to take Eva. I admit, even for a “minor” eardrum explosion, it was a little terrifying.

We live less than ten minutes from the best pediatric hospital in the valley, so we took her to that E.R. They got us into a room quickly and started doing little tests. Temperature: normal. Blood pressure: normal. With every single test, I managed to come up with some alternate ending to our evening. A ruptured eardrum that results in permanent loss of hearing in her right ear. A ruptured eardrum that results in a permanent loss of balance, restricting her to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. A rare condition in which the brain actually does liquefy and fall out. It was all possible.

Fast forward an hour or so to the doctor coming in to see us. Kyle held a screaming Eva while the nice woman peered into her ears with the scope and pronounced her eardrums to be perfectly healthy and intact. A careful examination of the ear revealed a tiny scratch, pinhead-size, in one of the top folds, probably as a result of Eva’s careless fingernails. A dap of antiseptic and 20 pages of paperwork later and we were released to make room for the legitimately sick children coming into the hospital.

The parents who took their kid to the top pediatric hospital in the state because she had a microscopic scratch on the outside of her ear. Yeah, we’re those people.

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  • Reply Michelle O (Disney Wedding Blog Mentor)

    That'll be me…so don't feel bad…My husband is already preparing for it. 🙂

    Better to be safe than sorry…and you had 2 medical professionals tell you that taking her was a good idea, so blame it on them 🙂

    March 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm
  • Reply Sara-Jayne

    So glad she's okay ~ I've been there… Took Jensen to the ER (A&E) because I tripped up the stairs and his head lightly pressed against the wooden step. Not even a knock, just a press. I thought I had crushed his skull.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm
  • Reply Taryn Young

    That would be me too. My husband is so laxed on most things, I am a super worrier with the kids. Better to be safe, I say 🙂 Glad to here she is fine.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm
  • Reply Ari

    Glad she is ok. I take my daughter into the Drs if she gets a little sick. Always be safe:)

    March 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm
  • Reply The Ogdens

    Is it bad that I laughed at the conclusion of this story? This is so something that would happen to you. Did the doctor say "oh that looks really bad that's so going to leave a mark"

    March 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm
  • Reply Gaylin

    I'm also on the side of better safe than sorry.
    I am so happy she is okay.
    You learned you could both deal with a crisis and hopefully won't ever have to again.

    March 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm
  • Reply Hope at Disneyland

    I hate e.r.'s and hospitals so I got really nervous when I read your blog post. I'm SO RELIEVED that everything is okay and Eva just had a little scratch.

    I'm also relieved that Eva's first medical emergency turned into one more funny story for you to re-tell her when she's older. *hugs*

    March 27, 2012 at 7:32 pm
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