first stitches

It was around 11:00am on Tuesday.

Charlie was dressed and I was thinking about jumping in the shower so we could go run our errands for the day.

I had just said to him, “well bud, are you going to want to eat soon, or shall I shower so we can bust out some errands before your next meal?”

The phone rang.

The caller id was Eddie’s daycare which made me immediately say, “oh no,” right out loud.

Because, as Renae said to me later, she does not call to just chat when she has my child.

I figured it was one of two things: either A) he had gotten sick and needed to go home or B) someone had gotten sick and she was letting me know.

I completely wrong.

“Hi, Kate? This is Renae.  There’s been a little accident.”

This is when my throat goes dry, my feet start sweating, and I begin to lean heavily on the counter.

“Uh oh,” I say, trying to keep it light thinking that will lessen whatever she is about to tell me.

“Well, Ed fell and hit his head playing in the sandbox.  He hit it on the trampoline pole.  It’s quite a gash and I am pretty sure he will need stitches.”

I start picturing my baby boy crying with blood spurting out of his head.

My stomach turns.

I don’t really remember the rest of our conversation other than telling her I would be there immediately.

After hanging up the phone, instead of springing into action, I just sort of made a bunch of false starts toward Charlie and the bathroom and the bedroom…I basically froze up with confusion.

This is exhibit one of my feeling like a Mom Fail in the face of an emergency.

So I called Cortney and asked him to please meet me at the ER because I was feeling…scattered…and, if I am honest, scared.

He agreed, I threw on jeans and a shirt and tossed a flower into my unwashed, schizophrenic hair (which worsened the hair, I later realized, rather than helped it), and grabbed the baby (in his car seat), and flew out the door like a mad woman.

I raged at slow not crazy with worry drivers while simultaneously praying that there was no concussion or other damage.

I flew into Renae’s driveway, threw it in park, checked to make sure Charlie was sleeping, and flew to the house.

In the front door, through the house, out to the deck.

There on the ground, sat Renae, (totally calm, I might add), with my baby’s head in her lap.  She was holding a cold washcloth over his gash while talking with all the little girls she had that day.

Eddie was oddly quiet.  He had blood on his shorts and on his shirt.  His big blue eyes just kept moving from face to face as people talked.  Blinking.  Blinking.

His bestie, Brooke, was telling him how she got stitches in the same spot and the doctor gave her a sticky foot toy and it was awesome.

Eddie just looked at her, then to me.  Blink.

Renae explained what happened with all the daycare girls joining in to point out the pole that smacked my baby in the face.

Eddie started to reach for me and said he wanted to go home.

My heart broke.

After getting some gauze on the wound, I picked him up and we headed for the ER where Cort was already waiting for us.

the patient

Eddie immediately clung to his daddy.

Thank goodness I thought to grab pipey and Lamby because he needed his comfort things at that moment.

I had called Eddie’s doc’s office on our way to the ER to give them the heads up, and they contacted the ER to let them know we were on our way, so triage went quickly and we were in an exam room seconds after getting there.

And this is the joy of living in a small town: we were darn close to being the only ones there.  There was NO ONE waiting outside of exam rooms.

We arrived just after 11:30am and were waiting for the nurses to come flush it out and stitch it up by noon.

It was then they came in and told us the options for cleaning it and what we could expect.  They also put Eddie in a tiny little gown.

I had been pretty good about holding it together up until then.

I had been talking with Eddie and feeding Charlie and everything seemed Ok.

Then I saw my baby in a gown and was acutely aware that in moments he was going to be restrained and scared.

I thought I was going to pass out.

I think Charlie must have known because he chose this time to be sick of being held.  He wanted down.  To stretch, to squirm, to be a free-range baby.

And so he started fussing.

Cort encouraged me to take Charlie, get Eddie a treat, and meet them back at home.

Enter exhibit two of my feeling like a Mom Fail.

I took Cort’s advice, and after I got us both in the car, I sat and cried.

The adrenaline leaked out my eyes in the form of an ugly cry.

My first born.  Hurt.  Scared.  Needing to be “repaired” as they told me in the ER.

And I couldn’t even hold it together.

I let myself beat myself up for about 3 seconds.  Then I had to move on.  Charlie was sick of being confined.  I wanted to get Eddie a treat.

It was time to go.

As I was pulling out of Starbucks with a cake pop for the brave patient, I got a text: “All done. Waiting to be discharged, then home.”

They pulled into the driveway about 2 minutes after I did.

Cort brought all the paperwork to me, and took Eddie to his room to change out of the bloody clothes and get in bed for a nap, despite Eddie’s protests that he “did NOT have a big morning!”

Today, our little guy is doing just fine.

What they say about it almost being harder on the momma than on the kid?

Isn’t so far off.


About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Oh, gosh, I feel your pain. It feels like a nightmare when something happens to your child, you feel so hopeless/ helpless that you can’t fix their pain and make it all better for them. Sometimes crying is the only remedie. Hope he feels better soon.

  2. Oh I know, I know!! Poor Eddie, poor you. So glad he’s okay.

    My little guy fell off the couch backwards and hit his head on the coffee table, back in January. I was just a few steps away, coming out of the bathroom and ran over. Picked him up and told him he was okay. Until I put my hand to the back of his head and it was sticky. Blood. So much blood. I calmly walked to where my husband was and together we checked the gash. It was hard to see, so much blood.

    Still calm, we went to the nearest doctor (it was 8pm) and the doctor said it was just a small gash, no stitches required. Yet he decided to try a little glue thing to just pull the gash together. Then followed a horrendous 20 minutes, where 4 grown men tried to restrain my little guy to get him to stay still so they could see to the cut. And he was still bleeding.

    They gave up, sent us home with gauze with instructions to hold it to the back of his head until the bleeding stopped. I don’t know who was more traumatized – me or the poor kid.

    Who was fine by the way. Head wounds are just notoriously bloody.

    So I know, I know. Again, so glad Eddie is fine.

  3. Aww Bless his heart and yours. I am becoming a pro at that though. First butterflies for my oldest when he was learning to walk, then he cut the top of hist thumb off on a swingset. It is scary and ugly and perfectly okay to cry and freak out, just keep it under control when they are in eyeshot. Glad that you and he are okay

  4. Goodness! We had to do the stitches over the eye for my 3 year old and it was heartbreaking- They did the gllue stitches and I was convinced they had glued part of his eye shut. But, even the glue stitches had me sad- the cleaning and restraints were hard to muster for my flailing and scared son. Your little boy looks so little and cute in the bed, though! Poor thing! Glad he’s better….the initial false starting you talk about it isn’t “mom fail” it’s “every mom”…. 🙂

  5. Aw…that pic is so sweet- poor baby- Had a similar experience with my son who got stitches over his eye 🙁 All that false starting and discombobulation isn’t “mom failure” as much as it is “every mother”. 🙂

  6. Brave little man! I freaked with the 1st stitches incident, too. No one wants to see their little one in a hospital gown ever. Glad E’s ok! xoxo

  7. Awe–poor Eddie and poor mom! It is so hard, isn’t it? I remember when Jonah needed to have both of his surgeries and I had to go back in the OR room with him so that they could put him under (they wanted a parent there so that he was more relaxed)….eck–it is a memory that will forever be etched in my brain. This is hard stuff being a parent, isn’t it? Glad he is on the mend!

  8. Aw, poor Eddie! And poor you! It is totally harder on us than it is them! Unfortunately, we’ve had 2 ER visits with SB. I manage to stay calm during, but fall apart after. And we have some medical testing scheduled this summer. Unlike an ER visit, those give me time to worry in advance, a special kind of fun!

  9. Oh honey, I am so sorry you had to go through this. It’s kinda a right of passage with kids. I hope he heals up quickly.

  10. Oh yikes! What a thing to happen. Glad he’s okay. Hopefully he heals quickly.

    Bridge got a good gash from rough play a few years ago and Hubs took her to the ER cause I was all over the place. Plus, I needed to be home with Meg and Sean. Nana met Hubs at the ER and had the lovely job of helping to restrain her while they shot her gash with lidocaine and proceeded to stitch her up. I was told she did amazing and was really most mad about being restrained. Now she has a nice little story to tell about why we do not jump on or off of beds.

  11. I got the dreaded phone call last week, Lily had fallen off the Monkey Bars at school… I pictured a much worse scenario that what really was, thank God. I was able to get her into our pediatrician, who , after an x ray found a small buckle fracture on her arm.. I did fine until they asked me if she got enough calcium..that is when I felt like a mom fail…I thought of all the times she drank something else instead of milk..and how if I had given her more milk she would not have a small fracture in her arm…all of which was untrue. These things happen, and I am thankful it was as minor as it was, and truthfully? It has not slowed her down one bit.:) she actually loves the attention she is getting from her cool new fangled exo cast..:) Gotta love how reslilliant the kiddos are…
    I’m sure Eddie will be bragging about his stitches for weeks to come..:)

  12. Poor guy. I don’t let my kids on trampolines unless they are in a gym, with an instructor and only one person at a time. It was actually a small fight I had with my wife over this, thankfully she came around to my way of thinking. Both of my kids have needed stitches or staples. When Elijah was two, he fell in a store with Melissa and cut his head open on a display case. Then this year Josh who was almost 5 at the time, fell at school on the playground and split his chin down to the bone. It was so scary. Ironically both times I was training the same group of managers and got the call from Melissa during a break. I swear next time that group is in town I am bubble wrapping my kids!

    • he actually wasn’t playing on the trampoline. They aren’t allowed to via daycare rules. He was in the sandbox next to it. He tripped over the sandbox and cracked his little head on the pole. 🙁

  13. Thats exactly how i felt when Ari lost the tip of her finger.. worst. Feeling. Ever.

  14. oh no! poor little eddie! poor mama too, it’s hard to see your baby in pain. i got 24 stitches in my forehead and eyelid when i was seven (dog bite) and the dog bite part was way worse than the actual stitches (i remember both clearly), so i bet eddie was a little trooper. i don’t know that i would have been able to stay and watch the stitches part either, it might have made me pass out.

  15. So scary!! I could feel exactly how you must have felt 🙁 The calls or texts from daycare always terrify me. My daycare has a sweet habit of texting photos but I always get that moment of panic before I see what exactly it is. I know it might feel that way for a while for you, but Eddie was SO BRAVE and you were nowhere near a Mom Fail. You did everything you had to and you worked as a team with your husband and Eddie is all better! That’s what matters 🙂

  16. Poor Eddie! Poor Mommy!

    I remember the first time my daughter hurt herself. She fell down some steps and cut the inside of her lip pretty badly. Also much blood. I was a single mom. I called my Dad. He took off work to take us to the ER.

  17. I remember the school secretary coming into my classroom to tell me Karly had had an accident at preschool.

    We didn’t have phones in our classrooms then and got no cell service inside the buildings so they had to call the front office to send someone to get me.

    Karly had fallen on her face and broken her nose….just two hours after I had left her at the preschool’s Mother’s Day breakfast. My prep period was ending and I had to go back to work.

    She was two. My little peanut. I HATED my job that day.

    So glad Eddie is okay and did NOT have a big morning. You, on the other hand, did.
    You were great, mama. You remembered pipey and Lamby.

    You did just fine.
    Believe it.

  18. This happened to us, almost verbatim. My husband deployed like a freaking EMT and I was running around the house looking for my shoes. God bless the people at the ER for taking one look at us when we walked in and opening every door and making it OK.

    I’m so glad your boy is OK. You will be OK soon, I promise. And you remembered the lovies? Gold star, there, sister. xoxo

  19. mom fail? are you kidding me? you remembered to grab his lovies, that’s an awesome mom! No one likes to see their babies hurt…you did awesome!

  20. AWE!!!! It is the absolute worst when things happen to our babes!

  21. My cousin was falling off of a chair when she was around 18 months, my aunt grabbed her arm and then my cousin was crying and my aunt told her that it was nothing, and to shake it off. My cousin wore a cast for her broken arm for months…things happen and kids are crazy! 🙂

  22. Yep. Yepyepyep. My son’s burn (from a curling iron accident at home) healed much faster than my heart’s pain, and the guilt still stung a year later. The only thing that made it better is most of his friends have made it to the Er for one thing or another, and the fact I had already been through it and told them my story made them feel less guilty.

  23. I had to bring my son (now 5) to the ER for a head gash when he was 2. I know how scary it can be. I didn’t have a newborn at the time, so I could focus my full attention on him. hugs to you, you are a normal mommy. Scars make boys look tough.

  24. When I saw that picture the other day my heart just broke for you. I have had the same reaction that you had on several occasions. We just hurt so much whenever our kids are hurt that it overtakes us. I am so glad that he is ok. You are a great mom. Don’t ever forget that!

  25. Ah, man, I’m so sorry. That is tough. I remember my first child’s first stitches like it was yesterday, down to them strapping him to papoose board, argh, awful. He was 15 mo old. And the time I was in Texas and he was in the Virgin Islands when I got the call he was being stitched up from falling on a pail in a sandbox, argh, awful. The exquisite pain of motherhood. There’s nothing like the way we hurt for them.

  26. I see no evidence of any mom fail!! You did everything exactly right. I’m an ER vet (I promise I don’t beat my kids). You remembered the baby, you called the pediatrician on the way, you remembered his lovey’s, you didn’t panic and freak him out. You did good mama, you did really good!! First time is always the hardest but I hope you don’t have a second time. 🙂

  27. That is so not a mom fail! The fact that you remembered pipey and Lamby is total Rock Star! Also that you remembered Charlie is pretty awesome too! 🙂

    My mom says this sort of thing never goes away, even when the babies aren’t babies anymore. She said walking into the ER room (when my intestines when nutso) and seeing me in there almost brought her to her knees. At that point I was obviously grown and even married! They never stop being our babies. Ever. On a randomly related to that incident note, when I called her before hubs took me to the ER to tell her that I was horribly sick and going to the ER, she replied, “Ok. Let me see. I need to wash my hair…” We still joke about that one. She said, “I have no idea why I said something so totally random.”

    Glad Eddie is okay! And glad you’re okay too! 🙂

  28. How scary! I would have been a bucket of nerves and a puddle of tears too. So glad he is okay!

  29. Mom fail? Never.
    I’d be curled up in the fetal position. It’s funny because I am a Trauma nurse and can deal with any kids blood but my own? Forget it.
    Once I came home from work and Shawn was sitting on the steps…he was hyperventilating and pale. I asked him what was wrong and he said that Chunky ran into our glass coffee table. I went to look and he had a massive gash right beside his eye…and he was happier than a pig in shit…not a care in the world.
    He could have used stitches but because shawn didn’t know what to do, and waited too long to decide, the cut had already started to close. Plus I had glue in the house from being left in my scrub pockets.
    Anyways, I love you. You did a great job. Eddie looks bad ass.

  30. I think you held it together just fine. And what this post made me think of (since I am reading it late and know Eddie is just fine) is how you talked in your other post about being a storyteller.

    And you so are.

    The detail about throwing the flower in your hair? I love that I know that detail.