Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Recital: Ballet or Drama?

One of my favorite holiday events is the girls' Christmas recital. I eagerly anticipate watching the ballet, but this year's production was interrupted by drama.

Friday night before the recital, I was putting the finishing touches on supper as the girls played nearby in the family room. Suddenly I heard a crash and Mary Ashley's scream. "Girls, this is why we don't play with the ottoman," I scolded, barely looking up from my dinner preparations. (Oh, yeah -- mommy guilt about that now.) But then Mary Ashley started crying hysterically, shouting, "Blood, Mommy! There's blood!" So I called her to me, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the back of her head.

The girls had been playing with the ottoman, and when Mary Ashley tried to jump off, it flipped over and flung her into the fireplace hearth. The back of her head hit the edge with such force it chopped her hair off at the wound. She was bleeding profusely, the blood quickly soaking her hair and clothes. With Mary Ashley's long hair, it was difficult to assess the wound. I called for Joe, who quickly grabbed a towel and hopped in the car with Carson to speed her to the emergency room.

Christian, Emma and I sat at home, still dumbfounded by the sight we had just witnessed. On his way out the door, Joe urged me to get Emma ready for the recital.

Mary Ashley cried on the way to the hospital, but settled down when triage cleaned up the wound. Joe and Carson kept the mood light, and she giggled as they sat together in the waiting room.

At home, Christian led a prayer as he, Emma and I sat down to supper. "Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, take care of Mary Ashley," he pleaded. We ate quietly, painfully aware that half the places at our table were empty.

I helped Emma get dressed, pulled her hair into two ponytails and added rosey circles to her cheeks. Joe checked in. The doctor said Mary Ashley had a deep gash about 1.5 inches long. He would let me know more as details unfolded. She was calm and very cooperative.

Just as we were heading out the door, Joe texted me: "Cracked her skull." I called him immediately, and he urged me to let Emma dance with her class before going to the hospital.

So we headed to the recital, anticipation overshadowed by worry.

Emma's class took the stage first, and I wasn't sure how she would do without her big sister nearby. In the spring recital, I had smiled before the lights came up for each number to see Mary Ashley's silhouette taking Emma's hand and leading her to her spot on stage. Without her big sister's direction, I wasn't sure what Emma would do. But she walked onstage with the rest of her class and took her place centerstage. She looked out into the audience, not smiling, but not frozen either. She said her name when prompted, and knealt down to start the song.

I was so proud of my little Emma!



I know her heart was heavy with worry over her best friend, but she danced beautifully.

As her class descended the stage, I sent Christian down front to meet Emma so we could rush to the hospital. I checked in with Joe, and he said Mary Ashley would need staples to close the wound. The doctor wanted to keep Mary Ashley overnight to monitor for brain swelling. So we ran home to pack a few things for the night, then headed to the hospital.

Mary Ashley had just gotten into her hospital room when we arrived. Joe said getting the staples in was traumatic for him, Carson and Mary Ashley, but she settled down quickly once that was over. Mary Ashley looked so small sitting on the hospital bed, a knit cap covering her bandaged head. She smiled brightly when we entered, excited to show us the coloring book and crayons one of the nurses had given her. Still in her recital costume, Emma let Mary Ashley choose one of the gifts I had wrapped for the recital, and the girls opened their ballerina Barbies. We all lingered together for a while before Joe took the other children home and left me to spend the night with Mary Ashley.

I was so thankful to have some quiet time with my sweet girl. We snuggled on her bed together, coloring and chatting about the evening. Nurses checked in often throughout the night, doing neurological tests to make sure she was OK. They all doted on her, and one pronounced her the sweetest patient she had ever assessed. A CT scan in the morning revealed no swelling, so we were released about lunchtime on Saturday. Her doctor checked on her several times and said he could not believe the force of the trauma she had suffered, but also how calm and agreeable she was despite her injury. He told us this was a close call and we are very lucky, but I would say we are blessed. As a precaution, the doctor is sending us for a follow-up visit with a neurosurgeon at Birmingham Children's Hospital, but we expect to get a good report.

We appreciate the prayers and phone calls from friends who checked in on us during this ordeal. It was a frightening experience, and we are so very thankful that Mary Ashley is back home with us -- still her sweet, bubbly self. God is good. And we are grateful.

30 comments:

Joanne Kennedy said...

Oh I am SOOOOOO happy this had a happy ending to the story. How scary for all of you.

Sounds like you had a few "big" girls that night. One being brave at the hospital and one being brave on stage.

Hugs,
Joanne

Workin' MAMA! said...

Oh my goodness - God is a healer and he shall be there throughout the tests - we expect a good report! You are right, GOD IS GOOD! His mercy endureth forever! Be blessed and we shall keep your baby girl in our prayers!
working mama in the nw -
latrice

Sandy said...

I'm so glad that Mary Ashley is doing well. What an experience for her and what a young lady she was through out the trauma. Emma was adorable in her costume and very grown up too out on stage without her older sister. God has blessed you and your family.

Teacup Lane (Sandy)

my craft and art creations said...

What a frightening experience!!!
I am very glad that Mary Ashley is doing well!!!
Thank good!!
I wish for a Quick Healing!!!
Her sister Emma was adorable in her costume and did well !!!
Greedings from Greece!!

Ariadone said...

How frightening. These indoor accidents demands our strength so much. I find that you report the events so beautifully here with the beautiful close up of the little dancer. I pray that you all will recuperate from these events and pain well and bring my love to these lovely sister: one the victim one the victorious.
Bless you, sweet mom.
Godeliva

Laura said...

OMGoodness! I am so glad Mary Ashley is well!

Jennifer Driver said...

I am so thankful my sweet Mary Ashley is okay! We are blessed! Love you!

Vonda said...

What a scary experince! I am so very glad that Mary Ashley is okay. Please give her a big hug from Hannah! We will be praying about your appointment in Birmingham. Love you!

Betsy said...

So glad she is okay!

Robyn said...

Oh, Melissa! I am so sorry to hear about your difficult and scary weekend! I'm so gratful that she is okay . . . what a mighty God we serve! Prayers of blessing, complete and speedy healing are headed up on your behalf.

sonja said...

So glad she is doing fine now. It's a 'perspective' lesson when these things happen, isn't it? Suddenly all the rest isn't so important. And little Emma, she did so well! Blessings and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Rach said...

Oh poor thing. :( Thank God everything is ok. Glad you were still able to attend the dance and that you all got some time together (even at the hospital). Many blessings.

Christina said...

I'm glad to read all ended well.....when something happens to you family nothing else is more important....
Blessings to you and your family

Susan Wicker said...

Dear Melissa....Oh, thank the Baby Jesus that Mary Ashley came through that terrible experience with flying colors. She is such a beautiful little girl. It must have been so scary for all your family. May the rest of your Christmas season be totally blessed. Sincerley, Susan from writingstraightfromtheheart.blogspot.com

The Adventures of Baby Bond said...

Melissa, We have been praying for Mary Ashley and your family. I am so glad to hear she is doing better.

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

That must have been so scary for all of you! I went through something similar with my daughter when she was little. She had to get five stitches in the front of her forehead just at the hairline! You are so lucky Joe was home! I had to call 911 because it was just me and my kids.

I'm so glad she is doing well now! Those type of things are so scary!

Becky said...

I am so glad that GOd was watching out for you guys during this! Head trama is super scary. And blood just makes it all seem even more scary. Sorry that she had to get staples. I imagine that was no fun for anyone. God is good!

Grace at Home said...

Oh my word, Melissa! You must have been beside yourself with fright! Praise God Mary Ashley is home, safe. I will certainly pray for her.

Tammy said...

I have been following for a while. Let me just say, I learn so much from you...on being a mother, on being a wife, on making each moment special, and on being a Christian woman. I feel like I have gotten to know you and your family as I have had the opportunity to visit your blog. I cringed as I read the story. My heart just went out to all of you. I'm still a new mom so I don't think I would have handled it as well...or even as well as Mary Ashley and Emma did! What a blessing that she is okay! My thoughts and prayers are with you all!

Cindy said...

Thank the Lord your precious girl is okay. God is good, all of the time. Hugs, Cindy S

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

Bless ALL of your hearts and particularly Mary Ashley. Cool heads surely did prevail and I'm so happy that Emma was able to perform. Staples!! Oh my goodness gracious...

Allison said...

Oh my goodness! I am so sorry that happened. God bless you all and a speedy recovery.

Jennifer said...

We had this happen to our Tori when she was just 10 WEEKS old. A fractured skull! We were scared to death. Leslie was carrying her out the front door when he slipped on a patch of ice in late November. He fell backwards with her onto the steps and the force knocked Tori out of his arms. Later,his back looked like someone had beat him with a baseball bat. We rushed to the hospital and after Cat Scans, we were told she had a fractured (cracked) skull. We were in the hospital for four days and luckily there was no bleeding or swelling of the brain. I say all of that to let you know that we know firsthand how scary this can be and my prayers are with you all. Tori is a "normal" fourteen-year-old teenage girl now, so God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Blessings and Merry Christmas to your family!

sweeter and the bubbas said...

We prayed for y'all in class Sunday! Is she going to school this week? I hope she is feeling better...and you too!! :-)

LeeAnne said...

You know what amazes me most about this post? Not that God is so good - we know that - or that your family banded together in prayer. It's the look on Emma's face in those pictures. She always strikes me as such a fun-loving, somewhat mischieveous child, based on the pictures you post - she's always smiling. But you can see all over her face the concern and worry she has for her big sis - so sweet and a little heartbreaking at the same time.

I'm glad Mary Ashley's story has such a happy ending! Merry Christmas!

Nancy said...

Oh dear friend, I am so glad you've posted this as I have prayed for her and wondered how she was. So thankful it wasn't more serious and that 'the show went on' :) Now, I bet YOU need some rest ;)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oh, Melissa... how terrifying this must have been for your family! I am in tears reading it. Tears for that precious little one and how brave she is, and tears of joy that she is going to be fine. Praise GOD!

I am praying for her right this minute and praying health and healing to her body.

XO,

Sheila

Dell Miller, Owner said...

I havent cked the blogs for a bit and when Iread about Mary Ashley my heart sunk. I am the grandma in Idaho who thinks your girls look like angels so my heart was broke to know one of them hurt. I pray all is well and that both girls will have a very Merry Chistmas.
smiller

"Blossom" said...

God heard your family's prayer.
What a blessing this time of year
for him to know what he had to do and that was to make sure she was ok. Praise our god!

Live.Love.Eat said...

OH Melissa, my heart is skipping a beat as I read this. Thankfully I had started at the top of your blog so I knew things were better and she is OK.

Thank GOD.

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