Last Friday was so normal. James had preschool in the morning and we were meeting my brother Brandon in Sugarhouse Park later in the day.
Sugarhouse Park this time of year is one of my favorite stops. The cottonwoods the line the river are unreal. Gold and yellow and amazing. And paired with a blue sky, well really there is nothing better.
We played with Brandon, threw a few rocks into the river, looked at the pipe James was obsessing about, and petted a few dogs.
Near the end of the playdate the kids played on the bridge while I chatted with my brother who has been traveling internationally for two months.
I kept my eyes on my children while I heard about Switzerland, Croatia, Thailand and so many in between.
And then I saw it, almost in slow motion. Juliet leaned back against the vertical parallel bars (the bars that I assumed were quite close together) and began to slip. It was almost slow motion. I cried out. I saw her falling backwards threw the bridge, into the rocky river below.
Juliet, with the bridge behind her. See those parallel bars? It didn't even occur to me that she could slip through them. For this, I will never ever live down.
The next minute is a blur. I remember running, falling hard on the river bank in some huge boulders, and snatching my thankfully crying girl out of the river. She was wet, but her face was not under the water.
I thought I would find my baby dead. I can not get that out of mind. I thought her head would hit a rock and I would find blood and death.
This thought brings so much fear and dread and anxiety. Seeing her slipping through those bars was easily the scariest moment of my life so far. And it's ingrained in my head. I close my eyes and see it. I go to the grocery store and replay it, crying in the middle of the pasta aisle.
I scooped up my crying baby who on quick glance wasn't bleeding. I was soaked, since I jumped in the river without a moments notice. James was bawling on the bridge above me. He had seen the entire thing.
I started sobbing. My poor brother had no idea how to help. James needed me, he saw the scariest moment too. Three year olds shouldn't witness such horrors.
Juliet needed me. She was drenched, shaken, hurt, and so so frightened. I needed to know my baby was ok. I just needed to know she was fine.
Back at the car I changed her clothes. I wanted to inspect her body and check get her into something dry and warm.
She seemed ok. For that I was beyond thankful.
On the drive home (where I was in shock) I realized I couldn't take this baby home. She had fallen backwards off a bridge into the rocky stream below.
I drove her strait to the ER.
When I told them upon entering that my baby fell off a bridge I was whisked back, no waiting room for me. A doctor saw us immediately, and E joined us moments later. Thank goodness he was in town. Oh my god, thank goodness.
They brought us to a trauma room where ten doctors joined us to examine. They wanted to make sure she wasn't paralyzed (something that hadn't even crossed my mind) and wanted to make sure her skull was in tact, and she didn't have a brain bleed.
I went from being chipper and fake happy for James (who was standing by my side watching the entire thing) so sobbing uncontrollably.
The only bump she got was this little one on her forehead. I think she fell onto her back, so how she got this, I am unsure.
THANK GOD everything looked ok. They wanted to keep her for six hours for monitoring, and then we could bring her home.
And home we did. I slept on her floor the first night. She needed me. Every time she would lie still the memories would come back to her, and she would start sobbing "Mommy!" And I needed her. I needed to know she was ok. I needed to show her and tell her that I was always always there for her, no matter what.
I needed to prove to her that even though I let her fall (it was my fault. I was watching her. I was responsible. Yes it was a freak accident, but it was MY fault) I would always always be there for her.
The rest of the weekend was a mix of emotions. Lots and lots of crying. Lots and lots of thinking about what I was thankful for. Lots and lots of hugs and kisses and saying "I love you".
James had seen it all and both of us are still working through a lot of post traumatic stress.
We will be ok. After all, Juliet is here, she is with us. Her guardian angel is amazing, because while I am bruised and broken, Juliet doesn't have a scratch on her.
PS - Juliet, this is the second very very scary trip to the ER with you (in three months!). Let's not ever do that again, ok?