Thursday, September 13, 2012

a motherhood moment

My heart has never stopped before.

Tonight, I think it did. 

If you have a single judgmental bone in your body, stop reading here.

Few things in this world can simultaneously jolt fear and motherly instinct as quickly as seeing your baby under water, struggling for breath. During her evening bath tonight, Lily fell backwards while I had my back turned for half a second. She had thrown her pacifier into the bathtub drain and I was rinsing it off in the bathroom sink for her. I didn't even hear her fall over. I just turned around and saw her wide eyes looking upwards out of the water. I screamed and wrenched her out, and she coughed out water. She rasped for breath as I held her tightly to my chest, wet naked baby and all. She couldn't even cry at first because she was so flummoxed. Then she began screaming. Oh, how relieved I was to hear those screams. At least they meant that she was breathing. Sobbing, I wrapped her up in a towel and held her to me until she calmed down. Then I made her a bottle and rocked her to sleep. Never in my life has my heart stood so still, nor have I ever felt so overwhelmingly guilty. I never, ever leave the bathroom when Lily is taking a bath. I'm usually sitting right there on my knees, playing with her. It's horrifying to realize how quickly something so terrible could happen to someone so small and precious.    

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