Sunday, October 7, 2012

Photo Phail

For some reason, we haven't really ever had professional photos taken of our family. I'm not sure why,  but I guess we've just never really gotten it together enough to find a photographer who shoots on the weekend (since Brad is usually out of town during the week) and get them scheduled.

But then my friend/neighbor across the street had a good friend who started a photography business and took some beautiful photos of her family in the spring. So I booked her over the summer for last Saturday and we were FINALLY going to have some family photos done. I was thinking Christmas card, maternity shots, some photos of Brad and me for our 10th anniversary, etc.

I went and had my hair blown out and got us all dolled up in coordinating outfits. We got to the botanical gardens and met the photographer, Meredith, who had some great ideas on where to shoot the photos. We started shooting and got about 10 or 15 minutes into our hour-long session before Charlie started getting restless. Doesn't take him long!

We decided to let him go run around in the green space behind us while Brad and I took some photos of just the two of us. Charlie started climbing the stone steps up to the gazebo when we heard him fall. Meredith ran back to check on him and then asked Brad to come back and told me to stay put. Then Brad told me to stay back too.

I finally caught a glimpse and saw blood. I couldn't really tell how much because Brad was keeping Charlie's head near his shoulder. We rushed over to where they were setting up for a wedding at the building next door to see if they had a first aid kit. They didn't, but got us some wet towels.

By this time, there was blood everywhere. He had tripped up the stone steps into a brick ledge, which hit him right at his hairline. The cut was somewhere on his forehead and OMG those bleed a lot. I knew this in theory, but seeing it person on your 3 year old is like a punch in the gut. It was hard to breathe.

Brad and Charlie rode up with one of the landscapers in his cart to the main building while Meredith and I walked up. When we got there, Charlie was laying on the ground with pressure on his wound, which was still bleeding too fast for us to tell how big it was. We talked about taking him to urgent care, but the botanical garden staff asked if we could instead have an EMT come assess him and decide what we should do. This sounded reasonable.

For some reason, we were thinking the EMT was someone on staff. But they actually called an ambulance and all the sudden we had 3 ambulance people around us. After getting details about the fall (face forward, uphill, etc.) they told us they didn't think we should have moved him from the spot and wanted to get him assessed for neck and spinal injuries. That's when Things Got Real. That's when I went from worried to panicked. That's when I cried.

They had to put one of those little neck braces on him and strap him to the board to go on the stretcher. Charlie got scared and cried at that point. I held his hand and we went and got on the ambulance. Once we were in the ambulance he went from scared to realizing he was in an ambulance and this is the coolest thing ever. The EMTs seemed relaxed so I tried to relax. There were no sirens. That was good; it would have really freaked me out.

We got to St. Mary's, which has a really good pediatric ER and Charlie could see enough to notice the other ambulances parked outside. This was Very Cool. It was quiet in the pediatric ER, so we had about 6 nurses in our room immediately. Charlie was talking up a storm at this point, Brad showed up after driving our car over from the gardens, and the doctor came in to do the spinal evaluation.

Within 5 minutes of being there we were told there was nothing to worry about and his neck and spine were fine. After that we breathed a huge sigh of relief. The adrenaline subsided. All there was to do was get stitches and we would be free to go. They used some gel on his forehead to numb the wound and 30 minutes later they stitched him up.

Charlie was such a trooper the whole time. He talked to the nurses about his Halloween costume, his favorite soccer teams, his friends at school, his dogs. Had some apple juice and played games on my phone. During the stitches he sat perfectly still and didn't cry. I was so proud of him.

He ended up getting 5 stitches on his forehead that should dissolve soon since it's now been a week. The cut was underneath his hair, so for the most part you can't see anything. His hair was pink from the blood, but that all came out.

Also - if you ever need to get a tough blood stain out, the doctor told us soaking in hydrogen peroxide and water before washing would get it out - and he was right!

I got the sweetest messages afterwards from Meredith, the photographer (not to be confused with Meredith, my sister!), worried about Charlie and about us. She did the session on the house and sent me a CD of the photos she did get, some of which were just amazingly good considering the limited time she had to shoot.

Richmond folks, if you are interested in Meredith's photography, here is her web site:

and Facebook page:

It would just figure the one time I finally get us all together to get photos done this would happen! But we are very grateful Charlie wasn't hurt any more seriously. And I am grateful I got a few good shots to remember this time in our lives. I hope I'm better about scheduling photos at regular intervals after this next baby comes. I already have Meredith booked to come do newborn photos in January!

So that's the story. When you get our Christmas card and see the photos you'll have all sorts of context on what that day was like!

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