Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Am Not Worthy

Have you ever had a day so horrific, you wished it was all just a nightmare? Like you could pretend you were an ostrich, pulling your head out of the ground to find a new reality?

Today was one of those days for me.

It started out well enough. The weather was hot and sunny. 90 degrees. Nate and I played for a bit outdoors, taking in the sunshine before retiring indoors to chill - literally - in the marvel that is central air. After his second nap, I decided to take advantage of Nate's good mood and run some errands. At the top of the list was hitting the grocery store to pick up some items for dinner.

I unlocked the Jeep and tossed my keys and purse onto the front seat. I buckled Nate in his carseat in the back and closed the door. But when I pulled on the door handle to hop into the driver's seat, I couldn't get in.

I was locked out.

When I flung my keys, it must have activated the automatic lock. My keys. My purse. My cell phone. My baby. All locked inside. Thank the Lord, I had cracked one of the back windows earlier so there was a tiny bit of fresh air making its way in amidst the humid, scorching heat.

I frantically pulled at all four doors and the trunk, using all my might and hoping by some grace of God, one would come loose. Of course, I knew it was a long shot but I was desperate and perhaps in shock at the situation. I peeked inside at Nate and he smiled, assuming we were playing yet another game of peek-a-boo. I ran to our backyard to see if I could find anything that could jostle the door lock. With no luck, I peeked inside again to a check on Nate (who was still in good spirits) and raced off around the corner to my parent's house to use their phone and call the fire department to rescue my baby. As I erratically explained our predicament, extreme guilt washed over me. I was ashamed that I had allowed this to happen.

With help on the way, I ran back to the scene of the crime. Beads of sweat had formed on Nate's face. His hair was matted. He looked uncomfortable. He was no longer smiling but he wasn't in distress. I grew slightly alarmed. My mom followed behind me and kept me company as we waited for the tell-tale red truck. She spouted off statistics on infant death due to similar circumstances that she had seen on the news. I assured her that those numbers were not comforting me and, in so many words, told her to knock the shit off. My fear rose as I imagined my son passing out from heat stroke. Panic set in.

Every minute that passed felt like an hour. I debated whether or not I should just screw it all, find a heavy rock and break a window. I was desperate to hold my son. I'm so sorry, baby. If you hang in there...stay with me...I promise, I'll never disappoint you again. I will find any way I can to make it up to you.

As my thoughts rambled, I heard the sirens blaring around the bend. I looked up and saw the rescue team heading toward me. One worker asked me a few questions while another hurriedly jimmied the lock until it clicked. Success! I rushed to the door and fumbled with the straps on Nate's carseat, freeing him from the restraint. His t-shirt was drenched in sweat. Droplets fell from his brow. I could have wrung him out to dry.

I tore off his clothes in an attempt to cool him down. I clutched him tightly to my chest, kissing his wet forehead. He was a little lethargic but his temperature was a perfect 98.6. I declined a hospital visit and signed a liability form. They told me if I were to change my mind, I could give them a call at anytime. I thanked them profusely. Then it was all over.

Or so I thought. As I walked in the house, I noticed my underwear was damp. Apparently, in all of the hustle and bustle, I had peed myself. Lovely. So I can add my overactive bladder to the list of things out of my control.

I had held it together this whole time, my determination outweighing the emotions bubbling beneath the surface. But now that all was said and done, I broke down, trembling with terror over what could've been. I was ever so thankful the situation did not escalate into something much more serious. But I am still overwrought with terror. My baby could have been that top local news story. A headline on tomorrow's newspaper.

I took Nate upstairs for a cool bath and kneeled beside the tub, tears falling from my swollen eyes, creating ripples in the bathwater. He splashed about independently, aloof, as if it were any other uneventful day. Sure, we can all agree this was an accident. And yes, it could have happened to anyone - and has happened to some. But it's my duty to protect him. And I failed miserably this time. While he'll never remember this incident, it will forever haunt me. Just how close we were to catastrophe.

I can't help but feel undeserving of this beautiful baby who has been bestowed upon me. I'm simply not worthy of such a blessing when I am obviously incapable of requisite multi-tasking.

We are taking appropriate measures to ensure this incident is never repeated. Car and house keys are being replicated tomorrow.

But it feels like too little too late. What's done is done. Irrevocable damage has been done to my self-esteem. Just when I thought I was getting good at this mothering thing.


Melissa said...

Yikes, that is so scary! I'm glad the Fire Department got there quickly and rescued Nate. Don't beat yourself up over it - we have all had similar experiences with our babies at one time or another. Believe me, this does not make you a bad mom! So happy to hear everyone is okay. ((Hugs))

LJ said...

Wow, that had to be so scary - though I bet more for you than for the little guy. I'm glad you're all safe and sound :)

Kim said...

Only the best parents lock their child in the car at least once. I promise. No one expects you to be perfect, even Nate. So don't strive for it, you'll inevitably fail. You're human and will make many, many mistakes.

If it makes you feel better, we were once staying at a hotel with a HUGE bathroom. B was a baby and it seemed like a great idea to put her pack n' play IN the bathroom since it was so big. We were excited to not have to
turn off the television and lights at 7pm so that she could go to sleep.

Until I went to check on her. And realized that the bathroom door was LOCKED. I was mortified. R called the front desk, to send someone up to unlock the door. Me? I HID! I was mortified. How embarrassing to have accidentally locked your BABY in a hotel BATHROOM. I didn't want to have to explain that one.

There was also the time B got into a container of joint compound. She probably ate quite a bit of it, and I hosed her off in her baby pool. What? I wasn't bringing that child in my bathtub! She was a mess! But she lived.

In the end, they'll never remember. And it makes for good stories at the table later on.

Roadblocks and Roller Coasters said...

I'm so sorry you had to experience that! I'm very glad to hear that it is all over. You are extremely worthy and an excellent mother, but things sometimes happen that are beyond our control. I hope today and all the days beyond are much, much better. ((HUGS))

uncomplicateme said...

I'm so sorry sweetie. I'm glad everything turned out for the best, even though it was so scary at the time. I did this same thing 3 weeks ago. j was out of state on a work trip and I had just loaded B into the car, shut the door, and was about to open the driver door when I hear the beep-beep of my delayed-locking system. So my keys, my son, and my cell phone were also all in my car. Thankfully it was a balmy morning and I wasn't concerned about heat, but j was of course no help since he was 8 hours away. I thankfully managed to find an old buried spare car key in a drawer in my house. It was so panic-inducing for the few minutes it lasted though.

They say this happens to everyone, I'm just glad our turn is out of the way and all is well now. And you better believe I put my keys on the roof of my car now until we're all in and ready to go.

And you are more than worthy to be his mom. :)

Meghan said...

So scary. I can't even imagine what a wreck I would be. I'm glad it all worked out and little Nate is fine. We've all done something like that, luckily babies are tougher than we give them credit for

Mel said...

Kristen! How terrifying! I cannot even imagine how scary, especially because we live in Texas where the heat index is already 1000 degrees this year. Praise God you kept your wits about you and got Nate out safely, no harm done. I hear about this happening all the time and confess I constantly worry about doing it, too. Makes us miss the days of individual push locks, eh?
Don't beat yourself up... THIS is life. If you never made mistakes, how would you ever learn? Babies are the best example of "on the job training" in the world!

Eliisa said...

How scary...I'm so glad he's ok. You're a fabulous mom, though. Anyone can see that. It was an accident, he's fine, and from now on you (and everyone who has read this) will be more careful. Thank you for being brave enough to share. I'll be extra cautious myself with my keys from here on out.

Fertilized said...

You are great under pressure! This is a rough/panic striken event and you and Nate Came out on the other side. Be gentle to yourself. We are humans, things happen beyond our control, It's how we get through them that Makes or breaks the journey. Great Job Momma. You are very worthy

Stephanie said...

So scary!

Buy you know what, we all have moments like that - mommy moments we're not that proud of. In this case, it was a complete accident and all turned out well - don't beat yourself up about it. You stayed calm and did the right thing. Great job, mama!

Artblog said...

OH shit, sorry I'm late with this. STOP blaling yourself;

If it helps I have the exact same story to lovingly bestow to you in the hopes that you see these things happen and not just to you.

LaLa was around two years old; I was buckling her into her car seat and she was moaning, so, I gave her my keys!!!

You can guess the rest! Yup, she locked the car with the automatic button, I took the keys back, closed the door and couldn't get in the car because it was locked! My cellphone, handbag, money, everything was inside too.

To cut a long story short, I tried in vain to jam open the door, eventually using the mobile phone of a passing stranger who called the fire service who came and smashed the window to get her out!

True story.

SIGH, I'd totally forgotten this tale until I read yours. I guess lots has happened since to make me forget but also, its part of life, there will be other crap that may happen, i don't wish it will but maybe.

HUGS to you, you're not a bad mum, you peed in your pants for gods sake, you love that boy a bad mom wouldn't have done that, that's all that counts!

HUGS to you sweetie, hope your anxiety goes soon, you don't deserve to feel anxious like this.