A Broken Leg, A Broken Heart, but not a Broken Family

I was 24 weeks pregnant with my 10th child. I was already uncomfortable, big, and ready to be done. It was Spring Break and I was just trying to get through! The morning was fairly normal with everyone running around playing as soon as breakfast was finished. I had planned to have the boys clean their rooms and then we’d all go do something fun outside the house. I went to change Lily’s diaper and get her dressed before we started the cleaning fun. At almost 1 yr she wasn’t walking and had barely started to crawl. Steven, our oldest, was in the room talking to me as I turned from Lily on the changing dresser to grab an outfit from her closet. I was turned for only a few seconds, but that was a few seconds too long. Lily rolled over, something she’d never done before, and fell off the changing table landing on her right leg before the rest of her body hit the floor.

I immediately picked her up to comfort her, telling her how sorry I was for turning away. She calmed down, I finished getting her dressed, and we headed downstairs to do our chores. I tried to put her down so I could help her brothers clean, but she wimpered for me to pick her up. I held her for a minute then tried to have her stand up, she wouldn’t put any weight on her leg. Knowing something was wrong I called her pediatrician and spoke with a nurse; I knew something was wrong but didn’t know exactly what it was. She made an appointment for Lily to be seen in an hour.

My saintly mother-in-law came over to watch the kids while I took Lily to the doctor. He heard the story, moved her legs around and said she’d need an x ray and sent us to our local hospital. I went directly there and waited and waited. This whole time Lily only cried a few times, but was easily settled when I changed positions holding her or walking around. They took x rays and found she had a broken femur in her right leg! The technician took one look at it and walked us right over to the ER. She told the receptionist that Lily had a broken femur and needed to see a doctor as soon as possible.

After the tech left, the ER receptionist asked how long Lily had had the fever. I said she didn’t have a fever. She then asked if she could stand to be weighed, I explained she could not because she has a broken femur. That’s when it clicked, the receptionist heard that Lily had a fever not a broken femur! After spending a little time in the ER, it was decided that Lily would be taken about 30 minutes to a Primary Children’s Hospital where a specialist would fix Lily’s leg, since she was so young. The nurse also told me she’d seen grown men screaming in pain over a broken femur, and couldn’t believe how strong Lily was! Not to mention she hadn’t eaten since breakfast and it was now past lunch, what a trooper!

Jacob was working on a consulting job close by the Primary Children’s Hospital, so thankfully he was about to be there with me while his mother kept caring for our boys. Thankfully the oncologist was able to perform the surgery to reset her leg that night. She was again so strong and brave and only cried when I wasn’t holding her. The surgery went well, even though they had a hard time getting an IV in her cute chubby hands and that just about broke our hearts.

Lily then spent the next 6 weeks in a hip spika (body) cast. Those who have had this type of cast know it’s no joke. She had to have a smaller diaper slipped into the cast and a larger one on the outside. It couldn’t get wet which meant it was a full time job trying to make sure she didn’t stink more than she absolutely needed to. She had to have a different car seat, gratefully one was loaned to us, and couldn’t sit up on her own or in her high chair. I had to carry her everywhere, with my already large with child body, which as you can imagine was no fun.

It was a hard time made harder, but I learned some things. I was worried sick they’d take my kids away from me because of Lily’s fall, that I was an unfit mom. And while we waited for Lily in surgery, we talked to a couple who was there because their daughter had cancer…again. As annoying as it was to figure out how to live with Lily in her cast, it was nothing compared to other circumstances that could’ve occurred.

The experience also taught us to appreciate the little things we took for granted and missed for that almost 2 months. Things like fitted pajamas, regular car seats, tight hugs, snuggles, her being more independent, and just seeing those adorable thigh rolls!

Lastly, it reminded us we could do hard things on top of hard things on top of hard things. We had been through hard times before and made it to the other side but often when you’re in the thick of it, it seems like you’ll never make it out. It feels like the hard times will always be looming around you, but things have a way of working out. And we’re often stronger than we think we are.

1 thought on “A Broken Leg, A Broken Heart, but not a Broken Family

  1. I have had a baby roll off the changing table. It happens so fast and unexpectedly. Even though I had been warned and heard stories of it happening. The bit about mixing up the words femur and fever is slightly funny NOW. and yes, it is true you did “hard things on top of hard things on top of hard things”

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