My Toddler Broke Her Arm, and I Didn’t Believe It

            Anytime I hear someone say how hard the newborn phase is I think to myself, I would trade the toddler phase for the newborn phase any day! Toddlers are their own ball of frustrations, and even though they may be sleeping through the night now, they are wreaking havoc all damn day. My twenty month old is no exception. She is my second, and by far, the loudest and most mischievous.

            Due to the Coronavirus, and the stay at home order, we are currently held up inside most days. I do try to get them outside to play everyday, but we aren’t able to do our normal errand running and play dates. I’m also a nurse, so I try to make my days with my kids fun, because, honestly, I don’t look forward to going to work lately. It was a gloomy day, so my kids and I were playing in our family room, which we do most days. Both of them like to run around on the couches and our round, padded ottoman. My twenty month old had just learned how to say “ow” the week prior. She was using it for literally everything. So, when she fell off the ottoman and continuously said “ow” I thought nothing of it. I padded her down to check for any specific relation to her “ow”, and there was nothing. The day went on as normal.

The next day seemed like a repeat of the day before. The same playing and running around as usual. My toddler didn’t act any differently than normal. Later that evening when I was changing her into her jammies she said “ow” when I put her arm in the sleeve. I thought that was weird, so I looked at her arm while touching it all over and she didn’t say it again, so we went on our merry way. The following day, same old same old. I was looking for something to be out of place, because I kept thinking about how she said “ow” when I put her arm in her sleeve the night before. This is something she has never done. Even using the word so frequently, she often uses it for nonsensical acts. She was using both her arms while eating and playing, so I just continued to sit back and observe. I mean, I am a nurse, and Coronavirus is all over the ER, regardless if it is a children’s ER. I did not want to take her in unless I was certain. That night she again said “ow” when putting her jammies on. Her jammies are tight, so I’m starting to think this is the time when it must really hurt her. I sit her naked little body on her changing table, and I feel her arms inch by inch in comparison to each other. I notice absolutely no swelling, or bruising. I make a plan to call urgent care in the morning, because, again, I refuse to take her to the ER, and there is no way this seems broken.

The next morning I wake up early ready to plan my day to include an urgent care visit. I call them right when they open to give them the scoop of what is going on, and to check out what’s going on with their end in regard to safety and sanitization. I tell the clerk that I just want to get an x-ray to make sure before taking her to the ER. The clerk puts me hold to speak with one of the providers, and comes back on to tell me that it is best to take her to the ER because of her age, and she may need a sedative to stay still for the x-ray. I tell her that I am trying to avoid the ER, so she tells me to watch her another day. With the thought of going to the ER terrifying me, I decide to watch her again. She is acting normal throughout the day, and I can’t feel or see anything going on, so I wait. I even sent a cute video of her enjoying her first frozen lemonade from Chik-fil-a to my parents (using both arms to hold the cup).

The next morning comes, and there is my toddler following me around like a shadow. I open the door to the garage to throw her dirty diaper away and as I close the door she backs up into the wall and falls forward, catching herself with both of her arms. This time she is shaking and screaming. I almost died of horror. My poor baby is hurt, and I’ve been watching her. I decide to forego the damn ER, and take her to the very urgent care I called the previous day. The clerk I spoke with wasn’t working there this day, and the Nurse Practitioner that saw us was astonished that I was told my toddler would need to be sedated for an x-ray. Yes, she screamed through the entire x-ray and visit, but what toddler wouldn’t?!

So, there we were, waiting for the results in the small exam room. In walks the NP, who says “well, I have bad news”. My heart skipped a beat. “It is broken. She has two fractures. One on her radius, and one on her ulna”. I immediately break down in tears. You mean to tell me that I am a nurse, and I didn’t even believe my baby’s arm was broken, and just watched her for days…waiting???? I felt like a failure, the worst mother in the world. I couldn’t stop crying. I thought back to the week and realized that must have been why she was a bit more clingy and whiney. She showed her pain in another way than I was accustomed to. I felt awful. The reason I wanted to share this story so much is so other Moms could read this as a reminder to trust your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, but you can’t see the proof be safe rather than sorry. Don’t call ahead, just GO! A break does not need to show swelling or bruising. Luckily my little girl only needed a cast, and not surgery. She was a champ getting that cast on, and it has not stood in her way of playing or eating whatsoever. I will say that the cast is very hard and scratchy. I cut some socks to fit over it to make it softer, and even bought a short cast cover on Amazon that gives her some color, and is much softer for sleeping.

My little Superhero

Welcome! I’m Brittany. I’m a mom of two toddlers living in Northwest Ohio with my husband, Chris, and our two cats, Simon and Oliver. I’m a labor and delivery nurse, and an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I love finding new ways that make parenting easier, while providing a fun learning atmosphere for my girls at the same time. In my blog you will find tips and tricks for dealing with pregnancy, labor, and parenthood. My favorite part about being a nurse (besides getting to welcome little miracles into the world, obviously) is being able to educate new Moms (and Dads) on how to care for their little ones at the very start. Parenthood is such a complex and exhausting journey that we need to have support from others who make us feel like we’re not alone. You are not alone here!

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