It’s been 16 years since that awful Saturday morning. We laugh at it now. It’s one of those stories that my daughter loves to hear me tell. Because that day, her mother lost her cool on a stranger, and her mother rarely ever loses her cool on a stranger.
Doodlebug was close to her first birthday, when I realized that she and I were bored with each other. I had left my job to stay home with her and while I LOVED being home with her, I was struggling with feeling like that was enough of a contribution to our family. I missed the challenge of the workplace. I missed talking to grownups. Doodlebug, even at her tiny age, was starting to act bored with her little life at home with me.
My previous boss had emailed me that there was an opening in the accounting department and offered it to me. My Mr. and I talked it over, we found an amazing babysitter, and I took the job. Doodlebug would be cared for by her dad’s best friend’s mother. A sweet lady that cared for several children in her home. A sweet lady that had been caring for children in her home for YEARS. No worries.
The first Monday through Friday went wonderfully. Everyone was enjoying themselves. I was around grown ups doing grown up things. Doodlebug had other little people to play with and she loved Ms. Kathy.
Saturday morning, I woke up and stumbled out of bed to make coffee. While it brewed, I scooped up my Doodlebug and laid her on the living room floor to change her diaper.
It was blood red. Not poop, at least not all poop. It was runny, almost watery, and BLOOD RED.
I tried not to panic, I woke up her dad. I called my mom. I called his mom. I cleaned and wiped her bottom and looked for an injury but couldn’t find one.
What could have caused this?
We waited for another diaper change, and it was still red!
Y’all, I freaked out. All I could think was that someone had done something terrible to my kid and she was bleeding profusely and it had to be in internal thing because I couldn’t find any injury and OH MY GOODNESS DID SOMEONE DO SOMETHING INAPPROPRIATE WITH MY BABY!!!
We took her to the ER, an hour west of our house. His parents followed us. My best friend and her husband followed us. My mother and my step-dad drove from four hours away and met us at the ER. There we were, all of us, sitting in the emergency room, freaked out over Doodlebug’s bloody diaper.
Doodlebug was happily running around the room, right as rain, making all the other patients laugh.
A lady came in, IN LABOR, and I growled at a nurse about my baby still not being seen by anyone.
A gunshot victim came in and I growled at a nurse about my baby still not being seen.
Some teenager that had done something stupid on a skateboard and sprained their wrist came in and was walked immediately back to the rooms and I LOST MY EVER LOVIN’ MIND!
I went to the counter, and lost it on a nurse.
“My baby is bleeding out of her nidgy bits and you are gonna see that kid with a boo boo on his arm over HER??? What is wrong with you people!!”
Meanwhile, my kid is wobbling around walking from one person to the next and stealing goldfish from her dad.
The very patient, very compassionate, nurse (and I don’t know how she held it together with me screaming at her) waved another nurse over and whispered something in her ear. She handed her my daughters paperwork and we were invited to the back rooms.
She asked me what my daughter had been eating and drinking.
“I don’t know for sure. I just returned to work and she’s been with a sitter this week, so I don’t know what she’s had.”
She asked me to undress her. So I did.
She looked down at the water red goo in the diaper.
She grabbed a little piece of paper and laid it on the red goo.
“Mrs. Baldwin, I’m happy to tell you that this isn’t blood in your daughter’s diaper. It’s red dye. She’s fine, but I’d find out what she’s been eating or drinking. She’s fine, I promise.”
I balled. Relieved. Embarrassed. I definitely didn’t want to walk out into the waiting room to tell all our family that they wasted a Saturday over food dye.
“It’s a common thing for parents to bring their kids in in a panic. That’s why we didn’t rush her in. She was playing and didn’t seem to be in any pain. I am sorry that it took so long though.”
I asked her to send in my husband while I redressed our daughter.
I sent him out to tell our family first. I just couldn’t bear it.