Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Darla's First Cut (I'm to Blame)

I feel too guilty to post a picture of the cut!
Darla's learning to grab things.  She can pick up small toys.  If she's sitting on my lap without something bright and colorful to reach for, she starts to cry.  She pushes her hand into those of whoever is holding her.  My least favorite part of this development is how she fiercely claws at my chest when I feed her.  I have little purple scratch marks up and down my chest as a result.

Typically, I avoid cutting her nails for as long as I can for fear of what the clippers will do to her delicate fingers.  Most recently, however, I allowed her nails to grow long because I was too damn busy.  Between keeping her fed/diapered, the house clean and planning a wedding (post to follow), incidentals like that fell by the wayside.  With the wedding behind me and our bags unpacked, I couldn't avoid it any longer. 

I sat her down on my lap, the dryer whirring in the background, and began cutting her nails.  I got cocky.  After nearly four months of cautious nail clipping leading to no major disasters, I decided I was an old pro.  I chatted with her as I worked.  She babbled back at me. 

For a moment, I thought, "I feel bad for those people who accidentally cut off a piece of their baby's fingertips."

Not one second later, Darla began to howl.  I didn't even move the nail clipper for fear of what I knew I'd see.  I took a deep breath and looked down.  Blood flowed from her tiny thumb tip.  She flailed her arms, smearing blood on her arms, onesie and my face.  I carried her into her room to grab the first aid kit.  I was dizzy.  The world was spinning around me. I was short of breath.  And the blood continued to pour out.

I put antiseptic and a band aid on her finger.  I fed her to keep her from screaming.  She ate to soothe herself.  I wondered if I were teaching her bad habits. Would she forever calm herself by way of food? 

The blood wouldn't stop. 

"On no," I thought, "I have to take her to the hospital.  She's so tiny. She doesn't have that much blood."

My phone wasn't charged and I had no other way to contact my sister's but through email.  With a shaky hand, I typed out: "I cut of part of her fingertip! What do i do.  ,y phone is out of bats and have no ones number~!"

I looked down at her hand as I got up to walk her around.  The band aid was gone.  

"No, no, no, no, no," I thought. 

I looked in her mouth to try and pull it out.  There was nothing there.  Had she swallowed it?  I quickly thought over everything I'd learned in my CPR class.  My mind was blank.

"Please, God.  Please help me find the band aid."

I walked in circles, with her screaming in my arms.  I stared at the floor.  I found a flower petal, a plastic tag, lint and a bottle cap.  No band aid.

"Please, please, please, please," I said out loud.

I looked down. It was by my foot.

I sat down on the bed and fed her some more.  Her cries were completely gone.  The blood had stopped dripping.  In Darla's world, the cut was but a distant memory (or, at least, that's what I kept telling myself). 

In my world, my guilt steadily increased.  My heart pounded and there was a pit in my stomach that wouldn't go away. I wondered whether the cut would get infected.  I wondered whether she would have a scar.  She would tell all her elementary school friends about how her mother had cut her when she was a little baby and that's why her thumb was disfigured.  I wondered whether I would ever get over this.  I wondered whether she would ever forgive me. 

As I wondered, I sat Darla up, looked at her and kissed her chubby cheeks.  She clasped her little hands together and gave me one of her big grins.  My heart ached for her.  She didn't realize she was smiling at the enemy.   I wished she would just yell at me and get it over with.  She just continued to smile.

I had only clipped three of her fingers and left the other one's long.  I couldn't run the risk of hurting her even more.  As her nails dig into me when she eats, I just assume I'm paying penance for my sin.    


  1. This was a nail biter!! I was so nervous!

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