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Child's stitches, parents' trauma: Natalie Morales survives first E.R. visit


Natalie Morales with sons Luke (left) and Josh. Luke recently survived his first trip to the E.R. for stitches.

We had Jamie Lee Curtis on TODAY recently with her new children’s book “My Brave Year of Firsts,” and we got to talking about my first mad dash to the emergency room with my 3-year-old. It was Labor Day and Luke got his first (and hopefully last) stitches. As Jamie Lee said, it's very scary for a child because they maybe haven’t felt pain like that before, but they often walk away with new  courage knowing they ended up being just fine. 

Natalie Morales' 4-year-old son Luke, before and after getting stitches for the first time in September 2012.

I was on my way to my friend’s Labor Day barbecue when my husband comes bursting through the door with a bloody-faced and crying Luke.  Luke had fallen off a chair and onto my friend’s coffee table.  My heart nearly stopped. One look and we knew he would be needing stitches -- it was a pretty deep gash right by his eye (thankfully on the bridge of his nose and his eye was OK).  With two very active and athletic boys, I feel lucky that this is the worst we've experienced thus far -- knock on wood! That said, I still don’t know who was more traumatized in that moment --  Luke, or me and my husband.

We rushed to the emergency room in Hackensack where a wonderful team of doctors and nurses took amazing care of him right away.  Luke was being as brave as he could be, even as they strapped him into a "Papoose" which is like a straitjacket contraption keeping his arms pinned to his body. I would have hyperventilated if they put me in that thing. 

He was doing his best not to cry until the giant needle of lidocaine came out. I think I cried with him as they gave him shots to numb the area.  Nothing worse than hearing your baby screaming, “Stop! Stop!  They’re hurting me,” when they were all trying to make him better. 

Then the actual stitches... internal and external, I’m not even sure how many. My little baby saying, “I can’t do this!” If you’ve been there with any big injury, you feel my pain. In that moment, I couldn’t help but think of all those families suffering with far worse situations -- the courage those little kids must have, not to mention the parents.  It gives you a real perspective.

End of the day, my son was given a blue ice pop, and with a big smile on his face, all was well. He rushed home to tell his big brother how brave he was getting his stitches.  I, on ther other hand, have a few more gray hairs to show for it.

Thankfully, it was nothing more than a “first,” we all survived, and we hope not to experience it again. The whole thing made me realize that my little boy, who turns 4 Sunday, is no longer my baby. This was his first real scary moment and he got through it with flying colors. He’s in the big boy leagues now!

Has your family endured any scary "first" experiences? Tell us on our TODAY Moms Facebook page.

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