Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Day I'd Like to Forget

So...I'm two-for-two in car accidents while pregnant.  Yup, today I got in an accident.  A pretty bad one, in fact.  I'm fine, the baby's fine, but my car is not.  Thankfully I had already dropped Jacob off and it was just me and my belly in the car.  Long story short, I was on the highway, up to speed with traffic in the left lane, as my left-hand exit was about a half mile ahead.  Suddenly someone in the middle lane swerved into my lane to avoid a truck.  I swerved, and at that speed I lost control and ended up swerving into the next lane a little sideways, got hit on the passenger side, continued into the guardrail, which took off my front bumper, then momentum carried me back across a lane and a half, where I ended up halfway between the middle and left lane, nearly perpendicular to the side of the road.  It was scary, no doubt.  It happened very fast.  Some airbags deployed, though I barely noticed them.  In the end, two other cars were involved, including the original swerving van, and one that was just minimal.  Thankfully, that woman said she saw the whole thing and there just wasn't much I could have done. 

Obviously, first and foremost, I'm beyond grateful that it wasn't worse.  Until I talked to the first person at the insurance company, it didn't even occur to me that my windshield could have broken.  It didn't.  I immediately took stock of my belly when it happened, and nothing hurt.  I felt no pressure around the seatbelt and my belly felt fine.  Even now I'm not sore yet, at least not beyond what would have already been bothering me thanks to yesterday's workout.  I credit good seatbelt placement and a thick winter coat for softening the blow, literally.  It took a while for the baby to start kicking again, but I was obviously super happy when he did.  Everyone was giving me grief about going to the doctor, but knowing that nothing hurt I wasn't too concerned.  I did call them, and when the nurse confirmed that the baby was moving and that I wasn't bleeding or cramping, she said everything was probably fine but I was welcome to come in for a check if I was concerned.  I didn't go.  He's still kicking away, and I'm still fine.  Call it a risk, but that was the first thing I thought about the instant it happened, before the adrenaline could have fully flooded my system, so I was pretty confident things were fine.

My car, however, is totaled.  Just a handful of months shy of paying it off, of course.  Because, as you may recall, I got it nearly five years ago when I crashed my old car a couple months shy of my due date with Jacob.  That one was definitely my fault--but pretty routine--since it was a basic rear-ending in bumper-to-bumper traffic.  My car was also older so it wouldn't have taken much to total it.  This one was obviously a lot bigger and more of a gray area.  I swerved to avoid another swerver, but the question is probably what I could have done to not end up across three lanes of traffic.  I was going with the flow of traffic, probably between 60-65mph, on a busy highway.  There wasn't much of a shoulder in that area, and it all happened so quickly that I'm not sure what could have been done.  And that's probably what bugs me most.  I'm replaying the thing over and over in my head wondering what I could have done differently, what I would do differently next time.  And I'm just not sure I have an answer.  It was all a reaction thing and at that speed I'm not sure what other action might have prevented what happened.  It's just a vivid reminder that you never know.  And it scares me that next time Jacob or baby #2 might be there.  I would never forgive myself for putting them through that...or God forbid, hurting them, no matter how much this was or wasn't my fault. 

So now we start what is sure to be a couple crazy weeks of insurance companies, rental cars, and car shopping.  I think I pretty much want to get the same car, even though everyone is insisting we need an SUV or minivan.  If gas wasn't nearly $4/gallon I'd consider it, but I just can't justify the additional cost for the vehicle or for gas at this point.  I survived my entire childhood in a sedan with another sibling, so for now I think we're fine.  We'll re-evaluate next time we need a vehicle (hopefully not on my account, and hopefully years down the road when Craig's car has seen better days) to see whether two kids (and any assorted sports equipment) make the cost worth it.  I don't really trust myself to drive a higher-profile vehicle anyway, given the nature of his accident and the fact that I'm not the best at judging depth perception (not a lot of evidence of that, but perhaps just a lack of confidence on my part).  I dread the thought, but we should get a decent settlement from insurance so what we finance will hopefully be minimal compared to normal.  It just stinks considering I was almost done paying.  Ugh.  I just hated the craziness of all of this last time I was pregnant, and now to have to go through it stinks.

Today was also Jacob's Thanksgiving dinner at daycare, and I didn't want to miss that.  Fortunately, Craig came and got me from the accident, I hung out at his office for a bit to make my insurance calls and make sure I didn't have to go to the doctor.  I figured it was easier hanging out there with access to a car, rather than going to work, particularly since we had to head out to daycare a little before 11am anyway.  We broke the news to him during the meal, but tried to keep it light and simple--"Mommy was in an accident...she doesn't have a car right now because it's broken...etc."  He's pretty fascinated by my not having a car, so that's pretty much his focus right now.  He knows that I had an accident when he was in my belly, which is why I had to get the car I had (until this morning, of course).  So perhaps he'll just think this is normal.  Great. 

The financial implications of this are frustrating, and the mental toll is unfortunate.  I'm definitely beating myself up about this and wondering what I could have done to change things.  But at the end of the day I know I have to be grateful because this could have been SO much worse.  The baby could have been impacted, I could have been hurt, or Jacob could have been in the car.  Heck, someone else could have gotten hurt.  So I know that in the grand scheme of things, we're incredibly blessed and God was watching over us.  Now I just need to pray it never happens again and He gets us through a stressful couple weeks.

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