I remember the day that it happened.  A beautiful and hot day in July.  We had just come home from a long walk.  Woo was hungry and wet, so I went upstairs to change him while his bottle warmed.  He was his usual happy and playful self, not yet fussy, but getting there, so we headed downstairs.

I fell.

I lost my footing and we tumbled down the last two stairs, falling forward.  My knees hit the floor first, then my elbows, then Woo. Onto the slate tile. It was so silent for an eternity, then we both freaked out.  He cried and fought to stay awake while I cried and called Willy.  He rushed home and we headed to the closest hospital. I should have called 911, but I had never been faced with a situation where you would need to call 911. I called Willy and he came running.

We were fast tracked at the hospital. It wasn’t a pediatric hospital so it was a bit of a comedy of errors trying to get his vitals taken, but we quickly got to see a doctor. Woo had perked up by this time, and charmed said doctor and everyone else around, which was incredibly normal for my lil man. He was thoroughly checked out, and we were sent home with instructions to watch him for any changes, any pattern of abnormal behaviour. Which is not the easiest thing with a four month old. Normal is the lack of routine!

I watched him like a hawk for the rest of that day looking for any little change in his behaviour. He was his usual unpredictable self, but I over analyzed his every move. There were no significant changes until he vomited his bottle right before bed. Then I knew what they meant. This was not normal. It wasn’t a pattern and he wasn’t distressed, so he settled in to bed, and we carried on with the evening. I was stressed and blaming myself, but he was OK, so I was almost OK. Until he vomited his next bottle.

We called tele-health, and they sent us backto the hospital that we had been to that morning. They again checked him over and had us stay overnight for observation. I watched him sleep that entire long night, and then fed him in the morning. He was fine for a while, but then sick again, so they sent us to CHEO, where he was poked and prodded some more, and sent for a CT, which showed that his skull was fractured.

My poor little baby had a fractured skull. I fractured his skull. I felt like the world’s worst mother. A small part of me still does when I think about it. There was no treatment, and other than the added doctor’s appointments over the next year, you would never know it had happened.

I knew. He was so young when it happened.  I spent the next year or so agonizing over every milestone, watching his every reaction, searching for something that wasn’t there. I am sure that I drove Willy nuts with my concerns, but he never let on. I was positive that I had “broken” him in some way. He’s still perfect, and for that I am so grateful.

It still haunts me to this day. It doesn’t happen every time I walk down the stairs, but I frequently replay that day in my mind. When I am carrying one of the lils, or even the cat, I clutch them a little bit tighter on those stairs. Now that the lils are older and freely moving up and down the stairs, I am forever trying to be there as they go. To catch them if they fall.  Watching them horse around on that very set of stairs kills me, and I forever preach to them that it is NOT ALLOWED. They mostly listen, thankfully.

As I was leaving CHEO on that fateful day, a nurse stopped me and asked if I was OK. I started to tell her that I had no physical injuries, but she stopped me and asked how I was emotionally. I said that I was shaken, but would be fine. It’s taken me a long time, and I am getting closer, but I am still not fine. Getting better about it, but definitely not fine.


About lilbunnyrabbitz

Ottawa mom to two crazy little peeps, wife to my favourite geek. More on me later.
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15 Responses to Haunted

  1. I just realized that I was holding my breath the entire time I was reading this.
    I can only imagine and I think your reaction would be exactly that of any momma. We take it all in and hold ourselves to the utmost degree of responsibility—even something as clearly so completely accidental. I think our sensitivities make us more prone to reliving those past traumatic events and holding blame against ourselves. Maybe by sharing it, the wound heals over just a bit as time goes on? Hope so. Hugs.

  2. Ross Brown says:

    Terrifying. I can’t imagine how you must have felt. I’m glad all is well now.

  3. wratwrds says:

    Wow. So traumatic and scary for you! Glad he’s okay. Babies have enormous capacity to heal.
    These things happen in life, I’ve learned, and they make your heart cry. When my eldest was still in diapers, about 20 months, we moved into a new house and he fell down a couple of steps. I was two feet from him and couldn’t catch him. He wound up in a cast. Then when my youngest was four or so, he tried to fly from the monkey bars. Another trip to emergency and another cast. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to turn myself into the CAS.
    Hope you are letting yourself understand you were a good loving mom who lost her footing. That’s all. And I’m wishing you fine. From the lovely pics of your beautiful, beautiful children, Woo’s certainly fine. Wonderfully fine. : )

    Pam @writewrds

  4. Oh Krista – that must have been so difficult. So many emotions. Woo is a beautiful and perfect lil that healed so well thanks to his loving parents.

    Thanks for sharing. *hugs*

  5. allison says:

    OH yeah. My son tried to kick a soccer ball and stepped on it when he was two, and broke his freaking FEMUR. Two-year-old in a body cast and – you’ll love this – I got mad at him for being whiny at the park because he wouldn’t stop crying after such a tiny little fall. I actually know two other people who’ve had babies with fractured skulls that grew up with absolutely no ill effects – the little suckers really are resilient, aren’t they?

    • Oh my. That must have been challenging!!! They are SO resilient, thankfully. The Doc at CHEO that followed him told me that it was the best time for this type of injury to happen, given the resiliency. I am still not sold on the whole “best time” for a fractured skull!! Thanks for telling me your story – it helps.

  6. Finola says:

    Oh. Something similar happened to me once and I still think of it often too. I was carrying my first daughter down the stairs when she was about 6 months old and I thought I was at the bottom step, but I actually had one more to go. I fell straight forward, landing flat out on my tummy, cradling my daughter, and miraculously protecting her, I still don’t know how. She was screaming and I was stunned. I walked around holding her not knowing what to do. Then I realized there was blood everywhere I had walked. THANK GOODNESS it was from me and not her. My toe was stitched back together, and she was fine, so I got off so much more easily than you did, but I so often think of ‘what if’. Your post brought home the ‘what if’ and I feel freaked out all over again. So glad Woo was OK. So scary.

    • I did not mean to freak you out all over again!! I am so glad that you and your lil were OK after your fall. Thanks for letting me know that it’s not just me, and double thanks that all are OK!!

  7. Terrifying! We can’t protect them from everything. My own parents (who were / are fantastic) often say they wonder that I survived to adulthood. Ref stories like the time I played house with children’s Tylenol. My mom left me unattended for maybe half an hour, and didn’t know I could climb to the med cupboard. The parents in Orleans with that near drowning turned around for two minutes. Things can happen, and while we have a responsibility for their safety, we can’t guarantee it. Fear of falling can be just as damaging as cracking your skull.

    Next time you feel guilty, repeat to yourself “I am a GREAT mom”!

  8. Lynn says:

    And now I’m all emotional! I totally felt your pain on this one – the terror and horror and guilt and relief, and more guilt. You have my total sympathy and empathy. I’m so happy it had a happy ending but I think my heart will be racing for a little while yet.

  9. Sasha says:

    Oh Krista. This was hard to read the first time, when I wanted to say *something* and didn’t know what to say. It had the same impact now. I don’t know about you, but I wish my rational side had more say in how I feel about things, and I hope your rational side can eventually win the day, too.

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