When my daughter was five days old, I was upstairs with my son on the potty. We were so crazy and we started potty training him a minute before we brought the baby home. My husband was on our steep stairs holding the baby while my son was doing his thing. My husband turned around towards us and was like, “thumbs up, buddy,” and as he took a step, he slipped while he was holding her. They went down like six stairs or something and he was still holding her. He started trembling, and he was like, “I don’t know what happened, I don’t know what happened.” He was in shock and freaking out. I picked her up and she stopped crying so I kind of calmed down a bit. But obviously, I was worried so I started calling doctors I know. My cousin’s wife, who is a neonatal nurse, told us to feel her head and every part of her body to make sure there were no bumps and bruises. We felt her and there was nothing there. Five minutes later we felt her and there was a bump on the side of her head. We decided to go to emerg. My parents happen to be 10 minutes away, so my mom stayed with my son and my dad drove us. I don’t think we could have driven because my husband was shaking and I wanted to be in the back with my baby.
We ended up at the hospital for four days – she had a fractured skull. She had a little bit of bleeding inside her head on both sides. She had to have a CAT scan and then she had to get x-rays on her entire body. They were checking her every hour, her vitals, and making sure everything was okay. There were different teams of doctors constantly coming in to look at her. She seemed totally fine, except that she actually had a break in her head and was bleeding inside of it.
We were walking around the hospital for four days just crying and freaking out. The doctor tried to be reassuring. You only know when this happens to you that it apparently happens all the time. They’re so fragile and so resilient at the same time. They just wanted to keep monitoring her.
A guy came from SCAN (The Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Program) and questioned us. I was five days postpartum and I hadn’t slept in five days. There was no bed for me because we were in a room with four other patients, one of which was a 17-year-old gun wound victim. It was a pretty fucked up experience but the main thing was we didn’t have a bed, which was crazy. I was still weak, I was still bleeding, and I couldn’t walk that much. We stayed there for four days and we couldn’t leave because I was breastfeeding. My husband could, but he didn’t want to. They had a room with recliner chairs that you could sleep on, so we’d go there and sleep for like an hour while one of us was up there with her or when my mom was there. It was really crazy.
So she had her head cracked open at five days old but she’s actually totally fine. The whole time I was just thinking “holy shit, am I going to have a brain damaged kid with mental disabilities for the rest of her life? I feel like it would have been harder if it was later on and I was more attached to her, to be honest. I spent four days crying and feeling so bad for her, and I loved her so much already, but if it was my son, I think it would have been more disturbing. I was detaching myself from her. When I would go lay down I’d think to myself, I’m just not going to get attached to her. She ended up being fine. Everything developmentally has been totally normal then and since then but it’s been pretty scary for us.