The worst happened. I always feared it would happen, but I didn’t really think it would. Augie fell down our stairs.
How he is OK, I have no idea because he fell headfirst down 15 hardwood stairs. He didn’t slide down, he bounced down each and every stair. It’s actually very hard to even write that because it gives me terrible flashbacks. Sick to my stomach doesn’t even begin to describe it.
I got there in time to watch him fall and I raced after him hoping that he would lose momentum and stop falling. Of course that did’t happen and I could only scoop up his tiny body when he got to the end. My poor baby.
He cried immediately and then stopped after about 10 seconds of cuddles. He seemed like his old self (though the doctor later told me that he was probably in shock). AJ had raced down the stairs after me and I just said put him in the car, we are going to the hospital.
We are lucky that we live less than 5 kms from the Royal Children’s Hospital. It was a Saturday night and traffic was pretty good so we got there within about 15 minutes of his fall. I sang to him in the car and he laughed in the same places he always laughed and he was saying “ba ba ba” which was what he’d been saying to me all day. He seemed great, but I was actually more worried about deeper injuries that might not be immediately visible.
AJ dropped us off at emergency and went to park the car. When I took him out of his car seat I literally gasped when I saw the lumps that had already come up on his head. I went straight inside the hospital and told them what happened. Within a few minutes we were assessed by a nurse and then taken to a bed to be seen by a doctor.
I couldn’t believe how quiet it was in the hospital. There was only one other family in the waiting room! I later learned that we actually didn’t even make it to the waiting room and were triaged to see a doctor immediately. Later that night I walked past the actual waiting room that was full to the brim.
In our room, a young doctor performed a lot of tests on him, mostly to do with cognitive/head injury. They didn’t do x-rays or other scans because he was simply too young. Their main concern was bleeding on the brain so they continued to check his vital signs every hour until we were past the 6 hour mark, which is then considered fairly safe.
Augie was amazing and didn’t cry or get upset at all. He loved the attention from all the doctors and nurses and all the gadgets they had to perform tests on him. They gave me a cot for him and he slept a little bit, but woke every 20 minutes whimpering and needing cuddles. AJ had to go home once we knew Augie was ok. All 3 of us had a bad case of gastro and AJ was still in the thick of it. He was so sick that he went home and passed out on the bathroom floor. What a fucking night.
They let us go home at 2.00 am after they were confident he was ok. He was so tired and slept until 1.00 pm the next day… despite the fact I poked and prodded him all night to make sure he was ok.
All the doctors and nurses couldn’t quite believe that Augie was ok after such a terrible fall. Well, they couldn’t quite believe a baby had even suffered such a fall. I’m genuinely surprised that I didn’t have DHS out investigating us for being negligent parents. Some people I have told have acted like it’s no big deal. I mentioned that to AJ and said how surprised I was by this and he said those people are just being nice and trying not to make you feel bad. Probably true.
It is hard to explain how it happened. I really don’t know what I was thinking to have spaced out and let him get near the stairs. Or why I didn’t have a stair gate on. I always watch him. In fact, I normally sit with him. That night he had woken up because he’s teething and I got him out of bed for a cuddle. I didn’t even think he could crawl that far. I guess I was wrong. I can’t talk much more about it because it’s too hard to put myself back in that place and remember what happened.
For what it’s worth, AJ and I were both in the room when it happened. We were equally to blame and both feel horrible. In one sense I think we are both relieved that we are both to blame, I’m not sure how we could have forgiven each other if just one of us was to blame.
I’ll never forgive myself. I’m trying not to indulge too much in the guilt and instead focus on being so, so, so grateful that my baby is ok. Grateful is an understatement. When I saw him fall I honestly did not think he would be ok. I feel like the luckiest person alive to have a healthy baby.
One of the hardest things to deal with is that it’s now impossible to trust myself. How did I let this happen and what could happen next? I thought I was a vigilant parent. Obviously not. I don’t know what else I could do to put him in danger. The fear is keeping me up at night.
It goes without saying that we are now going to move house. We have two sets of stairs in our house and they make me feel sick to look at them. I am desperately searching the real estate websites for a rental. Most places in our budget are either tiny apartments or (double storey) townhouses. That’s not going to work. So what to do? I’m not sure yet, but I want to find a solution as soon as possible. I’ll be so sad to leave our place after less than a year, but I just want a house that is safe for Augie and a fresh start.
This is where It happened. As you can see we now have a stair gate up, but it’s still not safe because my bloody skirt got caught while I was taking him downstairs. I fucking hate stairs!
We now also have a
cage playpen. Even when I know the stair gates are closed I still can’t shake my fears and poor Augie is locked up. Luckily he loves it in there with his toys (for now).