Today has not been the best of days.
In fact, it has been one of the scariest.
12-week old baby Claudia fell off her changing table and landed with a thump face down on the floor. It was terrifying. And it was my fault.
Allegra was at nursery. Richmond Daddy at work. It was just myself and baby C in the house and she’d woken from her nap, drank a full bottle of milk, had a nappy change and then as soon as the fresh nappy was on, she was kicking about and enjoying looking at the Peppa stickers that Allegra has used to decorate the changing table.
I was there, coo-ing at her and blowing raspberries, she was coo-ing back and smiling, it was lovely.
Then I did something incredibly stupid. I decided to pop into Allegra’s room next door to put away some clean t-shirts into her drawers. Because in that split second, I didn’t think leaving the room for a second, would be a problem. Because baby Claudia is only 12-weeks old and it’s not like she can roll or really move anywhere now is it? – Wrong.
Like a moron and incredibly rubbish mother to boot, I left her on her changing table, to kick about and gaze at her stickers, and I popped to the room next door and as I came back into the room, I was greeted with the sight of her legs hanging off the edge of the table and as I shouted “oh god, no!” and dived towards her, I saw her do a final kick and propel herself off the table and flop like a rag doll onto the floor below, landing face down, flat on her face, thud.
I was there to pick her up in a flash, but the screaming had already begun.
My poor baby, my precious 12-week old baby girl, the one I am meant to protect against all harm, to keep safe, to keep secure, I had just watched her flop about 3 feet off a table and land face down on the floor.
What kind of a mother am I? – clearly a terrible one in that moment. In that idiotic, moronic moment when I thought it would be okay to quickly dash out of the room to put away some t-shirts. What a total cretin.
I scooped her up, I held her close to me, I rocked her, I tried to soothe her, she screamed and she screamed and she screamed. My mind was filled with fear, I just kept saying “oh god no, I’m so sorry, oh god please no please be okay I’m so sorry” and after what felt like an eternity but was probably in truth only about a couple of minutes, the crying slowed down and the deep breaths and choked tears continued and then she was calm.
Terrified and with my heart pounding, I stroked her head all over. I looked for any visible signs that my baby girl might have been physically hurt in some way. I checked her pupils, because I had some sort of recollection that I should check for them to be dilated. When she was sufficiently calmed, I lay her down and moved her arms and legs and head from side to side to see if they moved okay and to see whether or not moving them appeared to cause her any pain or discomfort.
She seemed totally fine. No signs of bruising, no signs of anything out of the ordinary. She didn’t seem overly happy, but she did seem fine. But I’m no expert right? – what if she wasn’t fine and there had been some damage, it just wasn’t obvious?
I was scared. I was filled with thoughts of regret and what could have been and what might be. Should I go to my GP? but I knew I’d struggle to get an appointment with a doctor I really trusted in baby matters and so wasn’t sure how much that would achieve. I wondered if I should go to A&E, but then that seemed a little dramatic given that she seemed to be okay, but then I thought is it really possible to be overly cautious when it comes to babies and the answer there is probably no, better to be safe than sorry.
In the end, I decided to make use of the private doctor’s practice that is a couple of streets away from where I live and that has a private paediatrician in the practice. I’ve never been there before, but before I knew it I had an appointment within the hour, registered Claudia on arrival, and was seeing the doctor.
I explained what had happened and the paediatrician gave Claudia a very thorough examination, checking over her head and neck and literally every inch of her body. Moving her limbs, checking her hips, tapping her knees and other joints, carefully feeling her stomach. He checked her eyes, that her pupils weren’t dilated. He looked in her ears, up her nose, in her mouth. He turned her over and checked down her spine and all over her back and her neck. Reassuringly I felt he left no part of her unchecked!
He confirmed that she did seem to be fine and that most babies fall off something at some point and given that they are actually quite bouncy and soft, they rarely do themselves any damage, but he advised that I should continue to keep a close eye on her over the next 48-hours for anything out of the ordinary. If she were to projectile vomit or seem drowsier than normal, if there’s any discharge from her ears or nose, if she appears to have any trouble moving her arms and legs or just doesn’t seem herself, then I’m to go straight back. Or if I’m really concerned about a change in her then to go straight to A&E.
I’m also meant to wake her up 2 or 3 times in the night for the next 48-hours, just to ensure that she’s okay. Great. That’ll go down well…
So, I’m obviously keeping an extra close eye on her for the next two days, but I’m hoping that she’s actually completely fine, as she appears to be this evening, smiling and gurgling her happy little face looking at me with such love and trust as I put her to bed. Such love and trust for a mummy that loves her with her whole heart but who let her down today.
I’m so sorry baby Claudia.