So he’s coming up to 6 months old already. He can prop himself up temporarily and hold his head up, looking for whatever caught his eye earlier, or looking for something to look at.
He’s only been able to roll from his back to his front.
Or so we thought.
Last Friday night, at 7pm, we were in a rush to pack our stuff readying for a dinner appointment and the weekend away at my parents’. We left Caleb in the middle of the double bed in our spare bedroom, as usual, surrounding him with pillows to “box” him in. This was done many times before, when we need to change him and while fetching the talcum powder, new diapers, etc.
Caitlin was also “busy”, walking around acting like she was also looking for stuff to pack. In our haste, we left Caleb in the room whilst we walked out to put/fetch more things, in different directions.
I am usually conscious of where people (and most things) are in the apartment at most times. It’s just my secret wish to be like Jason Bourne- to be aware of potential hazards now that we have potentially hazardous-to-self kids. So I knew where Caitlin kinda was, and I also knew Caleb was on the bed.
But I didn’t prepare for nor think about his growing abilities.
Just as I paced outside the bedroom door either with something in my hand or looking for something else, I heard a thud. I already knew what it was- there was no one else in there but Caleb.
As I almost-ran already expecting to find Caleb on the floor, he was already on his back, looking up looking very stunned, and started bawling one of the loudest bawls. I knew the thud was his left hand hitting an empty cardboard box beside the bed. Slowly swiftly I picked him up, knowing the “damage” was his head but checked his left hand first for abrasions / paper cuts. Nothing. Then I gently touched his head and the swelling had started, which quickly later became a ring-bruise.
I can only imagine that he somehow rolled on top of the pillow, and rolled off the edge of the knee-height bed face first, and turned on the way down to land on his back / the back of his head, hitting his hand on the box, ending up the way I found him.
As soon as Caitlin found out, she quickly realised the extent of the accident, and started exclaiming “Why did baby fall down why did baby fall down!?” with each sentence the tears welling in her eyes. I was walking around as I comforted Caleb. Caitlin was following me around making these exclamations, demanding answers to how her little brother got hurt, herself crying quite badly at the end.
Caleb cried for a long time. Even though he was conscious and fidgeting during the cry / from the fright, I was still very scared. Even though it wasn’t a concussion (at least I thought at the time) I had heard of internal damage from such a fall.
I started watching him for signs of nausea. I had heard this was what to look out for. After quickly speaking to Dr Pixie, she sternly corrected me that nausea would already be too late. Instead, we should watch to see if he behaves out of the ordinary: If he’s too noisy, too quiet, too fidgety, too calm; anything that’s not his usual behaviour.
That’s what we did in the following hours. And somewhat gladly, he behaved predictably, albeit slightly teary from the presumably sore bump.
For peace of mind, we visited Dr Pixie the following morning. He was his usual self- responding to my tongue-clucking, looking around at his surroundings wherever he went. Since it was already over 12 hours since the fall, and going by his body language, Dr Pixie gave her assurance that he’s fine.
Dr Pixie then followed up with a call. Since he had hit the back of his head where the brain processes visual signals, asked that we do an eye test on Caleb, by alternately covering his eyes and getting him to track a movement (eg, moving the finger).
He was able to.
Did I feel like shit? Yes.
Did I “fail” in ensuring safety for my kids, even a simple one like this? Yes.
Could I have acted differently? Yes. I could have called Hot Mummee, and Dr Pixie a lot earlier, to learn what to look out for.
We were lucky. Very lucky.