Did I say I was over being clumsy? I take it back. Yesterday at 11am, Matilda fell out of her sling. She wasn’t seated in it correctly and I somehow let her drop right out of it. She fell from waist high to the floor and hit her head on the hard wood floor. I can’t begin to express the horror and panic I felt at that moment. I picked her up and felt her head and it was misshapen to say the least. I cant recall who started screaming first, her or me.
We managed to get our shit together to call her pediatrician (damn automated phone system) who advised us to come in right away. We haphazardly tossed together her diaper bag, put her in her car seat and literally went running in the street to grab a cab. Within 15 minutes we were at the pediatrician’s office who saw us within minutes. The doctor thought her signs were good, no vomiting, loss of consciousness, her pupils were dilating, there was no liquid in her ears and the baby was calm (can’t say the same about mom). However, due to the size of the bump on her head, she recommended that we go to the emergency room for more tests.
A few minutes later, we were in another cab headed for Columbia Presbyterian Hospital’s pediatric emergency room, which is a few blocks from our house. We waited a hour or so for triage and then we were seen by a resident who thought Matilda was ok, but she wanted to get the opinion of the attending pediatrician. He ordered a CAT scan. A few hours later we had the CAT scan and the results were not good. Matilda had a small fracture in her skull. And the CAT scan also showed possible blood. At that point, poor Matilda was hooked up to various machines to monitor her breathing, heart rate, blood oxygen levels and blood pressure. Needless to say, I pretty much lost it at that point.
6 hours later, we repeated the CAT scan, but the results were the same. We were visited by a Nuerology resident who assured us that it was not blood and that Matilda was fine. However, the radiologist had a different opinion. We were advised to play it safe and we were admitted to the hosptial for overnight observation.
I just need to interrupt my own story to say that this is an amazing hospital. Columbia Presbyterian is #6 on the list of best hospitals in the country, and its the best in the city. They have a renowned Children’s Hospital with in the hospital. The pediatric ICU room the put us in was huge and beautiful with a view of the city, flat screen tv and pc with internet and free use of phone, a sofa bed for me to sleep on, a pantry with snacks and juice and an amazing staff. They even gave me a toothbrush and a breastpump to use. Seriously, if you have a sick kid, go there!
Pablo went home for the night and Matilda and I stayed in the ICU. She was really actually very peaceful and not even bothered by all that was going on around her. I spent most of the night alternating between standing next to her crib to make sure she was still breathing and curled up into a ball crying my eyes out with guilt that I could let something so horrible happen to my precious baby.
The next day, the attending pediatrician came by to see Matilda and he concurred with all the other doctors that she seemed fine. Surprisingly, he advised me that a skull fracture on a newborn requires no special care whatsoever. We can resume normal activity and she was given no medication or instructions other than to watch out for vomiting or loss of consciousness in the next 48 hours.
I was also visited by a social worker. I think that dropping your baby on her head is some sort of trigger for that kind of visit. I tried my hardest to act like a respectable woman and a good mom.
Eventually, the attending neurology surgeon reviewed the scan with the radiologist and decided that it was not blood at all and that we could all go home. We need to go back in 6 weeks to have her checked out by the neurologist, and I was assured over and over again that she would not have any lasting damage from the incident.
I am going to go crash now. I am still running on adrenaline and I am still in shock. I am so glad Matilda is ok and now that I see her in her own crib looking the same as the night before, I am beginning to forgive myself for the accident. Thanks to everyone who shared stories of other moms and babies who went through similar incidents (and turned out fine) and for not judging poor clumsy me.