'Don't beat yourself up love, it happened to all of us. You're not the first and not the last, believe me.' The nurse at children s' A&E was friendly, sympathetic and put me at ease. My baby was at ease already, watching intently the new place and procedures. The nurse examined my baby and took us to a separated booth because we didn't yet have our immunizations. There, I could breathe again while waiting for the doctor.
What happened? Basically, I have been an absolute idiot, that is what happened. I had a perfect day with baby, we were doing great, and in the late afternoon I wanted to go for a quick walk and buy some bread and milk... So I put baby in the pram and take the pram out. We have few steps at the front of our house and I learned already how to take the pram down safely with the baby in it (in the first weeks I would take the pram down first, then bring the baby; bit fussy and demanding plus complicated upon return when baby usually cries and when taken in the house expects a feed immediately, not being put away and me leaving to sort the pram...).
So normally, I will take the pram out the front door, turn it so it is facing to the side, away from the stairs and keep my hand on the handle while reaching for the door to close and lock. Simple, normal, I did it like that without thinking day after day.
Why didn't I do the same this time? Why did I loose my guard? Why did I not use my brain? I honestly can not tell. Maybe having such a good day made me too confident, made me to forget. Maybe my stupidity took over.
I let the pram face the stairs. I let go of the handle as I reached for the door. For a second the pram stood freely. Then it started to move. Slowly and swiftly it went down the stair and I watched as it felt on its side and my baby rolled out of it and ended on the edge of the stair and rolled onto the next where it stayed hanging. My darling baby looked so small, helpless and precious, all I could do was to watch as it happened. I noticed how tiny my baby really is. It sort of curled itself into a ball and for a moment I thought: it is over. I killed my baby, I lost the most precious thing in the world, the dearest being to me and it is all my fault.
Baby started screaming almost immediately and I rushed down and took baby in my arms. Baby seemed shocked, surprised and cried but there was nothing visibly wrong. I cried out loud for my husband and rushed back to the door. Husband could hear me and knew something was really wrong as this wasn't my usual voice. We took baby home, husband picked the pram and to my great surprise he was calm, encouraging and wasn't angry with me in the slightest. I must admit that if it was him who have done it, I would probably not be as nice to him. It just showed me how great person he is, no matter how frustrated I can get with husband sometimes, he is the best partner I can wish for and he is able to love me and support me when I almost killed his baby.
I knew straight away we have to go to the hospital and husband agreed but wanted to go inside first and make sure baby is fine. There was nothing, no bruise, no cut, baby was just upset, looking at me with a shock in its eyes and crying again. I am sure it could feel the panic in me. I picked red book and changing bag, we got the car seat ready and left for hospital. I sat at the back with baby, holding its hand, looking intently for any signs of head injury, thinking about internal bleeding, concussion, and about social services taking our baby away from us. I started to shake and the episode kept playing over and over again in my head.
We waited at the A&E and as I said the nurse was sympathetic and didn't find anything wrong. But according to the protocol we needed to be checked by a doctor, then a pediatrician who would decide what will happen afterwards. So there were three sets of people who asked me what happened, three sets of people plus a pediatric nurse who listened to the story of my stupidity and idiocy. They didn't seem judgmental at all. They all probably saw worse cases then us. But it couldn't make me feel any better. I have done some stupid things in my life, but I never felt so horrible. How could I let my baby down like this? How could I be so careless towards the person I love most in the whole world?
It was a long evening. Baby seemed more and more like normal itself as the surprise washed over, it seemed amused by all the fuss around. Every doctor and nurse considered our baby healthy and fine. Every one of them asked if baby was strapped in the pram and I always had to answer: no.
I always assumed that safety straps in the pram are there to be used when the baby is mobile, to prevent it from falling out of the pram. I didn't realize they are there to prevent my baby from me!
We returned home with instructions on what to look for and a phone number to the children's ward. Baby was fine, I was sleeping lightly, making sure baby is sleeping, anxiously waiting if it will wake up for its night feed as usually.
Nothing happened, night was quiet, baby didn't develop any complications, not a slightest bruise. Baby doesn't even remember what happened a week ago. I was the one left traumatized. The fall is burned in my memory, it keeps coming back. I still feel incredibly guilty. It took me four days to brave a trip out with the pram and I wanted husband to be there and see that I behave responsibly. He didn't really understand why I insist on that, he was busy with other things, for a change he seemed to me like absolute ass, and the anger helped me to get down the stairs swiftly and walk all of the emotions off. Parenting is a challenge, but I never realized how much of a challenge it can be. I learned my lesson, baby is always strapped in and the pram (a little bit scratched now) is never left facing the stairs or without me holding it. Husband has something to hold upon me, to remind me when I seem to be too righteous, the episode is slowly becoming a little legend we can share between us with a smile. We were lucky. Babies are much tougher than they seem to be, a midwife told me that after my baby was born and she was very right. However, it is not an excuse for us, we shouldn't loose our guard while taking care of them.
Why do I write this? To remind all new parents to be really careful, it takes a second for an accident to happen. And, paradoxically, I feel an urge to talk it through, get this episode of my chest and somehow it is easier to share it with random strangers on the net than with my mother (oh she would be crossed with me for doing that to her only grandchild!) or friends. People will probably judge me, but they are strangers, they will not remind me about it or pass the story on to other people to prove how bad a mother I am. Nobody can make me feel worse than I already feel. My baby is fine and doing great, it is all that matters to me anyway.