Honestly, it seems like every time I update my blog at the moment it’s because of some potentially life threatening A&E visit.
Yesterday was probably the single scariest day in my whole life. Enough of a shock to the system that I am awake at 3am trying to “write it out” because my minds been whirring since 1.30am and I can’t seem to shut it off… Probably shouldn’t have gone to bed at 9pm either but I was knackered.
Baby head injury
Thea is an active baby. She’s 14-months now and not quite walking. She takes a few steps here and there but seems to enjoy falling on to her bottom more. Still she’s utterly fearless and totally intrepid.
Yesterday I was putting clothes away, just about to head out to the car to launch my latest classes at Eat Play Love in Battersea when I hear a crash and a wail.
I spun round and Thea has quite clearly fallen somehow! She’s lying on her tummy reaching up so I scoop her up and she does that thing where baby’s do a long silent cry before wailing even louder.
Except this time she didn’t.
Her silent scream went on and then her eyes rolled back into her head, flickered and closed as her little body went limp in my arms.
I thought she’d died!
I was patting her face, imploring and pleading with her to wake up as I carried her into the living room and dialled 999. “You’re going to be ok, wake up for Mummy, please Thea, please Thea, wake up baby! Please”. I was so terrified, I was shaking, my whole body turned to ice.
In all I think it was about 20 seconds from her losing consciousness in my arms to me getting through to the ambulance operator on 999 at which point Thea opened her eyes and began screaming again.
I felt a short, sharp, lightening bolt of relief but I was still so frightened. I described the incident to the ambulance operator and checked her reactions by tickling her feet and hands and getting her to look at me.
She was dazed and just stuck to me like limpet, crying and pressing her face to my chest, trying to sleep as I tried to keep her awake in case I lost her for good.
Eventually the ambulance operator put me through to an automated message that explained that my situation as described was not an emergency so an ambulance would be dispatched as soon as one became available and that I could be waiting up to 45 minutes.
Thea was now whimpering but was behaving normally so I felt OK. 2 minutes later there was a knock at the door and the ambulance crew arrived asking me if everything was Ok? The first thing I said was “I’m ok, just shaken up” – clearly in my state of shock it hasn’t occurred to me that they were asking about Thea.
The paramedics checked Thea and once satisfied that she was ok, told
me to take my time and get everything I needed as we’d have to go to A&E as is the policy with head injuries to little ones.
Ten minutes previously (felt like a lifetime ago) I had sent a reminder email to all the new participants of the class I was launching. And now, here I was sending another email saying it had been postponed. I still can’t believe I had the presence of mind to actually cancel the class and inform people. I felt like I was on auto-pilot.
We rode in the ambulance with Thea still stuck to me chest. The nurses at A&E (a couple of Irish girls) were amazing! We were seen really promptly by one of them, then a medical student, then the lead paediatric doctor with the medical student and finally another nurse (referred to as the Paediatric Reg – no idea what that means).
Thea’s heart, blood pressure and reactions were checked as well as signs of a seizure or internal bleeding.
The doctor explained (as had the paramedic) that Thea had held her breath when she did her silent scream and basically forgotten how to let go an breath again so she’d fainted. Apparently it’s how their little bodies reset.
When they cry straight away it’s a good sign apparently. Plus there were no convulsions, blood from ears, eyes or nose or bruising behind the ears.
Nevertheless she was kept under observation.
In the NHS this tends to mean stowed in a corner and ignored, but in this case, the nurse got us a bed and a couple of sandwiches and kept an eye on us despite a waiting room full of children and babies. Thea, having missed her morning nap, was utterly exhausted by this point and so, after half an egg sandwich and a yoghurt, she slept happily on the bed curled up next to me.
Two hours later, one of the lovely nurses came and told me I could take Thea home and gave me a cuddle, which was as welcome as it was unexpected. I hadn’t realised how tense I still was! She even blew us a kiss when we left and wished us well. I’ve never felt like a nurse cared as much as her.
Of course I’d left the house with no Oystercard or change so trekked the mile and a half back, carrying Thea in the sling. She got briefly upset when she realised we were walking past the park and not going in – definitely on the mend!
Phew. And there you go. I’ve been checking her all night just in case, I’m still up worrying about it, I threw up my dinner cause of all the Cortisol stress hormone coursing about my blood stream, but she’s going to be OK I think.
Might just go check again just in case though.