I’ve almost (but not quite) stopped reliving it, now. She’s fine, and we’re… recovering.
I was in the kitchen, defrosting ice cubes of pear or apple or some such thing, for her tea. Suddenly, Kevin started shrieking my name, as if I was supposed to get from the kitchen to the bottom of the stairs (which is the full length of the house) in time to stop her hitting the floor. By the time I DID get there, he already had Daisy in his arms, and was shouting “I dropped her, I dropped her”.
My heart did stand still, but I very calmly (unnaturally calmly) took her from him (she was SCREAMING, which I took to be a good sign), and started to try and look for damage. She was sufficiently upset that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to tell if I prodded a sore bit, but her limbs all seemed to be intact, and the only visible damage was a small mark on her forehead.
I decided that I needed a description of how she had landed, to give me a sense of where to look for damage, but it took me a while to get any sense out of Kevin. He was hanging over the arm of the sofa in the morning room (he said later that his legs had given way, and was fighting to urge to throw up with the shock), not really crying so much as wailing. I put my best Girl Guide Taking Control voice on, and said “Kevin, I need you to get up off the floor, and sit down on the sofa, and tell me what happened.”
“I dropped her!” he said.
“Yes, I gathered that bit. Tell me where she landed.”
“At the bottom of the stairs!” he wailed. “I slipped backwards, and I let go of her, I can’t believe I let go of her!”
“Yes, but what did she hit?” I asked him, wondering if he was always this thick, or just when it seemed to matter more.
“Every stair! She must have hit about five of them!”
I was starting to lose my temper – the baby was screaming, and I couldn’t work out how to tell if she was badly hurt, because I couldn’t get any sense out of Kevin.
“No – where on HER, Kevin, I’m trying to work out where to look for damage, on HER!”
It seems, when he’d finally understood what I was asking, that she’d rolled rather than bounced, and landed at the bottom on her face. The only mark I could find was the one bump on her forehead, and it had to be said that she didn’t seem seriously hurt, just very, very upset. Frightened, probably.
We debated taking her to Alder Hey, but decided that we should bring in a first aider to help us decide if it was necessary. So we rang Tess, who’s done a first aid course fairly recently, as part of her foster parent training, and she scurried round to inspect our baby for us.
Tess made us feel a lot better. She’s a pretty reassuring sort of person at the best of times, and she had a good look at Daisy, and pointed out that her pupils were behaving in the expected way, and in sync with each other, she was still alert, she wasn’t being sick, and so there was very little to suggest any concussion.
It was only once she’d left that we got all paranoid again, and decided to take her to see someone anyway. I rang the GP’s surgery, which was just closing, and they told me to take her to the Smithdown Road Minor Injury Centre for Children, which is an extraordinary service that amazes me that it’s still open. It’s fab, though – we were the only patients, and apparently, it’s a useful fast-track to Alder Hey, because if they can’t deal with you, they’ll send you across in an ambulance, which is a way to get seen much more quickly when you get there. Basically, though, the only thing they don’t do is admit you – cuts, bruises, straight-forward breaks, anything that they deal with then send you home, they can do there.
We arrived ten minutes before they closed, and a nice male nurse saw us, and basically said the same thing as Tess had. No evidence of concussion, no evidence of damage to her skull, just a bit of a graze, and couple of facial bruises starting to appear. He gave us a “Head Injuries” leaflet, and sent us home.
So, we came home, gave Daisy her bath, put her to bed, turned the baby monitor RIGHT up (it picks up her breathing on the top setting), and sat downstairs and looked at each other.
At that point I burst into tears. I’d been really good, up till then. It was just the thought of losing her, it was too overwhelming.
Kevin said he wished I’d shout at him, coz me being nice, and telling him it was an accident, and that I knew he would never have done it on purpose, only made him feel worse. Frankly, he was falling apart as it was, and I needed him to get his act together, not to collapse even further.
We left the lamp on, so we could easily check her for evidence of vomiting, and so we could prod her periodically, and make sure that she moved and whimpered in her sleep. About fifteen minutes after we’d gone to bed, I also decided we should sleep at the other end, so I could look straight into the crib at her. I got about six hours sleep that night; Kevin got about three.
The thing is, she’s fine. The event is already starting to pale away into the obligatory “dropped baby” story – everyone seems to have one. But I was so, so scared that she might go to sleep and not wake up. I love her so much.
It’s given me a new sense of what it cost God to see Jesus crucified, though. And, come to that, what it cost Mary.