There goes Father of the year.
My not yet 4 month old baby broke her leg last week.
Writing that sentence made me feel sick to the stomach. I have had this feeling a number of times over the last week as I reflect on what I did to cause Yve to break her leg. I initially didn’t want to make this post, as I didn’t want people to know, but I think it is important to be true to this blog and to post everything, good, bad and ugly about my time being primary carer of my children.
Last Friday was like any other Friday, I was doing school drop off of my 2 oldest children, I wasn’t late, I wasn’t in a rush. I did drop off and was putting Izaac (almost 4) and Yve in the car. Izaac was in and I walked around to put Yve in her seat. She was asleep and was sucking on her dummy, I picked her up as careful as possible as not to wake her. As I lifted her, she spat her dummy out, I manoeuvred her close to me, as to catch the dummy between us. She stirred, but didn’t wake, the dummy laid on her chest as I lifted her over the seat belt balancing the dummy on her chest to put her in the seat. As I did this, her leg caught on the seatbelt and she rolled onto her side into her seat. She awoke with a scream as the tumble woke her up and the dummy fell onto the ground. I pulled out another dummy and tried to console her. She was quite upset, but after a few moments, she calmed down and drifted back off to sleep.
She was due for a feed in the next 15 minutes or so, so I took her to the local coffee shop with Izaac to feed her and get a few things from the Supermarket. I carried her, as she was still unsettled. I gave her bottle and then walked her into the Supermarket where she fell asleep in my arms. We went home and changed her nappy. When I lifted her legs, she cried and wasn’t happy at all. I then checked her arm and leg that she landed on. She didn’t really react so I continued.
For most of the day she was her normal happy self, until I went to wrap her for afternoon nap. When I lifted her legs to put the wrap under her, she let out a shriek and I thought to myself that I had hurt her hip. I didn’t know what to do. I had to pick up my oldest son and my nephew in an hour and I wouldn’t be able to get to the Doctor and back. I decided that I would leave it, pick up the boys and would see how she was when my wife came home and then would take her to the hospital if we weren’t happy with how she was.
After picking up Jaecob and his cousin, I put Yve in her high chair, she was smiling and giggling and when I touched and moved her leg, she seemed fine. I started dinner and noticed that she kept her left leg bent up and wasn’t kicking it out like the other one. That concerned me, but she kept on giggling away.
Mel got home with our 5 year old Kaine at 8pm after a night at a fete. I asked her to have a look at her and said to look at her not moving her left leg. Mel changed her nappy and she seemed fine… not complaining at all, but also not moving her leg. We both thought hip and Mel did the “clicky hip” test. She didn’t like that, and cried. Mel said that we needed to take her to the hospital and I agreed. I got dressed and put her in the car. I drove to the Children’s Hospital in Brisbane (40 min away) as I knew exactly where to go and how good the staff were as I had been there before. All the way there, I thought “What have I done. Please be OK.”
We got there at 9pm. She was triaged and she was smiling and giggling away and even kicked out her leg a little bit even though she still kept it bent. The nurse moved her hip around and her leg and she was fine. I told the nurse what happened. She said “So you didn’t drop her on the ground?” I said “No, she would have only dropped a couple of inches as she rolled into her seat” I thought to myself “Hope you are OK, and maybe it was a muscular or bruise”.
We finally saw the doctor just after 10:30pm, I repeated the story and she did similar tests. She said that she wanted the Resident Doctor to have a look as she was still worried about her not using her leg and said that it may be a bruise or something as I may have grabbed her when she rolled into her seat. The Resident had a look and didn’t shed anymore light. I gave Yve her bottle and she dozed off, the Doctor’s ordered an X-Ray to rule bone damage out.
At about 11:15pm she went into x-ray, considering I woke her up and was moving her leg into different positions for the scans, she still smiled away and gave me a happy look. The scans looked clear from the doctor’s perspective. They were pretty sure that it was likely muscular or a bruise and to take her home and “keep an eye on it”. If there was any change in the leg (swelling, hardening etc.), she got a fever or if she was uncharacteristically unhappy to bring her back and the doctor would call us if when the Radiologist had a look over the weekend if there was anything they couldn’t see. I was home at 1:30am.
Saturday she was fine, no issues when she was changed, she had her bottles etc. The only thing she still wasn’t kicking out with her left leg. Sunday was mother’s day and we went for a picnic with our extended family. She was giggling, playing and her usual self, except that she didn’t use her left leg. I decided that I would take her back to the hospital Monday, as the Resident was back on day duty and would see what she said.
I dropped the boys off at school and took Yve and Izaac up to Brisbane. The traffic was terrible and it was 10:30am before I got there. Yve was triaged again and when the Resident knew we were there, she came straight out and saw us. We went back to the bed and the Doctor did the same tests. She informed me that the Radiologist couldn’t find anything with the x-rays, so she would to start thinking outside the square. She ordered bloods for a possible infection, an x-ray of the lower leg and an ultrasound of the leg and hip for other possible issues.
Izaac was being a great little helper and was very quiet and played by himself. They decided to admit us into short stay, so Izaac could watch TV and Yve would be more comfortable in a cot. They took blood and then we went in for the x-ray of the lower leg. Nothing could be seen on the x-ray and then we were called up at 1pm for the Ultrasound.
We were waiting in the room and I thought “Please just be a little bruise or a slight pulled muscle or something”. When they were doing the ultrasound on her leg, I asked “How was it looking?” he responded “It looks like she has a small break in the femur, but we should get an x-ray”. My heart sank, I felt ill and tears welled in my eyes. I looked at my less than 4 month old daughter and thought “What have I done”. She just smiled back at me and let out a little laugh as I held her down so they could continue the scan. He left the room to get the head radiologist and I just sat there, in shock.
He returned with the Radiologist a few minutes later, she told me that she was sorry that she didn’t pick it up on the x-ray and she looked again and she still couldn’t see the break. I returned to Short Stay and called Mel. I broke down as I told her I had broken her leg. She told me ”It’s not your fault, it was an accident. You need to be strong.” Mel was picking up the boys from school and asked what I wanted her to do. I didn’t know, and attempted to say that I would call her back when I knew more. I wiped the tears away and went back over to Izaac and Yve who were both oblivious to what was going on. I picked up Yve and held her and whispered to her how sorry I was.
The Resident Doctor came over and asked how I was? I just broke down again and said “Not good”. She explained to me that I shouldn’t blame myself and it was just an accident and what a great job I was doing. It didn’t make me feel better. I asked “What’s next?”. She was going to speak to an Orthopaedic surgeon and that it may not even need a cast as they heal so well at that age. The Doctor left me with a box of tissues and went to speak to the Ortho.
The Doctor returned and said she would discuss everything with another colleague, but she would likely need a cast. She went through all the questions again and I thought that she was fishing around for signs of Child Abuse, she asked if the other kids had breaks young and asked if there were any other incidents lately with her. I told her about Jaecob’s breaks (Jaecob has had numerous broken arms due to being active (and a little uncoordinated)) and that Izaac had actually fallen on her the week earlier. She said that the break could have happened then and the small stumble could have just been the reason that we noticed it.
They had to put a cast on her. From her groin to her foot. My poor little girl. I have a Fracture clinic appointment next week. You wouldn’t know there was anything wrong, she is still as happy as ever… it still doesn’t make me feel any better though.