Let me say that she’s amazingly ok….
Stepping back a bit, Kaitlyn’s been sick again for over a week so we’ve been taking it sort of easy lately (remember she has lung disease and is at risk for severe lung issues). We decided to go to San Francisco for her birthday on 10/4 to watch the Blue Angels (for 4 days for Fleet Week the Arial show is directly over the city and the Bay).
We drove to SF and strapped Kaitlyn into her BOB Jogging Stroller. We walked down to the sidewalk along the Marina/Break water that had a grassy area nearby, knowing that if Kaitlyn grew tired of being in the stroller we could let her run around on the grass.
There was a small girls soccer team practicing on the grass. I said to Brian that I was so happy to finally be a mother and that I felt Kaitlyn would be able to run and play like those girls out there. I was feeling really happy.
Just as the Blue Angels started, we kneeled down and pointed the planes out to Kaitlyn and she was pointing up to them. The planes took a curving path around us and both Brian and I stood and turned to watch them. I was feeling joy at being here, with our “family” watching the planes with our daughter.
After they flew past, Brian turned back and yelled out “Where’s Kaitlyn?”
OH MY GOD. Her stroller was gone. This was maybe 20 seconds after we were talking to her. It had vanished.
It rolled off the break water into the Bay. Can you imagine the sight of her stroller missing? This memory is etched into my mind.
Brian jumped off the wall and I ran up to it and looked down. Her stroller was face down on the rocks. Her legs were sticking out. Oh MY GOD!!!!!! Brian quickly righted it and pushed it up to me. He could hardly get it all the way up, he had to hoist it up and I grabbed down and pulled it back up onto the sidewalk.
Kaitlyn just fell 8-10 feet onto a rock face/head first.
(My heart is racing again just typing this and reliving this horrible, horrible accident….I’m fact, I’m having a really hard time writing this).
There was a police substation set up not 100 yards away (for Fleet Week). I immediately took her out of the stroller -probably a bad move in hindsight (in case she had had a broken her neck), but I was desperate. Brian told me not to take her out, but it was too late. She was crying, blood everywhere I was in shock myself. Blood in her mouth, her face….
I screamed to Brian check her out you are a Paramedic. He grabbed her, told me to call 911 and ran towards the police trailer. I couldn’t get through 911 (an automatic system and I was in cue) and besides the fact I couldn’t hear a thing due to the screaming Blue Angels over head.
Brian laid Kaitlyn out on the table of the police trailer and I said I couldn’t get through to 911. They assured me help was already on the way. Ambulance and engine came (remember this is where Brian works as a fireman). I really only remember some of all of this at this point.
I carried her to the Ambulance. She was inconsolable.
They told me to get on the gurney and then I held Kaitlyn, we were going Code 3 to the hospital. OH MY GOD.
At this point, when I looked out the back window of the Ambulance and saw a police escort on a motor cycle I had a complete break-down. I started sobbing (I can’t believe I held it together until this point). (Brian later told me that we had a full escort with more motor cycle cops in front –and that this is REALLY rare).
I can’t believe we were going back to the hospital with my daughter on this day. On October 4th - On The day I lost Corinne. Please don’t let this be happening. How could I have ever let go of the stroller? Please let Kaitlyn be ok. What a horrible mother I was…
They asked if she had any medical issues? Ha! Where to start. You know the drill: Micro preemie, weighed 1.5 pounds at birth, lost her twin sister, 4 months NICU, chronic lung disease, on inhaled steroids, GI issues, paralyzed vocal chord….(they felt her stomach an freaked out till we stated it was a gtube)
Brian blew up a glove as a balloon, and amazingly Kaitlyn quieted down and said “Balloooon” in her sweet voice. This was the first moment I felt some hope. She was talking. She was recognizing a balloon. I just kept saying to myself she was going to be ok. Everything was going to be ok.
We got to the hospital, there was some confusion, as my husband made them go to a particular hospital (where the girls were born) as opposed to the Trauma Center and the hospital staff wasn’t very happy about that.
They took the glove balloon away from her and popped it (some Nasty Nurse Nelly saying it was dangerous and asking why we weren’t at The General Hosp?) and of course Kaitlyn went into hysterics again after her balloon was gone.
After examination and an hour later Kaitlyn was sent for a Cat Scan to check for any internal injuries. By this time she had calmed down a lot and was actually snuggling in my chest. She got very worked up with the IV insertion (of course) and wound clean-up, but I was starting to feel a lot of relief at this point.
We got the results and the Cat Scan showed she was just fine, with the exception of a Sinus Infection (remember I said she was sick)? What an expensive way to confirm she’s sick.
We were released about 3-4 hours afterwards. I was in shock the whole way home. I can’t believe I let my daughter roll off a cliff. She was finally given some pain medicine before we left and that really helped her.
Her face was already black and blue, and swollen. They patched up a cut on her lip with glue (instead of stitches). Her glasses probably saved her eye. You could tell that her glasses had dug into her face. Remember all those times strangers have asked me if her glasses were for “eye protection”? Well I guess they were!
They told us to watch out for excessive tiredness (from head trauma), but a bit hard to tell as she was recovering from shock too and was wiped out. She slept for a few hours but then started crying uncontrollably. I was able to quiet her down when I held her and finally I went to sleep with Kaitlyn in my arms (the first time she’s ever let me hold her for so long). It made me feel she really does love me. (sometimes I wonder as she missed out on so much bonding time being born so early and my not being allowed to hold her until 5 weeks after she was born).
We ended up eating Kaitlyn’s birthday cake that night ourselves, as we know she wouldn’t “eat it” and we figured we needed the treat more than she did. What a 2nd birthday.
The next day we kept her on Ibuprofen and she was definitely not herself. Her poor face was so sad, swollen and black and blue. I was so afraid that she wouldn’t be able to open her eye as it was so swollen, but she was able to.
Thankfully, though she slept through the night easily on Friday night even after her pain medicine wore off and by Saturday morning she seemed back to normal (except her cold which seemed to be worsening). They said she didn’t need antibiotics if she didn’t have a fever (from the sinus infection) but hard to tell as she was on Ibuprofen for pain for over 24 hours. Her face actually looked a bit better. I thought it was going to be much worse by Saturday as bruising typically gets worse before it gets better.
I have a few pictures of Kaitlyn’s face on Sunday. I was just too freaked out to remember to take any pictures of her after the accident when she looked so much worse. I had to go back to SF on Friday to pick up the stroller (it was still at the police station). I took some pictures of the wall. I was still in shock on Friday myself. I freaked out looking down the wall. What if she had landed in the water? I just couldn’t believe that she was going to be ok. How in the world could I have let this happen?
As a “funny” side-note, on Friday Kaitlyn decided she likes BBQ Potato Chips. I mean really like them. I’ve NEVER heard her ask for anything (besides the occasional water), but she likes to eat chips and was getting upset, signing more and saying “more chips.” I’ve never heard her say more to anything (food or not food). Kaitlyn’s cousin Stella said and signed “more” to everything related to food. Kaitlyn only ever signed more in repetition of us signing more. She REALLY wanted to “eat” chips. Well by “eat” I mean take a bite of the edge of the chip, pack it in her mouth and continue to want more. If she tries to move it around, she then chokes, gages and vomits up anything that she last ate.
I said to Brian, “Ha, you have to have your child fall off an 8 foot cliff in order for them to want to eat and start communicating!” (I was trying to find something to feel joyful at this point). (Scroll to the end of this post for a video of chip eating from today).
Lessen Learned for me and for all parents:
The sidewalk was flat (or seemingly flat). If it had been a ramp I would have never let go of the stroller or would have made sure to have the break on. It happened within 30-40 seconds. I thought it was flat. Please, please let this be a reminder to you, especially in heavy jogging strollers. NEVER ever, even if you think it’s flat, let the stroller go without the parking break or safety strap.
I have to look at this horrific accident as trying to tell me we are so lucky she came through seemingly with cuts, scratches and bruises. Her stroller could have rolled onto oncoming traffic. Who knows. Please let our accident be a reminder to you.
Kaitlyn has "glue" on her upper lip, her eye is badly bruised, but her face looks MUCH better in these pictures taken on Saturday than it did on Friday, the day after
Doesn't this look flat to you?
This shows how far down the sea wall was
Kaitlyn's fall landed somewhere on the rocks behind the stairs before the 2nd ramp (I think). We found the stroller upside down, with her head against the rocks... Kaitln today, trying out some of her new birthday presents, seemingly just fine after her horrific Birthday accident. Today. She was just too cute. J (see below) gave Katilyn new pants and hat for her birthday. Sunday, showing her face looking much better, with "J" our amazing nanny. When she heard about Katilyn's accident she had to come see how she was doing on her day off.
These last 2 pictures were taken a few days before her birthday, showing off her new glassess (without a head strap!) they are a bit big though and thankfully we had just taken them off and put on her regular (strap behind the head glasses) right before the accident.
Lastly, here is a video of Kaitlyn's new love for chips (as well as some of her great new talking skills and of course what would a eating session be without vomit?)