Saturday, January 8, 2011


Back in November, our lives took a crazy turn that really leaves me wondering in retrospect how I made it through everything, but here I am. Now I can breathe and finally put this down on paper.

I wish I could pinpoint exactly when it started, but I unfortunately can only narrow it down to a span of a few days (but let's say the first day I'm sure of is the Wednesday a week before Thanksgiving). Tadpole, our sweet, smiley, happy, "easy" baby started being cranky. After a while (hours, days, who knows?) we noticed that she wasn't just cranky, she was really hysterical. She would calm down when I'd cradle her, and then fall asleep, but when she was awake she was inconsolable. We couldn't see anything obviously wrong, but after several days of this, we finally called the advice nurse. At this point it was the weekend, and the nurse thought it was worth a trip to the doctor during the week.

When Monday came, off to the doctor we went. He checked her out (although didn't undress her, which I thought was strange). He ruled out an ear infection, and chalked it up to either growing pains or teething. Then he sent us home.

On Wednesday morning, the day before Thanksgiving, we noticed that Tadpole wasn't putting her left foot down when we'd hold her up and let her feet touch the ground. If we tried to lean her in that direction, she'd pull her foot up even higher. When she was in her "rainforest jumperoo", she'd only push with her right foot, and if we tried to put pressure on the bottom of her left foot, she'd pull it away. We thought it was strange, but didn't know what else to think of it.

By Thanksgiving morning, she was still favoring her left leg and we started wondering if there was something wrong, and if it could possibly be related to the inconsolable wailing. Another call to the advice nurse - she told us that it sounded like something could be going on, but it wasn't an emergency and we should wait until Friday to go to urgent care. So we waited, but all day we kept noticing her favoring her left leg. Since there was nothing visibly wrong, we started worrying that there might be some neurological problem, and I started to quietly freak out a bit.

Friday morning, we spent hours at urgent care seeing the doctor on call (not a pediatrician). He mentioned bone cancer and joint infections, and then sent us for hip x-rays - let me tell you, getting hip x-rays of a 4-month-old baby is really sad. The x-rays checked out ok, so he made a follow-up with the on-call pediatrician for Saturday. Friday evening, I remembered that a friend's step-dad was a pediatrician, so we went to their house get another opinion - he also thought Tadpole seemed ok.

Saturday morning, we went back to the hospital for our on-call appointment - the pediatrician also had no idea what could be wrong, but my husband asked if we could x-ray her whole leg. Over an hour later and after many trips back and forth down the hospital corridors with a semi-naked baby (due to major incompetence at the x-ray lab), we had our x-rays, and the pediatrician thought everything was fine and sent us home.

Two hours later, I received a call from the doctor's office - the x-rays had been read by the radiologist, who determined that Tadpole had a fracture in BOTH her tibia and fibula, just above her ankle. We had to come back in for a splint, but she assured us that it was already healing well, and Tadpole would have no trouble crawling or walking. After thoughts of cancer, neurological disorders, and bone infections, we were incredibly relieved to have found what seemed like a minor problem that was already healing. There was nothing wrong with our beautiful baby! Our hearts were light as we let everyone involved know the result, although we still had no idea at all how the fractures could have happened.

Monday morning, my pediatrician called me. It turns out, my friend's step-dad called him and urged him to report us to Child Protective Services! I cried for an hour before I was able to calm down enough to call my husband to tell him. The next day he called back to tell us he had made his decision and felt obligated to report us. I cried again. I cried myself to sleep for several days. I imagined the county coming to take our children away from us. No one could tell us what would happen, except that someone would contact us "very soon". It took a week for them to contact us, and I lived in constant fear and anxiety, wondering when the axe would fall and what would happen.

In the end, a social worker and police officer came to our house on a surprise visit and luckily they picked a good day. The house was relatively clean, the babies were dressed in their cute Christmas outfits, and Tadpole was in a happy smiley mood (although they pointed out the birthmark on her head and asked if it was an injury, sheesh). They talked to me for a while, and asked to see where the kids sleep, and said they didn't see any problems (whew). No one followed up with us before we left for Italy, so I'm still nervous about what will happen when we get back.

At that point in my path to motherhood, I had already been feeling a major lack of self-confidence, and nothing had gone the way I expected, starting from pre-eclampsia, the induction, the entire labor and delivery process, and my failure to continue breastfeeding. I knew I was lucky to have two beautiful babies, but it seemed that everything was spinning out of control, and the constant comments and "advice" from friends, family, and strangers really chipped away at my self-confidence. To have everything culminate in my sweet 4-month-old having a broken leg and us being reported to CPS - well, I'm not sure I've quite recovered from any of it.

After all this, the daily isolation and mental strain of having two little babies, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without a break is really starting to wear me down. I question myself and doubt everything I do. When I'm not with them, I miss them. When I'm with them, I feel anxious about how I'm going to get through the day. I sorely feel the lack of a support system, and I'm finding it harder and harder to get out of the house with two babies that are more active every day. I love them ... and that's why I've decided to start looking into getting some help and advice from a professional, as soon as we get home from Italy. I don't know if I have postpartum depression, but I have so much anxiety and depression that I think it's better to get things checked out.

So - we are in a much better place right now, but the events of the last few months still remain with me and I wanted to get it down. The next posts should be much better! Happy 2011, everyone!


  1. Oh honey!!! I am so sorry! That is terrible!

    With Bobby and Maya walking around and playing all the time, not a day goes by without a bump or a bruise around here. I cant even imagine having someone report us because of the things kids do. That is terrifying!!!

  2. Hi--I've been a reader for a long time but don't usually (I mean, never) comment. Can't remember how I found your blog but probably just through my browsing as I too dealt with infertility. I was lucky enough to have my now 8-month old son with the help of IVF. In any case, just wanted to give you some support--sounds like an awful experience but you are right, you got through it. I work in pediatrics and unfortunately we see so many sad cases that we have to be vigilant and even when suspicion is very low, you have to report just in case.

    I too, struggle with my confidence as a mother and being at home all day is sooooo tough (can't imagine doing it with 2!). I went back to work when he was 5 months. That's hard too. I'm still just figuring out how you have to make decisions that you feel are best for your family and go with them, despite what others may think. I always thought parents just knew what to do--or that there were right and wrong answers out there. But I'm finding out that is not the case. I don't have family or many friends nearby which makes things tougher and I really now see the value of having a good support system around you when you have babies. As I said, I work in pediatrics and know a lot about kids--I thought I could handle it! I still think finding a therapist for myself would be useful. I honestly think every woman suffers from some post-natal depression (and anxiety), its just a matter of degree.

    Anyway--not much help. Just want you to know that I think your feelings are totally normal and that it sounds like you have the right attitude going forward. Hang in there! You are an awesome mommy--in fact, the most perfect mommy for Tadpole and Turtle ever!!!

  3. Oh my gosh!!! I'm so sorry you had to endure all of that - I'm afraid it would have broken me to have someone tell me they were reporting me to CPS...

    So glad that you recognize the need for help for yourself - it will all get better from here!

  4. Oh my goodness!! I can't imagine what that was like. Hopefully you'll be able to put all of this behind you. Hope Tadpole is recovering quickly. Have a safe trip home.

  5. Oh my God. So if the friend's step dad thought that whatever was going on warranted a call to CPS but yet he didn't think there was anything wrong? WTF? I'm so sorry you've had to go through all of this. I hope that you are able to find someone who is a good fit for you and is able to provide the help you need to build your confidence. Hugs to you.

  6. I'm really sorry you've been going through all this! What a mess :(.
    My younger brother had a huge head on a skinny little body - he was so clumsy and unbalanced as a kid that he was CONSTANTLY hurting himself. With the amount of ER visits my parents made for stitches, concussions, etc, they had to start rotating ER's so no one would think they were hurting him.
    So sorry again :(. I can't imagine how stressful that must be.

  7. Oh my God! How horrible! How could they ever have thought you all would need CPS?!? I'm so, so sorry. What an awful holiday.

    I wonder how she fractured the leg? Bless her little heart, poor baby. I can't believe it took them so many days to diagnose it!

    I'm so glad you're going to see a professional - 'cause taking care of YOU is the best way to take care of the babies!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!