October 19, 2008 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 26 Comments



I really didn’t post my last post because I needed you all to tell me to stick around. It was just the most honest thing I think I’ve written in a while, and I just needed to get it out.

Bea was right, you know. The real issue is that I’m struggling with assimilating “mother” into my identity. I went through this with infertility as well. I had a hard time looking past the label for a little while. It wasn’t until it hurt too much to keep focusing on it that I decided enough was enough.

But motherhood is more than a label. It’s shifted my ENTIRE perception. Everything. Politics, religion, what I want out of life, money, my friends, family, love. It’s changed EVERYTHING.

And I have no idea who I am anymore.

So I don’t know what the answer is. I like the idea that this blog should shift with me. Through my experiences. I like that it has history, that there’s more than just infertile Serenity. I also want a place to post about my son. About what he’s like, about who he becomes.

Ok, so maybe it means I keep posting. Maybe not so often. But keep posting anyway.

Speaking of which.

It happened this weekend.

One of my fears came true.

When Baby O was newborn, and little, and helpless, and I was overwhelmed and exhausted… I used to have waking nightmares. Daymares, I called them. I’d be nursing him, and I’d be sort of dozing off, and all of a sudden I’d have a vision of dropping him onto the floor. Or crashing my car and going off a bridge. Or suffocating him by bringing him into bed with me.

Stairs in particular worried me. I was super neurotic about when I was carrying Baby O down our stairs. I’d make sure I counted all of them (9 from the top stair to the landing, 6 more to the bottom) out loud so that I didn’t miss one. If I was wearing socks, I’d place my feet before I put my weight on it.

But it’s seven months later. And nothing had happened.

This week was killer. Baby O was overtired from daycare, and he didn’t eat well, and then didn’t sleep through the night. I was up with him once, twice, three times a night. And by the end of the week, I was EXHAUSTED.

And Friday night we went up to New Hampshire with friends. And stayed up too late. And of course Baby O got up early. And I was up then too.

So later that morning, I was coming down the carpeted stairs with Baby O. In my socks. To get a cup of coffee.

And on the third step.

I slipped.

And fell.

With my baby in my arms.

Time slowed to an absolute crawl. And I am completely honest when I tell you I have NO idea what I did with my body. The whole time I was falling, I was trying to get to my baby. To save him. To make sure he didn’t get hurt.

I fell down 10 stairs in all. And it took eons. Forever. In my mind, I saw Baby O cartwheeling, head over heels. I heard my friends all gasp, and one of them scream “oh my god.” And I heard them run over, as I ended up facedown on the last stair.

And then Baby O started crying, and my friend S took him and gave him right to J.

And I pushed myself up and asked “is my baby ok?” over and over. And it took me forever to get to J and take my baby into my arms. I was crying. My baby was crying – this low agonizing sound which scared the absolute fuck out of me.

When I put him down on the bed to look, he had no bumps, no bruises, nothing I could discern. He cried until I picked him up. He clung to me. And within seconds, he was asleep on my shoulder.

I let him sleep. Even though my mind was screaming “is he ok? Is he ok? IS HE OK?”

As it turns out, J saw the whole thing.

Baby O didn’t cartwheel.

I did.

But somehow I managed to keep him elevated above my body so that he didn’t get hurt.

And by fuck’s sake, I have the bruises and muscle pain to show for it. A huge lump and bruise on my right hip. A scrape and lump near my left elbow. My left tricep kills. My right pectoral hurts.

But my baby wasn’t hurt.

After Baby O went to sleep, I took a long shower. And crouched in the middle of the tub. And cried hard, hot, choking tears.

Because it could have been so much worse.

It could have been SO MUCH WORSE.

And for the rest of the weekend, I held Baby O a little closer. And kissed him a little more. And stared. And breathed in his scent.

I just thank whatever g-d is out there that those stairs were carpeted. And that I was able to hang on enough to make sure that he didn’t get hurt.

Because it could have been so much fucking worse.



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  1. My mother told me that when I was 3 weeks old she fell down the steps with me in her arms. Somehow she was able to keep me completely elevated, with only her bearing the brunt of the fall. It’s amazing what a mother can do to protect her baby.

  2. Oy. Glad to hear you are both relatively OK. It *wasn’t* worse.

  3. That is terrifying. The ChickieNob once fell down the stairs and she’s still squeamish about walking down alone. I’m glad you’re okay albeit bruised (emotionally and physically).

  4. Thank goodness you are ok. And the baby is OK! Thank goodness!! A mommy does what she needs to do, even if she has to rely on her reflexes! Goodness! Glad you are ok!

  5. I’m glad to hear you are both ok. That is one of my worst fears as I’m not great with stairs on my own. In fact, when my daughter was a few weeks old I slide down the last two stairs with her in my arms. Luckily I didn’t fall, but it scared the hell out of me.

  6. I had a bad fall with Baby B when I slipped on a wet spot on our ceramic tile in the kitchen, and I can’t explain it, either, but I somehow managed to protect her and avoid hurting her, though I busted myself up badly (I remember a badly bruised hip, as well, and an elbow I could barely move).

    I’m glad everything’s okay, as I know what kind of scare that causes.


  7. Your body knew what to do! That’s some pretty impressive hard-wiring. Glad Baby O was ok, and take care on those stairs.


  8. I am almost ten years older than my baby brother….we were on vacay and I was walking down the stairs of the Jersey Shore Motel with him…he was about 8 weeks old…

    I fell down the last 4 or 5 steps and even at ten I twisted my body and landed on my back…he was fine (cried…but fine!)…Me I was sore and had a nice scrape on my back.

    It’s amazing how the body works on auto pilot sometimes.

    Glad he’s ok and I hope you heal soon!

  9. You’re right, it could have been worse, but it wasn’t. It’s amazing that your body “knew” to protect Baby O. Amazing. Sorry that you are feeling sore.
    (And glad that you are still writing. I’ll miss you if you go…)

  10. I am so glad you guys are both alright! Your body knew on instinct what to do–isn’t that great? Now if only your body could have not gotten hurt too! 🙂

    I used to count the steps too (we have 13). My husband did not know why–and I would tell him I was teaching Michael how to count (I did not want him to know I was scared to death I would fall). Now, with Willow–I haven’t been counting, but recently, I noticed that I am silently mouthing “1, 2, 3…”.

    Oh, and having the second doesn’t make you necessarily any better–we have already “almost killed her” three times, all in one weekend–(Columbus Day) 1) her highchair fell at a restaurant; 2) my husband accidentally dropped her face first in sand on the beach; 3) she fell off the motel bed. Each time we went through panic mode–and each time she was totally fine…babies/children are fragile AND also amazing resilient too!

  11. Oh you are SO a mother Serenity – amazing what we can do to keep our babies safe. I fell over while holding a baby TBB once. Hurt myself but somehow he remained unharmed.

  12. Your body did what it was supposed to do even though you had no idea WHAT it was doing. Thank god you are both ok even with some bumps and bruies.

  13. see, though? the worst did happen. you fell with your baby. and your baby is just fine. just fine. so, it is okay. and it will be okay. when ya’ going to exhale? (do we ever if so let me know)

  14. Amazing what you can do when it’s about protecting your baby. I fell backwards, holding Baby T, as I was sitting down at a picnic table when he was only 3 months old. I had the biggest bruises on the back of my thighs, arms and banged my head on the table behind. Baby T was fine though, apparently I held on tight to him and I guess one advantage of my huge breastfeeding boobs is they make a great air bags.

  15. OMG , i am so glad thet he is okay… how scary. I hope you are oaky too. HUGS

  16. So glad he (and you) were ok!!!

  17. oh Serenity, you poor thing, this is definately a nightmare of mine too…that I just won’t be able to hold on…but you DID and you and Baby O are ok. Thank Goodness….
    Gio fell off our bed 2 weeks ago and I had those same tears, hot streaming out of me for an hour. But he is ok and Baby O is too.

    Big hugs to both of you….

  18. Wow, this brought tears to my eyes! I’m so glad Baby O is ok. Sorry you didn’t weather it as well, but as long as the baby is safe I know you will be alright! I think it is amazing how we just have this instinct to protect and we don’t even realize we are doing it.

    I have those same Daymares all the time that started as soon as Baby M came home. The stairs is a major one. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in that. My newest one is that I forgot to drop him off at daycare so I check the rearview mirror a million times on my way to the office.

  19. oh wow, good job Serenity. Baby O is lucky to have such a wonderful mommy!

  20. I still worry about this too. I fell really badly this summer and thankfully Chicken wasn’t in my arms. I still think about it. Sorry you are in pain, hopefully you heal fast!!

  21. My mom did this with my baby brother, coming down the stairs. It was dark and the middle of the night and I woke up to both of them crying hysterically. My mom actually broke her ankle, but my brother was okay. I think it’s a mother’s instinct to protect them when you fall. It’s not even conscious.

  22. I’m glad you are both okay!

  23. I’m so sorry about the fall how absolutely terrifying. Of course you managed to stop him being hurt, of course you did.

    A friend told me that those bad dreams/images after the baby is born is part of your brain adjusting to the new reality of having the baby to look after – they are your brain busy learning “don’t drop the baby, don’t drop the baby!”

    PS pls see my old comment re breastmilk – stop them from throwing it away it can be used more than once!

  24. Wow I was crying reading your post: it’s scary just to imagine it happening even though you know it ended okay for the baby. I hope you feel better soon. How terrifying! And a hearty cheer for keeping O safe despite the fall.

  25. I totally started crying reading your story. I totally understand this fear, but have also lived it from J’s perspective.

    My hubby missed a step when our Jim was just 2 or 3 days old. I heard him fall, and a loud thump. I thought the thump was Jim hitting the floor.

    I thought for just the few minutes it took to get to the stairs that our baby had died because there was no crying. Turns out baby had been held so securely during the fall that he didn’t even wake up.

    THOSE are the scariest moments of my life so far. Bar none.

  26. Oh my goodness, I am so glad you’re okay. You’re so amazing. You did exactly what you had to do in that situation. And we have ALL done things like that. Lily fell straight off the couch right onto her face while I was sitting there next to her. It was so scary and I felt horribly guilty, but it was just an accident.
    It’s so scary, but you did an awesome job:) You give that baby an extra squeeze from us! 🙂

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