Here, Candace West, 26, tells the story in her own words.
Rumbling on the floor with our boy, we saw his smile light up the room.
My partner Jake, 24, and I looked adoringly at our bub Madden, 15 months, as his cheeky grin begged us to tickle him. Like two peas in a pod, when Jake and Madden were together, they’d both end up in hysterics. With gorgeous chocolate brown hair, Madden was rarely seen without a smile.
Finding out I was pregnant again, we were over the moon. ‘You’re going to be a big brother,’ I told Madden, who was super excited.
Already thankful he slept through the night, Jake and I crossed our fingers our next bub would be just as perfect. I can’t wait to find out the sex, I thought, rubbing my belly that night.
Madden bounced up and down on the bed as Jake held his arms.
Leaving my two boys to play, I slipped out into the lounge room. At 15 weeks pregnant, I could finally book a gender scan for my growing peanut.
As I spoke to the clinic on the phone, Jake burst into the room cradling Madden. ‘He hit his head,’ Jake puffed. ‘What do you mean?’ I asked looking at my boy. Slicking his hair out of his face I couldn’t see anything and Madden was silent. Jake explained they were playing when he picked up Madden and tossed him in the air.
Forgetting we’d just moved into a place with ceiling fans, as Jake bounced Madden up, he hit his head on the revolving fan. But I can’t find a wound, I thought staring at my boy. But as I pushed his hair to the left, he let out an almighty scream. A diagonal slice through his forehead peeled open and blood shot across the room.
Dropping the phone, I grabbed Madden and pulled him to my chest to try to calm him. Then I raced to the kitchen and began frantically looking for anything to stop the flow. ‘Call an ambulance!’ I screamed to Jake.
Flinging open a cabinet, I threw my medicine box onto the floor. Holding him tight, I felt Madden drop in and out of consciousness as his blood gushed down my arm. I fiddled with a band-aid, but it wouldn’t stretch across the wound area.
Next, I tried a bandage, but it was soaked before the last rotation. It was no use. Nothing seemed to plug his little head. Sitting on the kitchen floor in a river of red, I tossed another blood-soaked towel to the side. Holding my breath, the smell was horrendous.
But every time I pressed his head, he screeched at the top of his lungs. ‘They’re almost here,’ Jake said, on the phone to Triple-0.
Picking up Madden, I raced outside with a towel held to his head. As an ambulance pulled into our driveway, we jumped straight in the back and raced for the hospital. But my little boy wouldn’t stop crying.
Cleaning up his wound, hospital staff took him in for an X-ray. As I paced up and down, my mum Tina, 51, was my rock. Jake was distraught by what had happened and blamed himself. ‘It was an accident,’ I said plopping down beside him. ‘He has a fractured skull,’ the doctor explained prepping him for surgery. Because the wound was so deep they’d need to work on each layer of skin, stitching him from the inside out.
I watched them wheel away my little man. ‘Why don’t you two go home for a shower?’ Mum suggested, looking at my blood-stained top.
Opening the front door, we were instantly hit by the scene. Everything I’d touched had left a path of bloody hand prints and every kitchen cabinet was stained red. Jumping in the shower, I scrubbed my body as blood poured down the drain.
Racing back to the hospital in fresh clothes, Madden was just waking up from surgery. As he opened his eyes, his cheeky grin greeted us. ‘Aren’t you a brave boy,’ I whispered grabbing his hand.
He stayed in ICU for three days so doctors could make sure everything was repairing itself correctly. Then he called the children’s ward home for another week. But he never lost his smile. ‘This happens at least once a month,’ a nurse said, comforting Jake.
Coming home, we had to keep a bandage on his stitches to prevent further infection, but nothing seemed to bother my boy. I couldn’t believe he was back to his smiley self.
Five months later, I welcomed my beautiful boy Cohen into the world. Now with a house full of males, they were all cheekier than ever.
I am still wary around ceiling fans and there is a ‘strictly no bed-jumping’ rule under my roof.
As Madden got older he asked about the white scar on his forehead. ‘It was an accident,’ I explained.
Unfortunately, Jake and I are no longer together, but he is a terrific dad to our boys.
Now five, Madden walks around the school yard boasting about how he got his super cool scar. He is certainly proud of his forehead wound! He will always be Madden the Brave in my eyes.
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