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CYFS and our baby


Let me introduce myself,
we have a 5 month old son called Alex. Alex was born in Chch Womens hospital in June of this year and was very premature coming 11 weeks early and weighing only 780g. My wife had a very troublesome pregnancy as she suffers from several health problems which made conceiving a baby almost impossible, so it was a miracle that she found she was pregnant on 24 Dec last year.

In March of this year her pregnancy became worse as her bad back was starting to give her trouble as was her diabetes. I at this stage gave up my work to be able to stay at home to care for her as she was mostly bed ridden and unable to do day to day chores in the running of the house. This put a strain on our financial state as we had to go onto a benefit to survive. It took WINZ a month to put a benefit in place and we struggled through the whole of March with no income.

On my birthday May 23, my wife took ill and was admitted to Chch Womens hospital, as her diabetes had worsened and she became insulin dependant. During this time for the safety of baby she decided herself to stop her epilepsy and anti depression medication as these drugs in her system would be harmful to the developing baby. My wife spent 4 agonising weeks completely on bed rest as she struggled with her own health and that of baby. The diabetes was contributing to another medical condition known as pre-eclampsia, this causes a decreased blood flow to the placenta and was dramatically slowing down the growth of baby.

The doctors were trying to keep baby going until he was strong enough to remove. She kept going for another week and on Jul 14 the decision was made to take baby. My wifes health was getting worse by the hour, her liver and kidneys were closing down, and we were in great danger of loosing them both. On June 15 at 11:30am she was taken to the theatre for an emergency cesarean and the baby was delivered at 11:55am.

He was so small and was only 780g and there was the possibility he would not survive as there were no respiratory effort and a very low heart beat. However day by day he grew more stronger as she recovered from her surgery.

Alex was transferred to NICU level 3 where he was ventilated and monitored very closely. My wife and I stayed by his incubator for 10+ hours per day every day. After a week she was allowed to come home, and we commenced daily commuting back and forth to the hospital, 4 times a day as she was home expressing milk for him. Alex spent two and a half months in NICU with a loving and devoted Mum spending hours by his cot reading and feeding her new son.

The day finally arrived when they said we could take him home. Great the best day of our life. He was discharged on oxygen, as being premature his lungs were still developing, and had a sleep monitor which alerts us to him having stopped breathing during the night. But it was great having him home, no more travelling.

Alex quickly settled to life at home and we were very proud parents, we sent lots of pictures to our families, mine in Nelson andmt wifes in South Africa, we loved to show him off! He had heaps of visitors, his friends from Neonatal Outreach, Plunket and CCS all call regularly to monitor his progress and they are all thrilled by the way, we as new parents are treating and nurturing our child. His Well Child Book is filled with glowing reports as to his progress.

Alex has grown from a 780g prem baby to what he is today, a 5.5kg smiley, bubbly and very friendly baby. We as parents have taken all care of our son, from his regular doctors checks to his 6 weekly immunisations and have never let him fall prey to the many bugs and viruses out in the open air. We have sacrificed our humble lifestyle to make sure he is safe and secure.

My wife even stopped expressing milk for Alex as her depression and epilepsy started to return and she needed to go back onto her medications. This was a huge wrench for her as she thought she would be classed as a bad mother for doing so. However on medical advice and on the opinions of our support teams, she restarted her treatments. This was after she had stored over 100, 120ml bottles of milk in our freezer! Alex has had a good start to life, a little shaky to begin, but with our love and care he is today a gorgeous and lively son.


On Fri evening last at about 6pm, Alex had just finished his evening bath. I was carrying him from the bathroom to the bedroom for my wife to ready for bed. I had him in my arms and as I was about to settle him on the bed, he gave an enormous kick, this set him rolling inwards from my arms, and he started to fall to the floor. With my left hand I instinctively grabbed at whatever I could get to stop his fall. My hand closed around his upper right arm and I pulled him up onto the bed. Thank God I thought he didn’t hit the floor.

Alex was of course a bit startled, and gave a few cries, and at that point my wife came into the room and commenced to dress him for bed. I told him I had a close call, and she told me to be more careful. She swaddled him for the night in his wrap and put him to bed with his bottle. He was a little irritable, but we thought nothing of that as he normally is at bed time when he is tired. He had his bottle and went off to sleep. At around 1am he started to cry, its his early feed we thought, and gave him another bottle and I turned him to his right side.

That was when he really yelped! I turned him onto his back and he calmed, but was fairly grizzly for the rest of the night. At around 3am he was quite noisy and really crying hard. My wife took him from the bed, but when picking him up, he screamed. My wife unwrapped him from his blanket, and
his left arm started to wave around, but the right was just lying there, with no movement and no grasp in his hand.

We gave him 3ml of liquid Panadol and called A&E at Chch Hospital who told us to bring him in. We arrived at the hospital at 4am, he was examined, xrayed and told he had a fracture in his upper right arm.

At around 6am the doctor told us that because of the nature of the injury she would be calling in the Social worker and she would talk to us. She did come and talk and told us that CYFS would have to be notified. We had no objection to this at all as we had nothing to hide, and we had bought him in because of the accident. The doctor returned later to tell us the xray showed a clean break and was not consistent with an injury as i had described and further examinations of Alex would be required to see if he had other injuries. Once again we did not object as this was hospital protocol in these matters.

He had the next day a full skeletal xray, which we as his parents were excluded from. This upset my wife terribly as Alex is not used to be with strangers, especially as the examination was going to be a painful one. The results came back and too our shock and horror they told us he also had a small fracture to the left knee. This they told us would only be caused by vigourous shaking. we were stunned. Our little man has never been shaken, we would never harm our son, he is far too precious. They then told us they would do an MRI to check for damage to his brain. We got the results of that several agonising hours later. No damage, at least thats some consolation we thought, and we felt a little lighter.

Later that day to our horror we were taken from the hospital by the Police, seperately and in different cars. We were ( I will use the term interrogated) for 4 hours, my wife in her vunerable state by 2 male detectives and myself by 1 female detective. We gave them our statements of the event and were taken back to the hospital. The next day my wife was again taken to our home for them to take photos and she was again questioned at length. They keep on at her, trying to tell her to make me confess. But what am I supposed to confess too, it was an accident for Gods sake.

The Police are taking it out on my wife and her emotional state is now so low she is having major asthma attacks and has not slept since last Saturday. I now fear she is going to have a complete breakdown. We had an interview with CYFS yesterday and they had a meeting today with the hospital, Police and our support teams Plunket, CCS and Neonatal Outreach, who spoke in our defence. A call late this afternoon from CYFS told us that we are going to loose our child. We are both devastated, no one will believe us when we say what had happened.

The hospital wont give us the information we need, all they keep telling us is “that the break could only be caused by vigourous shaking”. We have no immediate family for support, its only the two of us against the system, which is proving too powerful for us. We are going to loose our son which my wife fought so bravely to bring into this world. We love him and want to bring him home where he is safe. He has already caught a virus in hospital and had a nurse drop a toy train on his head!

Please we are at our wits end, my wife and I are emotionally drained, we have even considered owning up to something we did not do to make this all go away. This is a nightmare, I wish I could wake in a cold sweat and find it is.

Please help us bring our baby home for Xmas.

CYFS took our child yesterday from the hospital to a home, while this matter is investigated. We as parents seem to have lost our rights, and I fear for my wife’s health wellbeing.

Thank you so much for your time in reading this.