Paige Ferguson and Blake Linton were at a friend’s house with their infant son Colton, when Colton fell asleep. Being just one day shy of turning 6 months old, Paige and Blake laid Colton down in the middle of their friend’s queen-sized bed so that he could get some rest. Surrounding him with pillows, they sat down just outside the room so that they would still be close to him.
It wasn’t anything that many other parents haven’t also done in similar situations — but for Paige and Blake, Colton’s nap would have a catastrophic ending.
“We heard him hit the floor, and immediately start to cry,” recalls Paige, speaking with Babble. “Blake dropped everything and flew into the room to get him.”
With just a bump on his head, Paige admits to feeling a bit relieved that it hadn’t been worse.
“He was crying, which meant that he was alert, and after we calmed him down and he smiled at us, I really felt relieved,” says Paige.
Paige explains that both she and Blake had heard that if a bump sticks out, it’s better than if it sinks in; so they felt reassured that since Colton’s was swelling outwards, it wasn’t anything serious. But being a first time “baby” mom (Blake has an 8-year-old son Brennan, whom Paige also considers her own), Paige was still worried enough that she wanted Colton to be checked out at the hospital.
Once they got to the hospital, Colton began to vomit, and a CT scan was performed to see what was going on inside of little Colton’s head.
“I vividly remember holding Colton up to vomit, while kneeling on the floor trying to calm him down, and the doctor walked in,” says Paige of their night in the ER. “He told us that Colton did have a fracture, and there was some blood on his brain. And it’s crazy because even in that moment, I thought he would be okay. I thought ‘OK, they can fix this. It’s going to be okay. He’s tough. He’s got this.’”
By then, a helicopter was on its way to take Colton to Memphis, and by the time Paige and Blake got there, there were already 20 doctors and nurses working on Colton.
“I knew something was wrong when I kept asking if he was going to be OK and everyone kept replying with ‘We will do what we can,’” explains Paige. “No one would simply say yes.”
Wracked with guilt, Paige admits that the thoughts of what she could have done, or should have done differently, flooded her mind.
“I kept thinking of what his little body was going through and that this was my fault,” says Paige. “I should have stayed home, I should have brought his Rock ‘N Play, I should have let him sleep in my arms. I was crying, hugging Blake, and pleading with him to forgive me. He kept telling me it wasn’t my fault, but I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Such a small fall and he’s hurting so bad.”
Yet despite what they were going through, Paige immediately started to think of her other mommy friends, and instantly wanted to protect their children from what Colton was experiencing. Wasting no time at all, Paige issued a plea on Facebook that has now been shared over 18K times.
“I was in complete shock of the damage that could be done from such a seemingly common and minor incident, and felt sure that it could happen to someone else,” Paige says.
But still, both Paige and Blake felt that in the end, Colton would be alright.
It wasn’t until the doctor said to Paige, “Ma’am, I need you to understand that your son will most likely die from this,” did Paige and Blake’s hope shatter to the ground.
“There is nothing that will stick in my mind like that moment did,” Paige recalls. “I remember what she looked like, smelled like, and what her presence felt like. Blake was hunched over in the corner of the room with his head in his hands and tears in his eyes.”
The fall had caused such significant bleeding into his brain that Colton had gone into cardiac arrest, which starved his brain of oxygen. He spent the next month in the hospital undergoing surgery, tests, and an MRI that showed such significant damage to his brain that, as Paige and Blake were told, even if he survived, would leave him in a vegetative state.
Paige and Blake decided to continue sharing Colton’s story by starting the Facebook group Colton Linton Updates — both to reach out for much needed support for their own family, but also to honor Colton by committing to use his story to help others.
“If the story of his life could save just one family from going through what we’re going through, at least something good could come from it,” says Paige.
And in a miraculous turn of events, Colton began to breathe on his own. He opened his eyes, and a week later, he went home after spending a month in the hospital; still fighting, but alive. He is fed through a feeding tube, takes multiple medications for seizures, and doctors have warned Colton’s parents that being so young, his brain will not be able to heal from the damage that has been done.
But apparently, no one told Colton that, because these days, he is smiling again.
“He was the happiest baby in the world before his accident,” says Paige, “so seeing him smile again feels like we’ve been granted a miracle.”
While Colton is working on his recovery, Paige and Blake are working on theirs.
“Colton is our world; our life,” says Paige. “We wouldn’t in a million years have done anything that we thought could harm our child. But I am finally letting go of some of the guilt about the accident, and even though I know people will judge me, I’ll take it all, if by sharing Colton’s story, we can save even one life.”
She also wants to issue a gentle but also firm plea to other parents.
“Please do not leave your baby on a bed unattended, no matter how safe you feel they are; not even for a split second,” says Paige. “And if your child sustains a bump to the head, be safe and get them evaluated. Demand a CT. Don’t listen to old wives’ tales that tell you if they will be fine or not; let the doctors do that. Colton cried, and even smiled, but he wasn’t fine.”
Colton is now 7 months old, and while Paige admits that his future is a little blurry to her right now, she is going to continue sharing his story — because if anything has become clear, it’s that Colton has a purpose much bigger than anyone can measure.