A first-time mother is warning parents never to leave their baby unattended on top of a bed — even for a few minutes.
Paige Ferguson, of Trumann, Arkansas, was at a friend's house with her fiancé, Blake Linton, in March when she decided to put her nearly 6-month-old son, Colton, down for a nap. Like many parents, Ferguson placed him in the center of the 2-foot tall bed surrounded by pillows, left the door open a crack and walked to the other room.
Moments later, Ferguson heard a loud thud.
"We heard him hit the floor and Blake dropped everything and ran in there. I was right behind him," Ferguson, 26, told Fox News.
Linton scooped up a crying Colton up and examined his head. He had a small bump, but after a few minutes of gentle rocking, the boy smiled and seemed fine.
"Naturally, as a first time mom ... I am paranoid," Ferguson said. "He's still a baby and it's his head. I wanted to get him evaluated to be sure [he was alright]."
So, the couple rushed the baby to NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro, where he got a CT scan. Afterward, Colton vomited, and Ferguson knew something was terribly wrong.
"The doctors said he had fractured his skull and there was bleeding on the brain," Ferguson recalled.
He was then airlifted to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis for surgery.
"The fall made him bleed half his blood volume into his brain and when they did his brain surgery, the loss of that much blood caused cardiac arrest," Ferguson explained. "The cardiac arrest cut off oxygen to the brain causing cerebral palsy and cerebral atrophy."
He then had to undergo a second brain surgery, as well as a procedure to replace his feeding tube. Ferguson recalls Colton getting MRIs, CTs, X-rays, blood tests and EEGs.
"There was all kinds of treatment," Ferguson said, adding that Colton was hospitalized for about a month.
The parents said their lives — and Colton's — are forever changed.
Colton is now in physical, occupational and speech therapy. Ferguson and Linton are also working with doctors to get the proper medications to get the now nearly 8-month-old's seizures under control.
"He's definitely not the same baby he was before. I love him still more and more everyday. But, I still grieve the loss of who he was and who he would be," Ferguson said.
Though it's difficult, Ferguson said she wants to share Colton's story so other parents don't have to live through the same heartbreak.
"Never leave babies on a bed ... no matter how safe you think they are and to not listen to old wives tales about bumps to the head. Get kids checked out even if they look okay," she warned.
“They didn’t think he would live at all. I walked into the ICU after his surgery and the doctor came up to me. Her exact words were, ‘Ma’am, I need you to understand that most likely your son is going to die from this,’ ” she recalls through tears.
Adds Ferguson, “I was in disbelief. I still am. I just kept praying, and praying. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. It felt like I was in a horrible dream. Like, this can’t be real.”
Colton remained in the hospital for a month, where he underwent another brain surgery and more than a dozen blood transfusions. Then, much to the surprise of the medical staff, Colton was well enough to return home.
“It was amazing. Colton was a miracle. At all of our follow-up appointments, the doctors have said, ‘I’m not trying to be mean, but your child should be dead. People do not live through the injury he had. He is absolutely a miracle,’ ” Ferguson recalls.