Trigger warning: This post contains matters of child abuse.
It was mother’s instinct that told Rebecca Wanosik there something was wrong with her three-week-old baby daughter, Zeydn.
“I had her propped on my shoulder to burp her and I could feel her ribs popping,” Rebecca tells Mamamia. “The best way that I can describe it would be a similar feeling and sound to cracking or popping your knuckles.”
Right away Rebecca addressed the concern with her midwife, who told her it was nothing to worry about. But as a mother of four other children, Rebecca’s gut told her otherwise and she went out of her way to raise it with her paediatrician.
Again she was told to stop worrying.
A few weeks later, Rebecca saw two of her older children on to the school bus.
"I was holding Zeydn, and waved her arm at her brother Zavier and she fussed at me," Rebecca says. "Later that day when I touched her arm while strapping her into her car seat, she fussed at me again."
Rebecca immediately called the doctor and got an appointment with the first available paediatrician.
What unfolded after that, Rebecca says, will haunt her forever.
The paediatrician was critical of the fact that Rebecca had chosen a home birth, and told her Zeydn was likely suffering from some shoulder dystocia, caused by it. Rebecca remained with her daughter while she was taken down for an X-ray.
But back in the doctor's office, she was told the wrong type of X-ray had been ordered and Zeydn needed to go back down.
This time, Rebecca was not allowed to go with her.
"I was curious why they were now doing a full body scan and naively assumed that they were just trying to get the best image possible," Rebecca says. "I was wrong. I was so very, very wrong."
After the scan, Rebecca was taken into a private room.
"The paediatrician walked in and told me that he'd called the police and the children’s division of the Missouri’s child welfare system," Rebecca says. "He said I couldn’t leave as they were on their way because 'someone had hurt my baby'.