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A Bit of A Nightmare

November 13, 2013

I’m not an overprotective, worry all the time parent. That extends to when my baby is sick. If she’s not feeling well, I of course feel awful that there’s nothing I can do to make her better but I have never panicked at the arrival of a fever, recognizing that it’s our body’s way of fighting infection.

People, consider my tune changed. Fevers are now my mortal enemy. Settle yourselves in for the nightmare that was our Sunday.

Molly had a fever on Sunday morning. She was extra cuddly, so I knew she wasn’t feeling well but we’d given her Advil a couple of hours earlier for what we thought was teething pain and were about to head home (we were at A’s parents), so there wasn’t much we could do.

We sat down for lunch and she was eating and drinking, a good sign. She was sitting in my lap with her milk when suddenly her eyes rolled back into her head and she started shaking. I shouted out, wondering if she was choking and A grabbed her and started patting her back. When she continues to shake, I realized she was having a seizure and somehow in my panic managed to convey that to A. He told his dad to call 911 and moved her to the couch. All I can remember until the paramedics arrived was her little body shaking. At one point her lips turned blue. She finally stopped and her colour returned to normal.

The whole episode lasted around 30 seconds.

When it was over, she just lay there on her side, her eyes closed and breathing lightly. The best moment in my life was when A’s dad placed a cold cloth on the back of her neck and she cried out in protest. I sat with her (not holding her bit as close as I could get), crying, just stroking her hair, kissing her, trying to rouse her some more. We took her temperature and it was around 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit). Very shortly after making the call to 911, a guy arrived. I think he was a fireman for the town and he lived just down the road. He checked her quickly, said A had done everything right by laying her on her side etc and stayed with us until the paramedics arrived. They didn’t take very long, maybe five minutes?

We told them what happened and they said it was most likely a febrile seizure, the body’s reaction to a very high fever. They examined her a bit and we made arrangements to go to the hospital. Molly and I would travel in the ambulance (my first time ever, hopefully my last) and A and his dad would meet us there.
By this point Molly was almost fully roused and starting to get upset. She for even more upset once they strapped her into the stretcher. But hey, I’d rather her screaming for 20 minutes than the state she’s been in just moments before.

We got to the hospital and were brought to a bed right away (the perk of arriving by ambulance I guess). Later I remarked to A that I didn’t register, though the paramedic had asked me questions on route (points to me for remembering to mention Molly’s allergy to penicillin!). Apparently he did the rest of the paperwork.

As soon as we sat down, I started nursing her. And pretty much nursed as much as I could for the next few hours. The nurses were great, giving her time to calm down before continuing with the tests they needed to do. Her fever was still high, around 103, so they gave her a good dose of Tylenol. The doctor came, examined her (which she slept through) and proclaimed her to have a double ear infection! Who knew! She hadn’t really been showing any interest in her ears. It was her mouth that had been bothering her, but then that whole area is connected. I guess the pain was radiating in her mouth. She hadn’t had much of an appetite for a couple of days, which again, we chalked up to teething. Her fever didn’t start until that morning so there was really no way for us to know until that point.
He explained febrile seizures to us, making sure to emphasis that they’re quite common and would cause no lasting damage.

The doctor prescribed antibiotics (Biaxin) and said we should stay until her fever started going down. For the next few hours we sat and nursed and cuddled. Molly dozed, woken intermittently by a nurse needing to take her temp.
By 3:30 she was feeling better; well enough to start rummaging through my purse and emptying it of it’s contents! Her fever had gone down enough that they let us loose.

Of course we then had the three hour drive home ahead of us. I considered the possibility of staying at A’s parents another night but we were in for a long night of frequent wakings to dose her with Tylenol and Advil to control the fever and I really wanted the comforts of home.

It wasn’t a horrible drive but it could have been better. I thought for sure she’d sleep, but every time she dozed she woke up a few minutes later. I think she was just plain uncomfortable. She grumbled (light crying) the whole way. We stopped for a rest and a bite to eat and then were on our way again.
Finally, at 8pm, we were home. Molly was put right to bed, I set my alarm for 3.5 hours and went to lie down. That’s when I completely broke down.

I wish I could tell you that I was calm and collected during the moments of her seizure, and maybe if it was someone else’s child I would have been, but the reality was I was a mess. I was crying and shouting and was pretty much useless. I was absolutely terrified. I can’t even write this without feeling like I’m going to break down. Worst. Thing. Ever.

It was A who was the one who took charge. He gave the instruction to call 911. He brought her to the couch. He talked calmly to the 911 operator and then the paramedics (though I was better by the time they got there). I know he was terrified too but he handled it much better than me. There are no words for how thankful I am that he was there. He was nothing short of incredible.

That night and the next day we followed a strict regiment of alternating Tylenol and Advil every 3.5 hours. She had a few more fever spikes over the next 24 hours (including one at our family doctor. I just happened to have had her 15 month appointment already scheduled so it was a good chance to follow up). It was a rough night and as a result A stayed home on Monday to help me out, since I was so exhausted and was worried about my other baby. When we left the hospital I started having intense cramps that wrapped around my entire abdomen and back. It was horrible and I was worried I was going into some sort of pre-term labour. After a couple of hours and some water they subsided, but I knew I had to take it easy.

I stayed home with her yesterday (Tuesday), though she woke without a fever. I just wanted to make sure. When I left for work this morning she’d been fever free for 24 hours. My in-laws are actually here for the next couple of days to watch her, since her day care provider is on vacation, so the timing of that worked out well.

She’s eating a lot more and is obviously on the mend. It makes me so happy to see her feeling better but I still think about her seizing and panic a bit. I can’t bare to think of it happening again, but there’s a greater chance of it happening again once you’ve had one. We will just have to be extra vigilant when it comes to controlling future fevers.

Having children is the greatest joy of my life but with it comes a lifetime of fear. But like every other time in my life that fear has threatened to take over, I’m going to push it back and move forward. There will be no bubble living here, no matter how tempting the prospect.

I will however, be definitely upping my cuddle quotient 🙂


Cuddling my babies

7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2013 5:44 am

    Poor Molly! Hope she feels better soon.

  2. November 14, 2013 2:10 pm

    Terrifying! Something similar happened to Matthew a couple years ago (chemical poisoning) and I still won’t let myself think about it. It was the most terrifying few hours of my life. Hands down.

    I’m so glad it wasn’t anything major! A “harmless” seizure is more than enough!

  3. November 14, 2013 3:30 pm

    Oh my gosh, I can’t imagine how scary that must’ve been for you. I’m so glad that Molly is on the mend and is feeling better, poor girl.

    (Sidenote: Isla has the same little onesie shirt; Yay Target!)

    • November 14, 2013 4:49 pm

      She’s so much better today! She actually has an appetite 🙂

      Target rocks! I bought her a cute pair of jeggings there. Wish I’d bought more at the time. They don’t seem to have them any more.

  4. November 16, 2013 11:40 am

    Scary! I’m glad she’s ok. Hugs!

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