This past weekend I went through one of the moments a mommy never wants to have to live. We were at hockey practice for my middle and all seemed normal. The baby had been awake all morning and was ready for a nap so my husband pushed him around in the stroller for a few minutes hoping he’d fall asleep. I happened to peek in to check on him and after seeing he was awake decided to take him out to be able to watch his big brother play hockey.
Within the next minute or so I realized something was wrong. He was making a weird grunting noise and he laid his head down on my shoulder. Not that he never lays on my shoulder, but it’s unusual for him to do it for more than a few seconds at a time. I told my husband that I thought something was wrong so we walked out of the ice area into a small carpeted area and laid him down.
He still had his coat on, so I took it off and found him trembling and just out of sorts. We decided to call our nurse advice line and headed towards the door to make the call as we don’t get cell reception in the building. I was connected very quickly with the intake admin, and after asking me only one question, she decided it was urgent enough to transfer me right to a nurse.
“That was it, I knew I needed more help.”
While I was on hold waiting for the nurse, my son became unresponsive. I was yelling his name and shaking him and he wasn’t responding at all. That was it, I knew I needed more help. I hung up and called 911. Thankfully help was close when I needed it. The paramedics were there within a few minutes and started checking him out. They had us strip him down to his diaper. They gave him oxygen and he started to come around.
After checking him out they asked us what we wanted to do. They told us if we took him straight to the ER that we could transport him ourselves and this would save us an ambulance ride. As I wanted to take him to our hospital that had all of his medical records, we decided to go that route. I went and got the car and we loaded up and we were off. It seemed like it took forever and me missing a turn did not help!
“I was relieved to find a completely empty ER waiting room.”
We arrived before too long and I was relieved to find a completely empty ER waiting room. There was one woman who came in just before us who had broken her ankle and took forever to explain what happened (ok, maybe it wasn’t forever but every second seemed like a minute!). Thankfully another nurse came out and called us back to triage. He started checking my son out and his heart rate was over 200 beats/minute (80-160 is normal) and his temp was 104.8! They took him back to a room immediately. The nurse covered him in ice packs (just in case you were wondering, sick, grumpy, miserable 9 months old DO NOT like being covered in ice packs!).
“The baby had experienced it just differently enough that I didn’t immediately realize that was what was happening.”
The doctor was in to see us within a few minutes and as I described what had happened, he quickly recognized the scenario as a febrile seizure. After a few minutes of processing, I realized that of course, that is what it was. My middle had febrile seizures from around age 1 until about a year or so ago. The baby had experienced it just differently enough that I didn’t immediately realize that was what was happening.
So my son got both acetaminophen and ibuprofen and we waited. After about 45 minutes or so you could tell he was feeling much better. He sat up and was looking around and babbled a little bit. The nurse was in to peel the ice packs off of him (now turned into heat packs after my son melted them!) and took his temperature again. It was down to 101.9 so still high but heading in the right direction. The doctor was in before too much longer and cleared us to be discharged.
“I am just so grateful that he is okay and made a full recovery!”
I am sure that I will now spend the next 4 years worrying about a seizure every time my son gets a fever. However, after surviving them with my older son, I know what to expect. I also know that febrile seizures (while very scary in the moment – especially if you’ve never seen one before) cause no lasting damage and require no medication. The biggest concern during is that they do not hurt themselves. After the episode, the most important thing is just treating whatever caused the fever in the first place. I am just so grateful that he is okay and made a full recovery!
How about you? What are some “moments of terror” you have experienced with your precious little ones? How did you react?