The Woman Who Helped Me Cope With My Son’s Seizure

Screaming. Someone was shouting in the middle of the night.

My heart heard the terror in his voice. My heart jumped out of bed before I could. When I stumbled into the kitchen, I saw my husband rubbing ice on baby’s face. The image that followed will stay with me forever.

A tiny human convulsing. Eyes rolled back into his head. Followed by more severe shaking. My son was having a seizure. He appeared to be losing consciousness.

“Take him to the ER, I yelled!”

My husband grabbed the keys and raced out the door. The ice cube tray fell to the ground and so did I.

I called 911 after my husband left.

He was already on the way to the hospital. But I wanted answers. I needed answers.

Operator: 911 What’s your emergency?

Me: (Hardly coherent) Baby had seizure.

Operator: Is he breathing, Ma’am?

Me: He was. I think he is. He’s on the way to the hospital.

Operator: Do you still need an ambulance?

Me: (Sobbing) No.

Me:  Could a baby die from a seizure?

Operator: I don’t know Ma’am. I’m afraid that’s something the doctor will have to address with you.

Click.

I have no recollection of the next six hours. It’s like I blacked out. These are the only facts I remember:

  • My husband forgot his phone. He forgot his shoes, too. He confessed to the shoe thing later.
  • I heard my daughter begging God to let her baby brother live. “Don’t let him die,” she pleaded through tears.
  • An entire bag of chicken nuggets spilled on to the floor. I have no idea how they got there.
  • Upon arrival, baby had a temperature of 105.2

* * *

The next morning I received a text message from a fellow soccer mom.

How are you? Is baby still sick? She knew my son was feeling bad because I took him to practice the night before. I debated answering. Why should I burden her with my problems? She may think I was neglectful. Or worse, I could’ve done something to prevent the seizure.

She may judge me.

Staying true to form, I hesitated to let her in. I wasn’t prepared to take our friendship to the next level. We’d only know each other for a few months. But I was feeling vulnerable. I needed assurance. I needed to know it wasn’t my fault.

So, I let my guard down and told her EVERYTHING. How I imagined my husband calling to say baby didn’t survive. My sweet boy taking his last breath. Me collapsing to the floor.

Her response:

“You must have been scared, especially when his eyes started rolling back into his head. You probably thought he stopped breathing. You probably thought you did something wrong.”

How did she know what I was feeling? I learned that her child suffered from a febrile seizure as a toddler, too. My girlfriend confessed that watching her daughter violently convulse shaved years off her life. Even now, she gets fearful whenever her child’s temperature spikes.

It was a relief commiserating with someone who’s been there, done that. She understood me. More than that, she heard me. She empathized with my brokenness.

Later that afternoon, there was a knock at the door. It was my girlfriend, Julie. She was standing on my front porch holding coffee. She drove twenty miles to deliver a weathered mom of three a hot cup of coffee. It was on her lunch break no less.

This small act of kindness renewed my strength. It showed me that I was not alone in this world. I realized that life is so much sweeter when it’s shared. When two people sit together.

Today I am overflowing with gratitude.

I am thankful that my son had a febrile seizure not a grand mal seizure. I am thankful for the doctors and nurses who treated my son. I am thankful for Julie for helping me lift a heavy burden.

Her gentle spirit blindsided me.

I’m also incredibly grateful to my husband for being a HERO, for being a hundred times braver than me. I am grateful to my nine year old daughter for having more sensibilities than I did in a moment of crisis, and to my five year old for his much needed hugs.

Finally, my heartfelt thanks to Deb, Lori, and many others who offered well wishes via text and email. I am humbled by your love.

And I’m thankful for you, dear readers, for always giving me a safe place to share my heart.

I couldn't wait to cut off his I.D. tag.
I couldn’t wait to cut off baby’s I.D. tag.
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52 thoughts on “The Woman Who Helped Me Cope With My Son’s Seizure

  1. Oh my God. My God my God my God. I burst into tears reading this. You must have been TERRIFIED!

    First and most importantly, I’m so glad he’s ok. And I’m so glad that you have a friend who helped you through this. And an amazing husband and children.

    I wish I could come and shower you with hugs and kisses and love.

    This is honestly one of the scariest things I’ve ever read. I’m so glad everything is ok. I love you, my friend.

    Like

    1. Anita, watching his eyes roll back into his head was one of the scariest things I witnessed as a mother. I felt SO helpless. SO scared.
      I’m horrible in panic situations. My husband carried me through my irrational fears, he has a calming presence.
      Thank you for your unending love. Your words fill me up and RECHARGE me.

      Hug those precious babies of yours a little tighter today my beautiful friend!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the well wishes, Anna! Building your tribe is so important. When life gets hard, you gotta have people outside your immediate family to turn to. Life is rough but it’s so much SWEETER when it’s shared.

      Hope you and yours are doing well and staying warm!!

      Like

  2. I’m a doc, have seen febrile seizures, and yet, your story made me cry.

    Cry for the Mom in me. The Mom who freaked out when her own four month old went into respiratory failure after the doc told me not to freak (out over the phone.)

    The Mom who said, “F- it” and took the kid to the ER anyway following her gut and they transferred the baby to the PICU at the nearby University Medical Center via ambulance.

    The Mom who was afraid she’d lose her baby.

    You ROCK. Your acquaintance, now friend, ROCKS.

    Moms need to join together to HELP. To BUILD EACH OTHER UP.
    Moms who judge need not apply.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dr. Diva,
      I was waiting for baby to fall asleep to respond to your comment. Reading your words, especially coming from a medical professional, is reassuring. Now I don’t feel SO CRAZY for panicking, for thinking I’d never see my precious boy again.
      Like you, I followed my mommy instincts, even at the risk of looking foolish.
      KUDOS to you for sticking to your convictions. A mama bear’s gotta protect her young at all costs!!
      And yes, WOMEN NEED TO BUILD ONE ANOTHER UP!!! It’s time to let down our guard and share life together. Judgements have NO PLACE in friendships.
      Thanks a million for stopping by!!!

      Like

  3. I’m so grateful for everyone who made sure your sweet baby was okay! I can’t imagine what you went through…the sheer terror of seeing your child like that. I’m sure it’s an image that will unfortunately stay with you forever. Thankfully, the image of him coming home healthy and safe is one you’ll also carry forever. Love you my friend! Big hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leah, my dear, so good to hear from you! Just as I was about to reply to you this morning, baby started crying. Prior to this incident I would’ve felt interrupted, maybe even slightly annoyed. But now, hearing my baby cry just makes me want to drop everything and snuggle him.
      It’s amazing how a little scare like this can serve as a HUGE eye opener. I don’t want to take anything for granted. Life, family, friends, food, or the breath in my lungs. Every day, EVERY MINUTE, is a gift.

      Love you and miss you my friend!!!

      Like

  4. So so glad he’s okay! Thank God! As mothers we read this and imagine us in your shoes. And our hearts shiver. 😪
    This season has been a scary time. So many kiddos getting sick. My 5 yr daughter was badly sick for 6 days. Yes fever for the whole 6 days! 😰 -sigh-
    And now even a month later she got sick again. Fever, cough.
    If moms got paid…we’d be millionaires!
    Hang in there…your doing great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank God for His rich mercy indeed!! Sorry to hear your baby had a fever that lasted SO LONG. Terrible viruses going around and there’s nothing we can do except wait for them to run their course. Makes you feel helpless.
      And yes, moms would be the HIGHEST wage earners if all the love and care we poured into our children translated into currency!!
      So happy to hear from you again. Crushing on your NEW gravatar. You look beautiful–strong message!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Helpless is right!
        Needing to soak in God’s Word. That helps a lot in overwhelming times.

        Thank you so much. Your sweet. Just trying to fight back especially since I have a son and daughter growing up in this pornified world!😠 It would want nothing else but to tear their innocence and purity from them.

        Hope your baby is feeling better.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ugh, you poor thing.
    Since I have epilepsy, I’m constantly watching my children for signs that I’ve passed it down the line to them. Seizures are scary, yes, especially in children, but very very rarely are they deadly. It just looks really bad. Believe it or not, there are parents out there that watch their babies have 10-20 seizures a day; when medications have failed, when they’re helpless to help. I don’t have any idea how they do it, although I suppose you just deal the hand that you’re given.
    You are stronger and wiser for this, although probably you’ve turned out a few grey hairs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. NTT, I didn’t know you had epilepsy. It makes sense that you’re hyper vigilant about your own children. This is my first go around with seizures. Apparently, febrile seizures are common in infants, especially when their temp spikes.

      In that moment, when I saw baby convulsing, I thought he stopped breathing. It took everything in me NOT to google “seizures and death in infants.” And yes, to the grey hair thing. This experience added more to the existing set of greys I already have. Time to color my roots! Good catching up with you my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup, so if you want to talk about guilt, I can give you a run for your money. If I pass it down to either of my kids, that’s going to be a tough day. You didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, when J was little, he spiked a fever of 105.4, and I FREAKED. Of course, you freak out when your baby has a fever like that. I was sure he was going to start to seize any moment. So I ran through everything I knew about fever, and did them all in one shot. I gave him Tylenol, put him in a tub of lukewarm water with an icepop, and while he was in the tub I took his temp again and it had gone UP. So, I grabbed my baby, naked, stuck a blanket around him, got in the car, soaked (with no bra in a very see through tee shirt when wet) and no shoes or socks, drove to the hospital, and ran in screaming for them to help me.
        Half an hour later I stood dripping in a curtained off ER room, dripping, with my boobs on display and my naked child, and a doctor explaining that as long as he wasn’t having other symptoms, to keep my calm, alternate tylenol and motrin every 4 hours, and, for the love of Pete, clothe myself and diaper the child before I have another hysterical episode.
        Good times. Gooooood times.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. NTT,
        You’re killing me with these images here. Every time, and I mean, EVERY SINGLE TIME I read your words it feels like I’m watching a scene unfold in a movie. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I mostly laugh though.
        As for the bra thing, that’s probably be the one thing I’d forget to put on, too. I could careless about what’s hanging out when my baby’s health is at risk.

        Like

    1. Julie is a gift, her friendship is precious to me. I had no idea that she would stop by and love on me and my family that much. It’s a blessing. Wonderful to ‘see’ your face again!

      Like

    1. Vernette, my friend, you always give me a soft place to land. Thank you for your encouraging words and support. Wish I could reach through the screen and give you a BIG BIG hug. I wouldn’t mind sharing a hot latte with you either!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My heart hurt for you as I began praying for your baby as I continued reading. I worked with kids that had seizures at a camp when I was in my twenties. I was a counselor. It really makes you look at life differently when you realize that people deal with all kinds of things and live as normal lives as possible. So glad that your baby’s was just febrile. It will probably never happen again but is so scary! It does make things seem so fragile though and appreciate our little ones even more than we possibly thought possible. How sweet that your daughter prayed out loud for her baby brother! And what wonderful friends you have. Minus the operator on the phone!!! Can’t say I liked her phone side manner! I know that they are taught not to give false hope but she fell under the radar in that test all together! But all the others rallying around ya show how loved you are!
    xoxo
    You are always in my prayers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Diane, I wasn’t prepared for the image I saw. When my baby started convulsing, I panicked. I thought the WORST possible thing. Maybe I should’ve dialed you instead of the insensitive 911 operator.
      Why couldn’t he have just told me febrile seizures were benign?? I could’ve added years to my life.
      Thank you for your much needed prayers and for always thinking of me. It’s nice to be blanketed in love, especially by someone I look up to.
      Hope you have a fantastic week. Hugs!!

      Like

  7. I can only imagine how terrifying that must have been, an all of the confusing and conflicting emotions screaming through your mind like wild dogs. I am sorry that you went through that, but very pleased to know that you both are OK 🙂 I feel that you would be as kind to someone else, and now you have an even greater understanding to bring to those in a spot. Peace and health to all of you . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s something I NEVER want to witness again, RH. Your word picture about wild dogs resonates with me. It’s like a pack of wild beasts chewed my heart into pieces. I felt helpless.
      Thanks for your kind words and well wishes. All is calm in my home now. Baby is back from the hospital. Have a wonderful day!!

      Like

    1. Thanks for the love, Britney!! You learn who you’re friends are during moments of crisis. I feel blessed to have so many good people rallying around my family. Hope your week is off to an AWESOME start!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That had to be the most terrifying thing every. I am so glad that he is home and doing better. It is moments like that which remind me of the saying that Being a mother is like living with your heart beating outside of your body. They scare us daily and drive us crazy, but we couldn’t imagine a world without them! Sending you extra hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s soooo true, Kerry!! We’ll NEVER stop worrying about our babies, big or small. That’s why I’m going to build an adjoining bridge. You know, a bridge that connects my house to theirs. This means I could still check on them every night.

      Thanks for the extra hugs my friend. It’s ALWAYS good to hear from you!!

      Like

  9. Anka, my heart goes out to you! How terrifying it must have been to watch your little baby suffer like that and then not knowing what’s going on. Oh my god. And then to be hung up on by the operator. I guess that’s what they have to do, but still. It was a very good thing to go to a friend. I know that fear of being judged, as I have been by friends and it’s hurt…especially when it comes to parenting. Everyone has their own style and their kids have their own needs. But, I have been on the receiving end of what felt like judgment. So, I can appreciate your bravery here, and so happy that she could help! Yay!! I’m so happy this has a happy ending too. I hope baby is resting and doing well, and that you are, too. What a scare!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amy, I kinda saved your comment for last. The comments you leave are SO heartfelt and sincere. I truly feel like I received the BIGGEST virtual hug after reading this.
      As for judgements, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been hurt by friends in the past. I’ve been on the receiving end, too. Probably more times than I count. That’s why I was taken aback by this woman’s kindness. I initially thought she had an ulterior motive, but I was wrong. Her heart was filled with genuine compassion. It was refreshing for a change!!

      Hope you’re doing well on this Wednesday. Wish it were Friday. This week feels like it’s dragging!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nelson. It was a helpless situation. But fortunately, the seizure baby had was benign. Just makes you want to squeeze your family a little tighter. Hope you are doing well and staying healthy in this 3rd week of January!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m happy everything is okay, and that you had support from friends just when you needed it most. I know that panic when we think we might lose them. These terrible scares are true eye openers, we appreciate life and our kids so much more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true, Tiny!! Moments of panic can put things into perspective. And the internal check happens REAL FAST, without warning. This experience prompted me to reassess my priorities as a wife, mother, and friend. So grateful that you stopped by to share your heart!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Colleen, thank God for the all people He put in our lives. Friends that are a hop skip and a jump away. And one’s like you, that are only a keystroke away. Sometimes reaching out to your online friends is A LOT quicker. Hope your week is going well!!

      Like

      1. It is Anka. I hope the wee one is still doing well and that fever is gone and your heart rate is stable. We need that support. Our babies hurting takes every ounce of our energy and blood. I get that.

        Like

  11. Oh how terrifying! I recently had my first absolutely terrifying trip to the ER, in an ambulance, with my 3-year-old. I couldn’t even bring myself to blog about it. He is totally fine. He had croup, but wasn’t breathing well and nothing stopped it and he ended up getting an oral steroid and a nebulizer. Other moms with similar experiences helped me too. I’m so glad you had people there for you and that baby is fine now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Danielle, I’m sorry to hear your baby had to be rushed to the hospital. No matter how big or small the medical emergency, you’ve gotta follow your mommy instinct. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
      As for a trip in the ambulance, I’m sure that’s an image you won’t erase anytime soon. The shrieking siren is enough to make anyone shudder.

      Hope you and your family are recovering. Hope all is calm now!!

      Like

    1. Yes, friends and family definitely sustained me during this ordeal. I’m horrible in panic situations. I think with my heart not my head. Unlike my husband, who’s cool as a cucumber.
      P.S. Your blog is still booting my comments. I click “Like” and leave a comment and then it doesn’t appear. Strange, huh??

      Like

  12. Any parent unfortunately knows that awful feeling you get when your child face plants, breaks a bone, or they manage to get out of your sight. It is one of the most terrible feelings a person can experience. I am glad he is back home and I hope you do not have to go through this again.

    It is also great when someone gets what you are going through and steps up to the plate. All it took for me was one bout with a disease to see which people in my life are the top level friends and whom are just people to socialize with but not expect anything from.

    Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Steve,
      It sounds like you’re surrounded with good people in your life. Even if the number isn’t huge, it’s the quality of the friendship that counts. I once heard this quote about friendship and it still rings true for me today:

      “Friends are like jobs, you only need one.” One good friend is sweeter than ten superficial friends.

      Have a restful weekend. And thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  13. There’s nothing more terrifying that that which endangers our loved ones, esp. our cubs. Kudos to you both — you made it through, little guy is ok (I think) and here you are on the other side, willing to share your tale and inspire others.

    Bests! MJ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MJ,
      From one mama bear to another, you know there’s nothing we won’t do to keep our cubs SAFE. Wish I had a pouch like a kangaroo. That way I could keep my babies tucked away forever!! Hope you have a restful weekend. Thanks for stopping by!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh ((((((((Anka)))))))) Seizures can be very frightening. I’m sorry for this, and glad you’re both ok now. My daughter has epilepsy, I know seizures all too well, and despite how frightening they can be/appear, they are not rare. I do have to put in a plug for learning about seizure first aid and awareness here, it’s important for everyone to know. Anyone can have a seizure, for a variety of reasons, and 1 in 100 people can expect to have one in their lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mrs. Fringe,
      Thank you for enlightening us on seizures. I had no idea your daughter has epilepsy. Like you said, seizures are more common than we realize. I was completely BLINDSIDED by this fact.

      I’m horrible in panic situations. I was thinking the absolute worst.

      Going forward, I’ll be more vigilant when he spikes a fever over 101. And it won’t hurt to study seizure first aid. Have a lovely weekend! Stay warm and dry. I imagine it’s much cooler in NYC than CA. 😉

      Like

      1. Many people are blindsided, because of so much stigma surrounding seizures and epilepsy–less than there used to be, but still–it isn’t talked about. I’ve done a few PSA posts on seizures and epilepsy on the blog, if you’re interested and ready, they should be easy enough to find. 🙂 All the best–and enjoy your sunshine, gray, slushy, off and on sleet here in the Big Apple!

        Like

      2. Your blog is already open on my computer tab. Just one of the many blogs I hope to visit today. Can’t wait to be even more enlightened on a subject that is RARELY discussed.

        Like

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