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.
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.
“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.