When I was pregnant with Mini, I did ALL the research of all the common ailments for babies and little people. I learned about ear infections, croup, whooping cough, febrile seizures and more. As a first time parent, I was ready for her to be afflicted by them all because I didn’t know any better. Well I made it to my third child before learning about febrile seizures. On Wednesday afternoon BC had one and I thought he was going to die.
He didn’t and he’s ok but there were some things I wish I had known about the whole experience.
Everyone in the house has been sick–minus me. On Tuesday, BC started not feeling well. He puked 3 times before being put to bed with me that night. On Wednesday, he woke up a little warm but nothing that concerned me. He will normally get a little 24 hour bug with a fever that will go away with little effort–water and peppermint EO on his feet. My husband was home because I had to go and speak and I didn’t want to take him with me.
After I got home, I noticed his temperature was higher but he would wake up to drink water so I wasn’t too worried. I ran to pick the girls up from school and chatted with a girlfriend of mine who’s a nurse. She suggested that he take a tepid bath and if that didn’t bring his temperature down, to give him the Tylenol. He took a bath and played with abc before requesting to get out.
I had him wrapped in a towel as he dozed off again. I was going to take him downstairs with me to get him some Tylenol but I thought he should lay down. Something told me not to leave him so I laid watching him sleep. His eyes shot open and he started convulsing and I yelled, “HE’S HAVING A SEIZURE!” I grew up with a father that was an epileptic so I know what they’re like but it’s different when it’s a baby–your baby.
He looked frightened and his body was tense as he convulsed. His face started turning blue because he was choking on spit or mucous or something. I thought he was going to die and I said all the prayers I could while trying to remember what I should do. I had him on his side while rubbing his back and telling him to just come back to me. And then I picked him up and patted his back harder. He spit up whatever it was he was choking on, relieved himself and then when limp.
I thought he had died in my arms.
But then he started snoring and I wanted to cry because I could hear his breaths. The seizure lasted all of 30-45 seconds and we had 911 on the line now. Everything happened so fast–him seizing, me promising God to do everything right in life if He just let my baby live, telling abc to get cold washcloths, getting Denvor to get 911 on the phone and paramedics here. It was fast but it was also the longest moment in my life.
He’s Ok But We’re Struggling
I can never unsee my son turning blue.
I can never unfeel thinking I was going to lose him.
I can never put into words the relief I had when he finally responded to me when I tried to put him down and he gripped me as if to say, “Mommy please don’t let me go.”
He’s ok. His vitals were near perfect before the paramedics arrived to relieve the firefighters that were first on the scene. But my husband and I? We aren’t fully ok yet. I keep flashing back to seeing him blue in my arms and hearing me beg him to come back to me. I can’t stop the fear of feeling like I was going to lose my son in an instant when he’d had fevers before that hadn’t resulted in this.
PTSD from situations like these is very real…
What Are Febrile Seizures?
I’m not going to get into tooooo much detail here because honestly, WebMD probably has me beat on this information. A febrile seizure is a seizure that is caused by a spike in the temperature of children and babies ranging from 6 months to 6 years in age. I used to think that the temperatures needed to be over 103 degrees but BC’s hadn’t hit that high and he had one so depending on the sensitivity of your child, it could be lower. I found out from the doctor that it’s more prominent in first born boys though girls can have them too.
What To Do When They Have Them
When they have febrile seizures, their entire bodies convulse. Their eyes may or may not be open, though they likely will be. It will be hard not to hold them because as parents, when our littles are hurting that’s what we do. Make sure they’re in a space that they can’t hurt themselves and if they’re choking, make sure they are on their sides. Don’t hold them still or prevent them from moving–just make sure that all around them is clear so they can’t hit anything.
Getting their body’s cooled down is a priority when they come to. Cold washcloths on the backs of necks, wrists and groin areas will work if they aren’t awake to take an age-appropriate Ibuprofen or Tylenol. They’ll be really sleepy after having one and be disoriented. This is normal.
Why Do They Have Febrile Seizures?
The way that it was explained to us is that the seizure works as a hard reset for their bodies very similar to that of a computer. Because their bodies can’t handle the spike in temperature, the seizure is their body’s way of resetting things so that it can function again. In a way, febrile seizures of good–though they don’t feel good in the moment.
After the seizure is over, it’s ok to be shaken up. It’s ok to cry and release along with them as they come to. Take them to the emergency room, doctor, etc and have them checked. But while you’re taking care of them, don’t forget to take care of you.