Monday, August 10, 2009

Mommy Educates On Her Worst Nightmare

(...continued from Mommy's Worst Nightmare)

Acadia is wonderful now but I want to share some information about febrile seizures that I wish I had know before Tuesday. If I was more informed before it happened to my baby, it might have saved me some serious mental anguish. Please don't take what I have to say as any sort of medical advice, just a few facts I have gathered from the web to help other parents become more aware. I really should have researched this as soon as I had children since Colby and I both had multiple febrile seizures as babies... which leads me to the first fact...

Having immediate family members with a history of febrile seizures (convulsions brought on by fevers in small children/ infants) raises the risk of having them. So, if you or your spouse had them as children, you should research early on before/when you have babies to avoid the trauma of the unknown.

This is a VERY important fact to remember: simple febrile seizures typically cause no lasting harm to your baby. (I am not referring to whatever virus might be causing the seizure... just the actual, physical seizure.) Keep this in mind since it was that awful empty look of hers after the seizure that scared me the most. They will recover whether it is a few hours or a couple of days, they will return to 100% and usually have no lasting side effects.

However, it is important to keep them from injuring themselves while convulsing. Simply lay them on the floor, on their side to avoid choking if they vomit. Make sure there is nothing in their mouth to choke on and do not restrain them.

Febrile seisures occur anywhere from 6 months to 5 years of age but typically will subside by age 3. Once they have one, there is a 30% chance of having another (I guess Acadia's crib will stay in my room until she goes to college!)

There really are no studies that show a way to prevent febrile seizures. Of course you want to always keep an eye on a fever and keep it down, but that is not proven to prevent the seizure.

The most important thing I want to share is that it will be ok. I have not verbalized exactly how I felt at that moment when she was convulsing in my arms. But when Colby's father was recounting to me how he felt watching Colby's seizure as a baby, he said, "You feel as though your baby is dying in your arms." And I did. He validated exactly what I had thought and felt. Now, if it happens again, it will still be frightening... but not that heart-ripping-out-of-my-chest, I-am-going-to-lose-my-baby type of frightening. I will know that she will be ok and will laugh, giggle, dance, sing, screech and glow again.

Please pass this post on to any parents you know that have babies or young children. If I can ease the anxiety of any other parent, I hope I can.


  1. This is such a good write up- I haven't experienced this first hand, but once found and had to help a victim and had no idea what to do- Sounds like you really know what you are doing. Your child is lucky!

  2. oh my gosh. Breath taking. Thank you for sharing this information with me (and I hope to never need it... but now I know). I cannot even begin to imagine your worry.

    Bless you and your family. I'm glad that she had a wonderful 1st birthday.