Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mommy's Worst Nightmare

As I posted on Wordless Wednesday, I have officially had the most terrifying experience of my life. I have made it 9 years as a mother through three pregnancies, three births and three daughters with very minor issues: a couple of falls down the stairs (no injuries) a few stitches when face met sink... but nothing truly scary.

Tuesday night that all changed. At 1am I got up to change Acadia and giver her some Tylenol. She had a fever and I wanted to make sure she was comfortable. I laid her back in her crib (which, thank goodness, is in still in our room), kissed her, put her blanket on her and went back to my bed. Minutes later I heard the most horrifying gurgling, choking noise (which still haunts my ears). I jumped from my bed and to her crib in a split second. It was pitch black as I grabbed her stiff body. She was face down with her face buried in the mattress. I first ran to the bed to lay her down but I couldn't see her so I ran with her to the light switch. Colb had no idea what was going on in the dark. He is such a sound sleeper, I am sure he thought I was having some sort of nightmare and was just running around like a mad woman. "She's fine," he muttered. "No, she's not!" I yelled. I ran with her to the bathroom, all I could think was to throw water on her. I stuck 2 fingers in her mouth to make sure she wasn't choking and her airway was clear. Colby followed behind me as I turned the shower on. "Call 911." He didn't move. "CALL 911!" I yelled "She's having a seizure!" "Oh my God!" he stammered as he ran for the phone.

The 911 operator told him I should just put her on the floor on her side and watch for choking. I put her on the carpet. I could only see her, only hear her, only feel her rapid heartbeat. I rocked with her, just repeating "I love you, baby. You will be ok baby. Mommy loves you. Stay with us." I was so scared, I wanted to vomit.

4 EMS men arrived and crowded into my little bathroom. As they asked questions, I couldn't answer them very well as I was in such shock. He wanted to know the length of seizure, her age, last dose of Tylenol... etc. It is hazy, but I know I had a lot of "I don't know's" because I just could not clear my head. I was shaking, nauseous, dizzy. I held her to my chest and carried her down the stairs to the ambulance. I would have to make the trip alone so Colb could stay with the other 2 girls.

The EMT assured me she'd be ok. She was screaming at him and writhing around. Good signs, I guess. But it was her eyes... I could not look away from her eyes. The were empty, cold. She was not in there. All I could imagine was that she had some sort of brain trauma. She gazed around, but wasn't really looking at anything. "Please look at me, baby girl. SEE me. PLEASE." I kept whispering over and over in her ear.

In the ER the doctor immediately assured me that it was a febrile seizure; fairly common and, although scary, almost never had lasting side effects. "But it's her eyes, she is not seeing me, Acadia is not there."

"She is not there," the doctor agreed. "She has no idea where she is or whats going on. It will be a few hours before she comes around... but she WILL be ok." I just couldn't believe him. My happy, vital, smart, giggling little girl was not in those empty eyes.

They proceeded with a catheter, a needle in one hand for blood... and then the other... and then one foot... and then the other... and then they finally had to call down a pediatric specialist to get a vein. And then an IV. At one point there were 6 adults holding down my baby. I rubbed her head and whispered to her how much I loved her as I tried to stay strong. The doctor asked if I needed to leave. LEAVE!?! Leave my baby watching these 6 strange faces as they overpowered her and she screamed screams no baby should. No, I stayed. She needed to know mommy was here with her.

After about 2 hours of trauma, her head tilted to where I was as she looked at me and cried out, "Momma!" The lump came to my throat as I kissed her all over her baby face, "Momma is here, baby girl." I knew she'd be ok.

That was 2 days before her 1st birthday. On her first birthday (pictured above), she ate cake, played with her new rocking horsey, yelled at her 3 year old sister when she got in her space, smiled, laughed, soaked up the sun with Nana and Papa and just enjoyed her special day.

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...

To be continued....

And the lighter side of the 911 call here...


  1. ok, wiping away my tears now ... that is crazy, scarey ... sorry you guys had to go through that ... we can't wait to see you guys soon!

  2. I am happy that your story has a happy ending...I hope everyone is well.

  3. Oh my god. This happened with my neice, and she is just fine. I hope everything will be okay with you guys too

  4. My daughter has had that happen twice.. once at a year and again at 2. I know exactly how it feels and I'm so sorry you had to go through it. Unfortunately the likelihood of it happening again increases with each seizure. If Rory (my little girl) even has the slightest fever now we start piggy backing tylenol and motrin (doctor's orders). I guess they do grow out of it by about 5, though. My heart goes out to you and your family. I hope you never have to go through it again.

  5. Oh my gosh, that sounds so scary! My mom has had seizures before but for it to be on the opposite side, I couldn't imagine. I'm glad everything is better with her now and she's ok!

  6. Wow what a story. So scary. I am so glad that everything is alright.

  7. How scary! This happened to a friend of mine so I knew instantly that is what you were going to say happened. So glad everything turned out ok! Stopping by from Mama Kats

  8. I would have freaked out! So glad she is ok.

  9. Oh my gosh I'm in mental anguish right NOW!! How awful!! And that's exactly what would have happened in our house. Me running around frantic while Pat watches me "overreact". How horrible.

    I'm so glad she's ok!!

  10. Oh my gosh. This gave me chills. And I started to cry. So scary. I am SO thankful she is ok! I am going to check right now and see if you have the next part up! PHEW! She is a beautiful baby!

  11. Why I was drawn to this post from your list I don't know! I'm a glutton for punishment. My stomach clenched and my breath caught as I read your description. My daughter had her first seizure at age 2. It was horrifying, terrifying, just awful awful awful. I grew up seeing my sister seizure so I knew what it was. I still can't shake the feeling of her rigid body as I was trying to pick her up. Hers turned out to be epilepsy, we had many more episodes after that. Some were much worse but nothing compares to that first time. She is about a year and a half seizure-free on meds so we are hopeful that we can wean her from the meds this spring.
    That description of the empty eyes...we went through almost a full month of her being like that. It was hell, I thought she was gone.

  12. She's going to be five in February. I know what you mean about the scale of bad stuff but Kenai also had an eight hour surgery that required two neurosurgeons and a team from Philly to monitor her spinal cord. The first seizure is still a memory that leaves me sick and shaking.
    I hope your daughter never has another seizure. I hope my daughter never has another seizure!

  13. I know this is WAY after the fact - but I just discovered your blog this evening. Same exact thing happened to my Annike about a year and a half ago - right before she turned 1 year old. I was putting her down for a nap and the rest of the story is pretty much identical except I was dressed :o) and I was yelling at my kids to call 911 and they were asking me if I was serious. I thought she dying in my arms - the scariest thing I have ever experienced!!! She hasn't had a seizure since - even though she was running a pretty high fever a few months ago. They told me that it wasn't the temperature - but the sudden spiking that caused the seizure. I hope you haven't had to go through that again. So scary!!!