On the evening of September 11, we had quite a scare when Kate had her first (and hopefully, only) febrile seizure. She had a fever the evening before and I woke up Brian, because she felt SO HOT. She was even trembling, poor thing. It was about 2 a.m. and he suggested calling the doctor on call. She really had a fever only once before (other than a couple of low grade fevers due to teething) when she was sick last fall, and even that only got to maybe 101 or 102. We spoke to the doctor on call and she said to give her meds, try to cool her down, and bring her in if her fever didn’t go away in a couple of days.
My parents kept her the next day, September 11, and she seemed to be okay–albeit a little tired and out of it. Her fever came down during the day a bit, so I thought we were in the clear. When I put her to bed Friday evening (I’d given her medicine at 5 p.m., and she went down at 7 p.m.), she had about a 101 temperature. I went to sleep around 9 and was woken up by her around 11 p.m.–not crying, but making noises. I jumped out of bed immediately and ran into her room. I knew right away what was happening and screamed for Brian. I grabbed her and ran down the stairs and handed her off to him. He instructed me to call 911, which I did, and I turned the phone over to him to answer questions. I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to have a husband who not only has first aid/medical experience, but is calm as can be under pressure. I’d seen it before after I totaled his truck, and I experienced it again with him during this ordeal.
Not 3 minutes later, the firefighters arrived at our door. They were all so wonderful and couldn’t have been nicer throughout everything. The paramedics quickly followed, and before I knew it they were loading up Kate in the ambulance. I was trying to run around and get Montana in the garage and pack up her diaper bag, but I met Brian outside. It was kind of a given that he would be the one riding with her, which, in a way broke my heart–isn’t it my job as a mommy to be with her in times like this? But deep down I knew he was supposed to be with her in this moment. This girl couldn’t have asked for a better daddy, I tell you what.
We got to the hospital and they ran a million tests, and we had the best doctor and nurses around us we could hope for. We are SO lucky to have a new hospital just 7 minutes from our house, and my immediate family has given them quite the business between my dad, my sister, and now Kate! Each time we’ve been, the ER has been pretty empty and the staff so attentive and kind.
I think the worst part, other than seeing her actually have the seizure, was seeing her unresponsive in the 45 minutes to follow. She kept looking to her right, and her gaze was unrelenting. The doctor wanted me to talk to her, to see if she would respond in some way. I stood to her left and spoke to her, but nothing. There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your child unable to answer you.
Thankfully, she started to come out of it eventually. The doctor planned to do a spinal tap if a full hour went by (since her seizure) without her responding, but luckily we didn’t end up needing to do one. My dad came back to see us and sat right by our bed (she was on my lap on the stretcher), and almost as soon as Kate saw him she blew a raspberry. We all immediately laughed and it was like a weight had been lifted. She was going to be okay! The doctor ended up witnessing this and said with a smile, “this isn’t someone with meningitis.”
After a chest x-ray and waiting for her fever to go down a little bit more, we were sent home around 2 or 3 a.m. She still had a bit of a fever, but it had gone down significantly. We were told to rotate Motrin and Tylenol every 3 hours, and I slept on the floor of her room (and did for the next two nights) because I just couldn’t stand to leave her alone. I was terrified she would start seizing again.
We took her to the immediate care the next day just to get checked, as she still had a slight fever (about 100). She checked out okay, and it turns out the fever was from an upper respiratory virus that just had to run its course. Her fever crept back up Saturday (to about 102), but we woke her up every 3 hours to dose her throughout the night (and cool her head down with water). Sunday she seemed a bit more like herself, and by Monday evening her fever was broken for good.
Taken the day after her seizure…..poor pumpkin.
The doctor told us the next time she had a fever, we would probably freak out. Unfortunately she developed a fever about a month later (this girl never gets sick, and then twice in one month?!?), but this time we woke her up throughout the evening to give her meds. I hope she never has a seizure again, but if she does, at least we know what to do. I really hope I never have to see her again like that…it was one of the hardest moments of my life.
Thankfully our sweet and sassy girl is going strong today. If this is the worst we have to experience as parents, we’ll consider ourselves very lucky!