I write this in hopes that if there ever is a next time that this situation arises my heart and my mind will be a little more prepared for the situation at hand. And also, that maybe someone reading this will remember our situation and know what to do if it happens to their child.
A few days ago our 3-year old woke up with a fever. I knew because he was just shivering and had little goosebumps all over him. His eyes soon became glassy and watery with a steady stream of tears running down his flushed little face. He had all the typical fever symptoms, but nothing out of the norm where I was concerned. I tend to not get overly panicked about fevers. Around 8am his temp was around 100. I took it again around 10:45 and it was around 102. That was the last time I checked it. Our older 2 kids were home from school and since Landry was with a fever we were all just lounging around watching cartoons. He was snuggled under a blanket shared by his sister for quite a while, and then me for a few minutes as well. This may not have helped his rising body temperature. I was watching him carefully to make sure his temp didn’t go up anymore. I had not given him any Motrin yet, as I was watching the fever and seeing if it would break on its’ own. He wasn’t complaining, just being very quiet.
Around 11:30, I got up to go to the bathroom. I left him for 2 minutes. I asked him if I could get up and he quietly said no, but I told him I would be right back, and got up anyway. When my 5 year old was meeting me on my way back to tell me something was wrong with him, she didn’t even have to finish her sentence. My mother’s intuiton felt something was wrong with him and I ran down the stairs to find him laying face up on the couch, eyes open, blank stare. His breathing was rough making gasping sounds, I don’t even know how to explain. He was not coherent. He could not look at me. He was not convulsing, and he was not stiff and rigid either. His body was limp. When I picked him up to try and snap him out of whatever was happening (because I was panicked), I noticed a small amount of drool on the couch under his head but not necessarily around his mouth. His eyes rolled back and for a few seconds he stopped breathing. At this point I decided to call 911. After only a few seconds he did start to breathe again, but was falling asleep. Not able to cry nor talk. He could barely keep his eyes open even with me running outside with his half naked little body in my arms. I didn’t know what was wrong with him and thought maybe the cold would shock him awake. My oldest ran across the street and grabbed our sweet friend (and nurse), and she was running over as the 911 operator came on the line. It was the operator who suggested to me that he probably had a febrile seizure. I have known of them, but have never experienced one with either of my other kids. I felt a sense of relief as he said those words. I never even thought for a second that he could have had a seizure with 102 temp because I didn’t know enough about them. I always assumed it would be with a very high fever. If I would have known from the beginning what was going on I would have waited a few minutes more before picking him up. I’ve seen plenty of seizures in my life to know that you roll the person on their side and wait for the seizure to pass.
When the ambulance got here the first responder assured me that it was totally normal that he was completely asleep on me and snoring, amidst me asking over and over if he was sure. I didn’t want to see my baby’s eyes closed for one more second but once he checked his pulse and oxygen and they were perfect, I felt better about letting his exhausted little body sleep. He explained it to me like his fever got to a point where his body basically needed to reset itself. Those words and his calm demeanor helped put me at ease. Landry was taken to the hospital to get checked out. He threw up once while we were there and had a 20 min nap before they sent us home. He took a long nap at home, ate a big dinner and danced the Whip Nae Nae before bed. Of course I slept in his room for every nap and night for the first few days, and still can’t help to check on him 100x during the night, but that’s just how it’s going to be for me for a while.
Here are some things we learned that day about febrile seizures:
The doctors at the ER told us that as scary as febrile seizures can be for us parents, it is a good thing to come in for in the grand scheme of things, and nothing that should cause worry. He will not have brain damage from it, and it is pretty common in babies and young kids to experience this. Because he’s had one, he is at risk for having another one. That doesn’t mean he will and he could very well go through life never having another one again.
It tends to happen to kids who have a family member who has had one as a child. My mom informed me that day, that I had one when I was a baby. I never knew that. Good. To. Know.
It doesn’t necessarily matter how high the temperature is but also how quickly it spikes. It could happen with any fever though anytime. I also read somewhere that the seizure can come before a fever so there’s really no way to prevent one from happening.
They told us that 1 in 20 children will experience a febrile seizure, and that 1 out of 3 of those kids will have another one. Usually outgrow by around age 5.
Here are some websites I found if you would like more information on febrile seizures:
These are the steps I would take if there were a next time for this situation. The first one not being to remain calm because I know myself, and I don’t care who you are, when there’s something very wrong with your child, there’s a sense of urgency and panic. Whenever Landry starts to get a fever from now on, we will administer him a fever reducer, but being fully aware that this may not prevent a seizure from still happening.
- Place him on his side so he doesn’t choke on his saliva or throw up (I would have done this if the thought even crossed my mind that he was in fact having a seizure).
- Do NOT pick him up until the seizure has passed
- Time it. Seconds seem like an eternity during these, but it’s important to time the seizure.
- Remove any tight clothing he may be wearing.
Febrile seizures can be scary, especially the first one. Landry is now his normal goofy, moody self and we’re so thankful for that. If you need information regarding febrile seizures, please contact your Pediatrician. I am not a Dr. but a mom who wanted to share our experience with others. And thank you to all of our friends and family for your well wishes for Lan. He’s doing great!
Here’s a pic I took about 30 minutes prior to the seizure…
Dad just walked into the hospital room, a little shaken no doubt getting a frantic call from our 9 year old. Sorry about that. Landry’s not feeling well obviously. This was a few minutes before he threw up on dad.
Getting a much need cat nap…