And the hardest part about the whole gosh darn thing is that I feel so completely helpless and 100% at a loss of control. My parenting skills can’t keep her from getting injured. My emergency response skills (or lack thereof) won’t stop bad things from happening. And the hardest pill to swallow of them all, the aching reality that my deep love for my children, won’t forever keep them safe.
That is what I have been wrestling with over the last two weeks since my youngest child Annabelle (2 years 3 months) had a random febrile seizure that resulted in her being unresponsive, stop breathing, and taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital in Omaha.
We were staying at a hotel and were getting ready to leave the swimming pool. I took Annabelle’s floatie off and wrapped her in a towel. Then I took Brecken’s floatie off and wrapped him in a towel. I looked over and Annabelle kind of lowered herself slowly to her knees and then to the ground. She didn’t fall and didn’t hit her head. I leaned over and scooped her up confused about what she was doing. I looked down and it looked like she had passed out.
Luckily, my mom who is a registered nurse of 30+ years was right there and I handed Annabelle to her. She then started seizing. Her hands and feet curled in and her eyes opened and her face and body twitched to one side.
We walked to the front desk and at that point Annabelle stopped breathing and my mom had to give her mouth to mouth. My mom told the receptionist to call 911.
And I stood there. And I screamed for Jesus. And I cried. And I watched my daughter, totally unresponsive, receiving rescue breaths from the woman who gave me life. And I couldn’t do anything. Except pray. And cry.
The Papillion rescue team arrived and my mom and Annabelle were taken into the back of the ambulance. The nicest gentlemen pulled me aside and tried to calm me down. He told me everything was going to be ok and that most likely Annabelle had a febrile seizure. They put oxygen on her and took her blood, but she wasn’t responding at all. He put me in the front seat of the ambulance and had me put my seatbelt on. Annabelle and mom were in the back. I kept yelling back asking my mom if Annabelle was ok.
My best friend Catelyn came down with Annabelle’s blankie and pacifier and she had Brecken changed into clothes and we told her to follow us to the ER. Catelyn held my hand and squeezed hard. I think she realized this was one of the most difficult moments of my entire life.
My husband Jeremy had worked that day and was back home which was two hours away. I called him during the event and he started driving down to Omaha to meet us at the ER. Annabelle finally came to right as we were pulling into the ER. She was responsive enough to be a little fussy and then we got to our “room” and they had me sit on the bed and they put her on me. She fell right asleep. They had us wake her up to get a urine sample, but other than that said no testing was required with this being her first seizure. Her temperature was 100.4 in the ambulance and 102.9 when we got to the ER.
The seizure happened around 7:35pm and at 10:45pm we were released from the ER. They couldn’t find the cause of the fever so chalked it up to a viral infection and told us to use Tylenol and ibuprofen to keep her fever down.
Annabelle is doing very well now. It has been three weeks since her seizure and other than excessive sleepiness and moodiness and a tendency to blink her eyes a lot (not sure what that is about), she seems like her old self.
But I lay awake most nights. In her bed. I can’t leave her alone. I lay there and replay what happened over and over in my head. How could I have responded differently? How could I have been a better mother? And in my head I see her seizing and I see her seemingly lifeless body and I hear myself screaming over and over for Jesus. The doctors are confident this is an isolated incident, but when I googled it (I know I know NEVER Google it) the internet says that 30-40% of children with febrile seizures will have a reoccurrence. So I try to mentally prepare myself for what I would do if it happened again. But what if I’m not there? Or what if I’m by myself with her?
And the hardest part about the whole gosh darn thing is that I feel so completely helpless and 100% at a loss of control. My parenting skills can’t keep her from getting injured. My emergency response skills (or lack thereof) won’t stop bad things from happening. And the hardest pill to swallow of them all, the aching reality that my deep love for my children won’t forever keep them safe.
** I want to especially thank the staff of the La Vista Embassy Suites for being very professional and taking exceptional care of the emergency situation. Also, for providing Annabelle and Brecken with a wonderful gift basket upon arrival from the hospital. They also had numerous staff check on us and care for us during our stay. It is very much appreciated! I also want to thank the Papillion Emergency team for providing exceptional care to Annabelle and myself. Your kindness will not soon be forgotten. And finally to the medical team at Children’s Hospital Omaha ER. All of our nurses, Physician’s Assistant and Doctor were amazing and took great care of us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.