We thought our little one’s first seizure was a fever-related fluke 2 years ago, until she had another one.
Read about our scary experience and where we go from here.
If you’ve been around here for a while you might remember Vivian’s seizure episode, almost 2 years ago. We chalked it up to a febrile (fever-induced) seizure and counted our blessings that it seemed like a one time deal.
Then, about a week ago, we had another scary turn of events. It was on a Thursday, right after lunchtime, the babies were down for naps, and I was leaving Liam in charge while I ran a few errands. I remember thinking that I should take Vivian with me on my errands because I needed to spend some time with her. I decided against it since I was in a hurry but did want to track everyone down in the house to check on them before I left. The other kids were playing close by but I couldn’t seem to find Vivs anywhere.
I recruited the other kids to help me and just when I started getting a little concerned that we couldn’t find her, Liam called out from the patio, saying that she was lying next to the trampoline in the grass. At first we just thought that she fell asleep out there (she’s always taking catnaps in weird places) but when I walked around the corner and saw her face, my heart jumped into my throat.
She was lying on her back, with her head turned to the side, actively vomiting and with her eyes rolling up into her head. Her arms and legs were also jerking pretty forcefully. I knew immediately that she was having another seizure. I scooped her up in my arms and brought her inside and laid her on the carpet. I yelled to one kid to grab me a towel (she continued vomiting quite a bit) and Liam started asking if he should call 911.
My first reaction was to tell him yes; this seizure was much scarier looking than her first one back in 2016. But I took a minute to think through the situation and I remembered how the neurologist we talked to last time said we can stay home from the hospital if the seizure lasts fewer than 5 minutes. Then I realized that she’d been seizing for a while before we found her, so it had probably already reached the 5-minute threshold.
I decided to take her in so I ran out to the car and took Toby with me this time so he could keep an eye on her in the backseat (I was concerned about her potentially aspirating vomit). We got to the emergency room and they let us into the back where we ended up in the exact same bay as 2 years ago (unpleasant dejá vu).
Luckily, the seizure started to abate naturally as she was lying there, being checked over. They gave her a small dosage of Ativan (anti-seizure med) anyway, but I was glad to see she was coming out of it on her own. After the meds, she continued breathing adequately during and after the seizure so she didn’t need to be intubated or sedated like last time. They also gave her a CT scan to rule out any serious head trauma/tumor/etc.
Once she was in the postictal phase (the out-of-it stage that comes after a seizure), they put an oxygen mask on her, put her in a private room in the ER and monitored her until she woke up. This part, although it looked freaky, was much easier to deal with for me. It was obvious that her little brain was trying to regulate itself again but in the meantime, her breathing was really irregular and she couldn’t control her tongue or saliva; I had to keep suctioning out the side of her mouth until she regained the ability to swallow.
Luke got off work early, met me at the hospital and we swapped places so I could go home and take care of the other kids (luckily I had already scheduled our babysitter to come watch the kids while I worked that same afternoon; she pulled up just 5 minutes after I raced off to the hospital).
We thought that after she woke up, we’d be cleared to go home that same night, but the doctor wanted to run an EEG in the morning (the test with all the wires on her head) so we spent the night. Luke had to go in to work the next day for some important meetings so Liam and my super awesome neighbor took turns holding down the fort at home until I came home right after lunch the next day.
All in all, it was a startling but much less overwhelming experience than the first time! Vivs is now completely back to normal: happy, energetic and as sassy as usual. We still need to have a follow-up appointment with the neurologist, but the hospital staff couldn’t find any real cause for the seizure. Like I talked about in my first post, febrile seizures occur due to a very high or rapidly rising fever, but Vivian’s temperature was just barely 100 when she was checked into the hospital. The doctor also said that she’s too old for it to be considered febrile. (Usually occurs in kids under 5 and Vivs is 6 1/2).
The one thing that this seizure and the first had in common, was that the entire household had been passing around some yucky sickness and Vivian was the only one who hadn’t shown signs of being sick. She did test positive for the flu this time (and a different sickness last time) but had been acting normally during the days leading up to the seizure. It almost seems like when her little body tries hard to keep illness at bay, it’s too much for her little brain to handle. Who knows!?
The doctors also chose not to put her on any regular medicine at this point, since the seizures took place so far apart, but they did give us a few doses of Diazepam (otherwise known as Valium) to be administered rectally if a seizure occurs again and lasts longer than 5 minutes. In that case, we then call 911 and they’ll tell us what to watch for and if she needs further treatment.
Motherhood certainly can be scary sometimes. I’m so grateful for competent medical professionals, friends and family members that step in when needed and most of all, the Spirit (or mother’s intuition or whatever you want to call it) that gives us the warnings and promptings to watch out for our precious kids!