Our experience with febrile seizures

We’ve had a rough go of it lately over here.

Scout and Griffin are pretty healthy kids.  They tend to get colds here and there in the winter and have had the stomach bug twice but other than that, have been in pretty good shape for their almost two years (what?!?!) around here.

They’re not technically in a daycare, I do watch a handful of other kids here, but are exposed on a regular basis to all the germs our lovely environment has to offer, usually in the form of bottom of my flip flop licking and being around other kids at home and out all day long.

We’re not excessive anti-bacterial soap users, nor do we freak out when they happen to stick something in their mouth (you know, only 300 times a day) that may or may have not been in the mouths of twenty other children and/or the dogs.  I’ve never been terribly afraid of germs (once they’re out of that awful newborn stage), and I don’t want them to be either.

All that being said, both kids (along with two of the other little girls that I watch weekly) got a nasty case of Hand Foot and Mouth disease two weeks ago.  I guess I don’t really need to say a nasty case, as all cases of HFM are pretty foul.

It wasn’t pretty.  We somehow managed to avoid the blisters on both of their hands and feet, but did have the fevers, the mouth blisters and the miserableness that comes along with this lovely virus.  The best part of HFM, note my sarcasm, is that because it is viral, the only way to “treat” it, is to let it run its course.  Fun!

We survived hand foot and mouth, and I never want to go through that again.  Ever.  Unfortunately, the fun didn’t stop there.

We had a great week following the recovery, and everyone seemed to be on the mend.  We spent a lot of time in the pool, outside, strawberry picking, and seeing all of our friends.

Saturday morning, we went to Moorestown Day, met up with Keith’s family, and walked outside from vendor to vendor for almost three hours.  Neither baby had napped, but everyone was still super pleasant, so we figured we’d all go grab a bite to eat, and then head home for a snooze.

Griffin started to get a little fussy at lunch, but I chocked it up to the fact that we’d been outside in the heat for three hours and he was probably exhausted.  He ended up falling asleep on me at lunch (unheard of for Griffin!), and felt a little warm. By the time we got him out of the car at home, around 4pm, he was really really warm.  I took his temperature, and he clocked in at 103.  I gave him a little tylenol, and within an hour, we was back to himself completely.  We spent the rest of the afternoon eating popsicles on the couch and playing outside.  We had dinner, and put the kids to bed, Griffin, fever free and happy.

I figured since Griffin’s fever was on the higher side, it would spike again as soon as the tylenol wore off at the six hour mark, so I stayed up to give him another dose.  Scout had woken up at 9pm, and I pulled her into bed with us, because I figured that she’d probably get the fever too and I wanted to be able to give her tylenol as soon as it started.  Around 9:45pm, I heard Griffin making some strange noises over the monitor.  I got up, went into his room, prepared to take his temp and give him another dose of meds.

I was in no way prepared for what happened after that.

When I looked into Griffin’s crib, he was completely faced down in the mattress when I reached in to pick him up.  As I picked him up, his head flopped back and his eyes were rolled in the back of his head.  He was completely limp.  His little 21 pound body felt like it weighed so much more.  He was so unbelievably hot.

I ran into our room with him screaming at Keith to wake up, and laid him down on our bed.  At this point, I thought he was dead.  It was the scariest moment of my entire life.  When I laid him down, he started making the same noise I had heard earlier over the monitor, so I knew that he was still with us.  I knew that no matter what we planned to do from here, I had to make sure his fever started to go down, so I gave him a quick shot of tylenol, holding his mouth closed, massaging his neck (much like I do the dogs when trying to get them to swallow medications), since he couldn’t swallow on his own.

From there, we decided to get in the car and go to the ER as it would be faster than calling for an ambulance. Keith and Scout came along, mostly because I was scared to death to put Griffin into his car seat in the back by himself.  I had Keith sit in the back seat with him, because I knew that if he drove, I wouldn’t be able to comfortably leave him in his car seat, AND I wouldn’t think Keith was driving fast enough.

The ride to the hospital was the longest 10 minute drive I’ve ever driven.  I did 100 mph the entire way there and when we were about 5 minutes away, I heard Keith unbuckle Griffin’s seat and pulling him out.  He had stopped breathing.

I parked at what I thought was the emergency entrance, jumped out and ran Griffin in, while Keith and Scouty parked the car.  Turns out, the emergency entrance was the other side of the hospital.  I ran carrying my baby’s lifeless body down the hall, where the security guards saw me coming and got on their radios calling for the peds unit to come down.   They rushed us back to one of the rooms where they laid him down on one of the gurneys and started taking off his clothes and diaper.  He didn’t move.  Nothing.  His eyes were open, but completely blank and he didn’t flinch when all of the nurses were working on him.

As they started to take his temperature, they asked me to describe what had happened.  I explained the days events, and they said that he had a febrile seizure.  His temperature at this point was 104.6 degrees.  After hooking him up to the machines, they gave him a shot of motrin since the fever wasn’t going down as quickly as they had hoped, and they wheeled us into one of the other rooms where we waited for the pediatric doctor to come in.

When the doctor came in, she talked to us about febrile seizures.  As scary as it was to see, and as scary as it sounds, apparently, these seizures are completely harmless.  It’s the body’s natural reaction to a rapid rise (or drop) in temperature.  Unfortunately, because Griffin has now had one of these seizures, he’s 35% more likely to have another next time (or the twenty times after that) that he has a fever.  So, basically, Griffin will be sleeping in our bed, any time his fever rises over 99 degrees for the rest of his life.  Oh, and Scout too, since she too is now more likely to have febrile seizures since she has a sibling that had one.

Yay (note the sarcasm).

We were discharged around 2am, after Griffin had “come to,” and was able to walk around the hospital normally and seemed to appear more like himself.

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I spent the next two weeks watching Griffin like a hawk, allowing his to sleep every sleep in our bed.  The fever finally broke on Wednesday.  Scout started with the same high fever on Tuesday, averaging  103.5 until Saturday when she started with a bark-y cough that could only be croup.

Back to the doctors we went.  I no longer make appointments for just one of the kids, as I’ve learned to get both babies checked out or else I’ll be back within four days when one has what the other had. Griffin checked out clear, but Pout had croup.

What a freaking two weeks.

Keith and I were starting to feel run down, but I just assumed it was from the stress and lack of sleep.  His mom had offered to come up and watch the kids so that we could have a little break, so we took her up on her offer and had our third date since the babies have been here and went to MedExpress.  How romantic. We left with nine scripts between us, both diagnosed with Bronchitis.

Needless to say, we’re happy to see the end of all of this madness.  Here’s to healthier days and an amazing illness-free summer!