We were driving home from a nice day at the rodeo when my husband turned around and noticed that Z (the baby) was shaking strangely. I tore off my seatbelt and turned around and could feel lots of spit coming out of her mouth and she wasn't really responding to me once the shaking ended. We immediately pulled over and pulled her out of the car and she was really hot, limp as a noodle and kind of moaning. We immediately took off her jacket and decided to go home since we were about 2 minutes away. We got home, took her out of the car and she was still limp and essentially unresponsive except for the wierd moaning/crying.
I called 911 and while we waited we laid her down on the floor and she was still completely limp. She wasn't responding to our voices, touch, or anything. We called her name, touched her hands and even her eyes were not moving around. I was really scared, but doing my best to keep my composure so that I didn't scare the baby or the other 2 who were happily eating happy meals. I held Z as we waited for the ambulance and she just kept moaning, but still not moving. She is normally a spunky little girl with lots of energy, so this was way, way off for her.
It seemed like forever, but the EMT arrived after about 10 minutes. He immediately said she had a fever and that her pulse rate was high (190), and thought it might be due to dehydration. He asked lots of questions and then the ambulance arrived. By this time, she was starting to respond and move a little. They took her temp, which was only 102 degrees (not crazy for a baby), and explained that she probably had a fever seizure, and that she was probably spent of all her energy. The EMT from the ambulance said that following seizures people often feel as though they've just run a marathon. They offered to take her to the hospital, but said we could give her motrin and tylenol and see her doctor the next day and she would probably be fine. We could also call them back at any time should something else happen. Z was now responding to her name, drinking a bottle, but was still pretty lethargic and clingy. A good friend had also come over to help with the other two kids, so that was a huge relief because I had discovered earlier in the day that my older daughter had lice and so I had to treat her and do all the laundry. Yep, super awesome day. Oh, and the husband had to go out of town the next morning. When it rains, it pours, but there's nothing like a febrile seizure to put lice into perspective - they really aren't that big of a deal, but that's a story for another day.
The baby slept well all night, and I checked on her every couple of hours because I was so nervous. The next morning we saw the doctor and she explained was the seizures were and that they are caused by a quick spike in temperature, not the degree of temperature. They only happen in some kids, are not harmful and children usually grow out of them by age 3 or 4. She also said they can be in a daze for up to an hour afterwards, and that we just have to be aggressive with tylenol and motrin if we feel she is coming down with a fever. The rest of the day she was pretty clingy, didn't sleep well, didn't eat much and was fussy, and I imagine she just felt crummy after the whole seizure episode. Today (2 days after) she had a low grade fever, didn't eat much or sleep much, but she's getting some teeth which could easily cause all those symptoms. She did go to daycare and was generally in a good mood otherwise.
I didn't know much about febrile seizures prior to this, and I must say there is nothing scarier than something happening to your child that renders them seemingly lifeless. Every scenario you can imagine went through my head, and I really have never been that scared before. My Grandmother lost her first daughter to meningitis at 19 months old, and I just kept imagining that (or something similar) happening. Thankfully, it ended well and she is in no danger. I"m sure she'll be back to normal soon enough, and i've got another entry to my long list of experiences racked up by being a Mom, although I think I could have done without this one.