Friday, February 13, 2009

FEBRILE SEIZURE or the Scariest Night of my Life

During the night between Monday and Tuesday Meilynn developed a fever.  On Tuesday she had the fever up and down all day.  Just three weeks earlier we had an episode of fever with her that we could not get to drop.  We did all of the usual things like baths and  Motrin and Tylenol.  So Mike took her to urgent care where they said her ear was red and gave her an antibiotic.  Her fever went away one day and then it was back so I made an appointment to make sure she was ok.  Her ear was still red so we put her on a stronger antibiotic and then her fever went away.  During this time she had a fever over 104 a lot of the time.  When we gave her a shower or bath there was some relief.  I took her back to make sure her ear was better after we were through with the second antibiotic.  All was clear!  So on Tuesday when she woke up with a fever I could not believe that she was sick again.  Meilynn has been healthy since we picked her up in China a year and 1/2 ago.  She spent the day going between playing with her sister or laying on the couch.  She started to develop a tiny cough so I thought it was the beginning of a cold.  She didn't sleep at nap time so my plan was to put her to bed early.  Her fever was between 101 and 102.5 most of the day.  I tried to feed her early but she had no appetite.  I took her temp and it was 103. 5.  I didn't find this too alarming since we just went through an epsiode with high fevers over 104.  I decided to give both Emma and Meilynn a bath early since neither had napped and I thought it might bring down the fever since she was not due for more Motrin for another two hours.  I had new things to play with in the bath so I thought it would help bring down her fever, they would have fun, and then they would go to bed early.  Mike was downstairs finishing dinner and the dishes.  Thank God he was home!  I got the girls in the bath and we started playing with the new alphabet letters.  Emma was very excited but Meilynn was just sitting and not really playing.  I attributed this to just being so tired and the fever.  But after about 5-10 minutes she just started to lean back.  I thought she was falling to sleep so I sat her up  (she did not go under but if I had not been there every second of the bath she would have gone under,  just a reminder to never slip away to get something in the other room or even turn around to do something in the bathroom, because you never know when this could happen.  I certainly had no clue!)  She started to fall back again and then I knew something was wrong.  She had lost consciousness and I could not even tell if she was breathing.  Her eyes were open but you could tell she was not seeing me.  I was screaming for Mike.  I thought she was dead.  Mike came immediately up and I gave her to him and I called 911.  She was in his arms not responding or moving, eyes open, limp like a doll.  I had heard of children getting seizures with a fever, but I thought a seizure involved shaking or jerking, eyes rolling back, etc.  That was not what I was seeing at all.  In fact I would have felt better if that is what I was seeing.  Instead, I thought my baby was dead.   It felt like it took forever for the fireman and ambulance to get there.  It is not easy to find our house and I kept telling the operator that and giving her better directions than mapquest or whatever map they were using would give.  I had to get Emma out and do something with her.  I wrapped her in her towel while talking to the operator.  I was running frantically up and down the stairs hoping to hear the trucks.  I opened the front door and turned on the lights and ran back up.  Meilynn was still out.  Mike was holding her in her room on the floor.  I kept telling the operator they were not there.  Where are they? She kept saying,  "Calm down they are on their way"  It felt like forever.  Finally they arrived and I got them upstairs.   My neighbor came over and took Emma to her room and talked to her while they worked on Meilynn.  They gave her oxygen and she still was not responding.  Finally when they tried to get an IV in her she started screaming.  They tried to find a vein in her arm and both feet but were unable to find it.  I was just glad to hear her crying even though I know they were hurting her.  She has tiny little veins and they have trouble finding her veins when she gets a blood test.  We were taken to  the hospital by ambulance and then because it was so crowded we waited in the waiting room for over 5 hours.  During this time she slept but I could tell she was ok.  She would wake up and cry a little and then go back.  After seeing the Dr. she said it was a Febrile seizure brought on by fever.    It is brought on by a sudden spike in body temperature, this can be up or down, usually due to infection.  The Dr. told us her ear was pink and gave us another antibiotic with instructions to see our Dr. in two days.  
Daddy with Meilynn in the waiting room of the hospital
I found out that loss of consciousness is a  symptom.  Not all children shake, or tighten muscles or roll their eyes back.   Other things I found out are that they aren't as dangerous as they look and typically does not indicate a long-term or ongoing problem, although their is a  chance that she could have more (one third of children who have one will have another).   They usually are outgrown by six.  A Febrile seizure most often occurs during the first day of a fever or before we might even know she is sick.  (This is scary)  I found out that about one in twenty five children will have one.  That is why I am making everyone aware of this.  Between 6 months and 5 years is when they most often occur.  It is rare before 6 months and after three years for the first one.  Meilynn will be four at the end of May.  There is often a family history of Febrile seizures.
We decided that as long as she has a fever she will sleep with us.  I really cannot tell you how scared I was.  And I am scared that it will happen again.  Meilynn continues to have a fever.  This morning at 5 am it was 103.9.  Today so far though it has remained below 101.  She has had no appetite and those of you who know her know that she is already tiny.  She weighs only 25 pounds.  I am pouring the liquids in her.  She ended up developing a cough on Wednesday night that would not stop.  All night and the next day she continued to cough without a break.  We had her Dr. appointment on  Thursday so the Dr. heard her coughing.  I cannot believe that cough medicines are no longer available for children this young.  I remember giving cough medicine to both of my older girls.  I tried honey but no relief.  Today things are better and she is coughing less and her fever is better.  I hope it stays down tonight.  I am sorry this is so mixed up and jumbled but this mommy has not had sleep and I wanted to get this down before I forgot the details.
tired little baby the next day
It's nice to have a sister when you are sick
Emma felt so sorry for her sister.  She kept saying, "I don't like my sister to be sick!"


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! i can only imagine how scary that must have been. Thanks for the information. I too
have older daughters but I never encountered something like what you described. Take of yourself too!
soraida in Florida
mom to Nicole,Jaqueline,Mia and Jayden

Tamara said...

We hope Meilynn feels better. Moose has always has very high fevers- and it always scares the crud out of me. I can only imagne how scared you were.
Thoughts and prayers with you, the girls and your family.

Anonymous said...

I follow your blog all of the time. I hope and pray Meilynn feels better soon. You handled it so well. I can only imagine how terrified you must have been.

Elisa in Cincinnati

Life with JJ, Starr and Spice said...

Thanks for the info Vicki. I am so sorry that Meilynn had to go through this and of course you as well. It is so hard when they are sick and when something like this happens it is down right horrible!!

Hugs to you all and I hope that she is fever free by now!

Doug and Terrye said...

Vicki, I'm so glad to hear that Meilynn is going to be alright! I know you must have been scared out of your wits. What a great mom to pull her into your bed while she is still running that fever. I know you won't sleep a lot that way, but you will be more peaceful in your heart having her right there with you.

Terrye in FL

rgshrs said...

Oh Vicki, I can only imagine how frightening that was! I hope Meilynn is feeling better soon and you can all rest peacefully again. Thank you for posting the information. My prayers are with you.

Mel said...

Vicki, my prayers are with you. I canNOT imagine just how scared you must've been...and still are. Hugs to ALL of you.

Natalie's Mama said...

I was just able to catch up on your blog. OH MY GOD!!!!!! I can not imagine the terror! I was horrified reading your account. Girl, Thank GOD it turned out the way it did. Kids sure can terrify us sometimes. I am so very happy she's ok. Wow!


Eileen said...

OH my gosh, how terrifying! I know I'm way late in reading about this, but how scary! What if you hadn't been there in the bathroom when that had happened? It gives me chills just thinking about it.

I'm so glad that Meilyn is all better. Maya's been getting fevers off and on with her current medical treatment, but thankfully they haven't been too high. I'm more educated now after reading your post!