I’ve been putting off writing this post for several days. I wanted to write it the day after this whole thing happened. I didn’t have time. All weekend I didn’t have time. Today, I wrote the title and sat and starred at it for some time without writing a word. What I’m trying to figure out is if I really haven’t found the time to write it because it’s too painful or because I’m just haven’t been ready? Today I feel the need to finally get all of this out. I don’t really have friends that I talk to. I have my husband and I have my mom, but my real therapy is writing to get things out so here I go…
Last Wednesday night Addy had a fever of 101.6 with no other symptoms. She hadn’t been in daycare or anywhere for that matter for 3+ weeks since I have been on maternity leave so I was pretty sure she wasn’t sick. The only thing I could come up with was that she had a fever because her two year molars were coming in. I gave her some medicine to lower the fever and put her to bed for some rest. The next morning she had a fever of 101 and again, I gave her some medicine. She was fine all day and played, still with no other symptoms. In the afternoon she wouldn’t even take a nap and wanted to play. She did have one diaper that was pretty loose and messy but that was all. My husband got home from work around 5:30 pm and went to play with the kids while I was nursing Baby Annie. About ten minutes later LA came to me and said “mommy, Addy wants you”. I told him to tell her to come to mommy since I was nursing Annie. She never came and I never thought anything about it. A few minutes later my husband came into the room carrying Addy and this is where my nightmare began.
“She’s not responding to me honey! What’s wrong with her!? See if she’ll respond to you.” His voice was scared. I looked up and her eyes were closed and her head was resting on his shoulder. I said her name rather loudly, several times and she moved slightly and tried to open her eyes but all I saw were her eyes looking up and not at me. I put Annie down and was ready to call 911 when I realized my husband was out the door and I thought he was getting in the car to take her to the ER. I ran out and realized he had called 911 and I grabbed Addy from him. Her whole body was limp, she still hadn’t responded to us or said a word. Her lips were turning blue and it looked like she couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t sure what was going on but I was thinking maybe she had swallowed something and it got stuck in her throat and she couldn’t breathe. If that was the case, I told myself, we were running out of time to save her. If she couldn’t breathe and we couldn’t get something out of her throat, she would be dying. The 911 operator told us to lay her on a flat surface. I ran to the kitchen with her and laid her on the floor. He told me to put both my hands just below her belly button and push. Nothing happened. I tried to open her mouth to see if I could see something in her airway. There was blood and her teeth were clinched together. I couldn’t get in her mouth but I did get blood on my hand, which scared me even more. Why was she bleeding? What was happening to my little girl? My husband and I were both yelling at the 911 operator to hurry up and get someone here! We were scared out of our minds. The only thing we knew was that our daughter was playing one minute and collapsed the next minute and we couldn’t wake her up.
Minutes later a police officer showed up. She immediately took Addy into her arms and made sure she was breathing. She then turned her over and started hitting her back, which was something the 911 operator told me NOT to do. I quickly told her that and she said if there was something stuck in her throat we needed to get it out. She then laid Addy back down on the kitchen floor and said that she felt very hot and asked about any recent issues. I barely remember anything I said and all I could see was my lifeless little girl laying on the kitchen floor. Another police officer, the fire department and the EMS then showed up. They quickly evaluated her and told us they would be taking her to the hospital. Poor LA was asking what was wrong with Addy and I felt so helpless not being able to tell him anything. He had to be scared out of his mind too seeing his mama and daddy as scared as we were. I quickly got my shoes on to ride in the ambulance with Addy and told my husband to call our neighbor to watch LA and to bring Annie with him to the hospital (since I am exclusively nursing her). I got in the ambulance and they assured me that they had brought the ER to her and would take great care of her. They asked me some questions. They were trying to get an IV in her arm but couldn’t. She had finally started to cry and that was the best noise I’ve ever heard. Although it was a weak cry, it meant she was alive. They then asked me to get on the stretcher and hold her to calm her down and proceeded to tell me that her temp was 103.3 and rising. One of the guys put his hand on my arm and looked at me and told me to stay calm but they were about to turn on the lights and sirens to get her to the hospital as soon as they could. He also explained to me that he believed she had a seizure. He said that her temperature is high and toddlers cannot regulate their body temperatures as well as adults can and if the temp gets too high the body will shut down and restart itself with a seizure.
A seizure was something I never thought of since she wasn’t shaking uncontrollably. As I rode to the hospital holding my little girl I was still worried. Every time her cry faded out and it got quiet, I looked more intently at her to make sure she was breathing and I called her name each time. They assured me that she was just exhausted and she was falling asleep, but that wasn’t reassuring to me when I saw them react every time she got quiet, too. They would call her name, move her arms and check her heart rate. To me it seemed they weren’t quite sure themselves.
We arrived at the hospital and as soon as they removed us from the back of the ambulance and the cold air hit Addy she cried louder. She barely had clothes on since they removed them in hopes of helping to lower her body temperature. They told me to hold my coat around her the best I could but she still felt that cold air and she already had goose bumps. When we got into the ER they took her from me and immediately started checking her vitals. At this point her fever had gone up to 104.7.
At the ER they also believed she had a febrile seizure. They gave her Motrin and Tylenol to bring her fever down and started the IV that the EMTs couldn’t get in. They did a flu test, an RSV test, a strep test, a urine test and they all came back negative. They said they saw a slight ear infection, which they believed caused her fever. They also gave her an antibiotic via IV before they released her from the hospital.
That night and every night since I’ve been terrified to leave her in her room alone. She slept by my side the first night and I checked her temp what seemed like every 15 minutes. I am terrified of fevers now. Our pediatrician told us that the seizure was most likely brought on because the fever came on quickly and rose very fast. Even though we were told this will most likely never happen again, I worry now that I will miss a fever and she’ll seiz again. That was the most terrifying moment in my life. My husband and I both thought we were losing our little girl. In the days since, she’s been running a slight fever but she’s been fine overall. Last night (for the first time ever) she fell asleep in her high chair at dinner. I called her name a few times and she didn’t reply and I, again, thought something happened. My heart was racing before I realized she had just fallen asleep and after a bit of moving her and calling her name we were able to wake her.
It’s been nearly two weeks and every time I walk into the kitchen I still see her lifeless body laying on the floor and me yelling her name in desperation. The outfit she had on and the cloth diaper she had on both bring back the memories of her laying there and me being terrified. I thank God every day that our little girl is still with us. What I realized after all of this is how much my husband and I need to take a child CPR and safety class. We honestly didn’t know what to do and I feel incredibly dumb for that. If she had been choking, I wouldn’t have known what to do. When she wasn’t responding, I didn’t know what to do and even more I was afraid that I could harm her by trying anything since I didn’t know what was wrong or what to do. How could I have not thought to take a class that can save my child’s life? I can’t help but think about what could have happened and how it could have been our faults that we didn’t know how to save her. Please, please, please….if you have children at home or are having a baby, please take a CPR and safety class so you won’t find yourself in the same situation. It’s so very important as a parent to know how to react in any situation. Anything can happen within seconds…be prepared.