The title to this post is not something I ever expected to say, but it happened. Wednesday, December 18, 2013, my 2 and a half year old son had a seizure.
The day started out like any other. Gage was his normal self. At dinner time, he refused to eat, but that didn’t surprise me. After all, he’s two, and any parent knows that it’s not unusual for a two year old to decide they just don’t want to eat.
We headed to church a little early that night. The older kids had play practice, so they went upstairs to the sanctuary, and I stayed downstairs in the nursery with Parker, Gage, and Carly. Gage played and was just fine. Laughing, goofing around, playing like there was nothing wrong.
We went upstairs a few minutes before the service was supposed to start, and still, Gage was just fine. He was running from teenager to teenager, laughing and playing.
Then, all of a sudden, that was enough. He climbed up on my lap. This should have sent up a red flag, because he never climbs up in my lap at church. My best friend sits in the pew with us, and he always chooses her over me. It’s not a bad thing, but I should have known something was off when he wanted to sit in my lap.
The congregation started singing, and Gage kept taking his pacifier out of his mouth and looking at it funny. He wouldn’t keep it in his mouth, and he just kept acting like something was wrong with it. Another red flag.
At that moment, I kissed his forehead. I noticed he was a little warm. I thought to myself, “Fabulous. He’s coming down with something. Someone is always sick at Christmas.”
They started singing “Silent Night” and Gage asked me to take off his shoes. No sooner had I gotten both shoes off, and his entire body went stiff. His eyes rolled back into his head, and he started violently shaking.
I got up to leave the sanctuary, turned to my best friend and told her to call 911.
Then, I nearly lost my mind. I clutched Gage to my chest. I didn’t know where to go, or what to do. Somehow, I ended up on the landing between the two staircases in our church, with most of the congregation around me. I can’t even imagine what I looked like during his seizure. I have never been so scared in my life. I remember praying over and over, “Please, Lord, just let my baby be ok.”
One of the new couples at our church ended up being the biggest blessing to me. I don’t know how, but they convinced me to hand Gage over to the husband. (I didn’t want to hand him over to anyone. I simply wanted to hold my baby and not let go.) But, I did let go. I let Bill hold him, and Bill’s wife, Kelly, held me up when I didn’t have the strength to hold myself up.
Once the seizure started, I lost all sense of time. It felt like an eternity before he stopped shaking. It felt like two eternities before the ambulance arrived.
The EMTs finally did arrive, and they checked Gage over thoroughly and then put him in the back of the ambulance. I climbed back in there with them, and my best friend called my husband at work, and then got in her car and followed the ambulance to the hospital. My husband immediately left work, and drove over the mountain to get to the hospital. I am pretty sure that was the fastest he has ever made it over the mountain. I’m just glad the Lord had his guardian angel on duty that night.
In the ambulance on the way to the hospital, Gage’s temperature was 98.4. No fever at all. When we arrived at the hospital, they took his vitals again, and still no temperature of any kind. His little heart was racing like he had just run a triathlon, though.
We spent the next several hours at the ER. The doctors didn’t really know what to tell us. “Some kids just do this,” they said, like it was perfectly normal that my son had just randomly gone into a violent seizure. “He doesn’t have a fever, but I would guess this was just a febrile seizure.”
I was baffled. Don’t you need to have some kind of temperature in order for a febrile seizure to occur? Gage’s vitals never showed a fever of any kind, so how was that even possible? Yes, he felt a little warm when I kissed his head during church, but not feverish. I know fevers. I’ve had horrible experiences with fevers and most of my children. There just wasn’t any fever.
In my mind, all I could think of was Gage’s surgery and the cyst they had removed from his head. Could these two things be connected? Was it possible that this seizure was some kind of side effect of that cyst? Was my baby going to have to endure more tests, more surgery, more poking and prodding?
(It’s pretty apparent that I am a worrier and do not handle emergencies quite well. That has definitely been established after all of this went down.)
The ER doctors sent us home, telling us that there was a 70% chance Gage would never have another seizure again, but to follow up with our pediatrician the following week.
As luck would have it, our pediatrician just moved home to South Carolina, and we were in the process of changing doctors. We hadn’t even had the chance to meet the kids’ new doctor before this.
We made an appointment with the pediatrician for the day after Christmas. She was so kind, and she really calmed my nerves. She wants to get Gage in with a neurology group, (hopefully the same group that did his surgery), and just be sure that this seizure had nothing to do with the cyst. She’s positive that he’s going to be just fine, but she wants to be absolutely 100% certain there isn’t something they’re missing. That makes me feel better.
While I am still recovering from the shock of having my 2 year old have a seizure in my arms, I am so thankful for God’s timing. I am so grateful that I was at church, surrounded by so many people that love me and love Gage. As soon as it happened, those who weren’t huddled around me, comforting me, were up at the altar praying for my son. The entire church pitched in, took my other children home, made sure they were comforted, cared for, loved, and not alone. I don’t even want to think of what might have happened if I had been home alone (or with just the 3 youngest children) when this happened. Even in the midst of the storm, God is still good.
Every part of me wants to worry about the “What ifs” and possibilities of another seizure, but I am resting on God’s promise in Psalm 56:3, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” I WILL CHOOSE JOY. Even when I am so afraid I cannot stand, I will still rest on His unfailing love.
Do you have any experience with seizures in your children? Were you cool under pressure, or did you lose it like I did?