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When Your Baby’s Fever Results In A Seizure

Parenthood, we continue to learn is an obstacle course. Some parts you cruise through thinking, “Damn, I’m kicking ass!” Other times, you fall flat on it. Our entire family was recently down for the count, with fevers, runny noses and coughs. It’s the first time we were collectively ill, but we were prepared with a medicine cabinet stocked of infant Tylenol, Vicks vapor rub, DayQuil (NyQuil, too), and cough drops. The emergency 911 call at two in the morning and resulting ambulance ride to the ER? Nope, didn’t see that bump in the course coming.

Rhyan was the first to develop a fever. She seemed fine when she woke up that Thursday morning, but by 9am she was lethargic and not herself. I took her temperature it read 101.6. I gave her the appropriate dose of baby Tylenol only to have her start choking right after. It looked like she couldn’t breathe. And just as my mind started racing on what to do, she threw up. After talking with her pediatrician, we picked up baby Motrin and made sure to keep her hydrated. (Side note: it’s good to have BOTH baby Tylenol and Motrin on hand because you can alternate between doses.)

As I nursed my sick baby girl, I realized I was feeling pretty crappy myself. Chills, body aches, runny nose. That evening, Logan got hit with whatever bug we were fighting. He fell asleep at 5pm, which sometimes happens when he refuses to nap during the day, but more than that, it was how he was sleeping. It seemed really fitful. When we took his temperature it registered at a 102.2. Both kids got a dose of baby Motrin and all four of us fell asleep around 10pm.

At 2am, we woke up to what sounded like Logan shivering from the chills. Something seemed off though. Myles picked him up and I shined my phone flashlight on him so we could see what was happening that’s when we realized our son was having what looked like a seizure. Myles rushed to the bathroom and splashed water from the shower on him in an attempt to wake him, while I called 911. Logan still wasn’t waking up or responding. His eyes were rolled to the back of his head and spit was slowly pouring from his mouth. The paramedic talked me through what to do, the first of which was to take him out of the shower. 

Sleeping babes getting much needed rest

Home from the hospital and both babies getting some much needed rest.

The seizure lasted about three minutes, but Logan still wasn’t opening his eyes or responding. The medic kept asking if he was still breathing, he was. Myles was holding Logan when the ambulance arrived. His body was limp, yet his arms and legs were straight as boards and couldn’t be bent. It all sort of happened in slow motion, but also hyper-speed, because within minutes Myles was in a wheelchair with a non-responsive Logan and taken down to the ambulance. I rushed to get myself and Rhyan dressed (both babies had been sleeping in just diapers because of their temperatures, but also that’s their preferred state of dress) and get our diaper bag together. While my mother-in-law held Rhy, I gathered up diapers, a blanket, Logan’s favorite cars for when he woke up…the whole time I prayed and thanked God that my son was okay.

All I can remember from the ambulance ride is laying there, holding my son in my arms, rubbing his back and praying. Praying to make him feel better. Praying that it’s nothing serious. Praying to keep him alive. I felt so helpless. Logan relies on me to keep him safe, I’m his dad and I just didn’t know what I could do in that moment to help him.

It was all such a blur. Ravelle and Rhyan got to the hospital just as Logan was about to be admitted. His eyes had finally opened, maybe a minute before. He was still so disoriented though. When my wife took him, he didn’t show any signs of recognizing that was his mom. When you go to the ER, there’s usually a nurse/doctor that you first check in with. You explain the reason for coming in, they check your vitals, and then you either go to a second waiting room or depending on the severity of your ailment are sent directly to a room to see a doctor.

Finally home...

My two sleeping loves.

The nurse in the first room took Logan’s temperature and found that it had skyrocketed to 104.2. After giving him Tylenol, they took us back to wait on the doctor and to run a few tests on Logan. Once we talked him through what happened, he let us know that it sounded like a febrile seizure, which is characterized by uncontrolled full-body convulsions that happen during a fever. It can affect some children ages 6 months to 5-years-old as a response to a rapidly increasing temperature. The doctor mentioned that there is a chance it could happen again and if the seizure lasted over 10 minutes then we call an ambulance. 10 minutes is a long time to watch your child like that, and then what if it continues past that time?? You, then, rush to the hospital, hoping that you’ll beat the clock? Nope. We’ll be erring on the side of caution and making an ER visit just in case. The pamphlet we were given before discharge recommended you call 911 if the seizure lasts five minutes or longer, and if 10 minutes or longer you go to the ER. However, I say call 911 and have an ambulance come ASAP because you just never know and why chance it.

Knowing that this ended up not being life-threatening and that Logan wouldn’t have any lasting harm from it immediately put us both at ease. While Ravelle and I didn’t voice our fears to each other frankly there wasn’t anytime to think about anything other than to get our son help we were obviously both on edge until hearing the diagnosis from the doctor. By the time we left the hospital, Logan had drank two juice boxes, taken a few bites of a graham cracker, and fallen asleep. We left for home feeling grateful that Logan was okay and already showing signs of his normal self, albeit very, very sleepy.


By Ravelle, March 3, 2017
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