Please forgive for the rambling - I'm on one hour of sleep and still in shock, I'm pretty sure.
I never imagined in a trillion years after my last Disneyland post that this next one would be so serious. No parent can know the true horror of what Anil and I went through last night unless they have been through it - and we were no different than those parents until last night.
Noah had a febrile seizure. At the time, we had no idea that's what it was. All I knew was I was going to bed and heard pretty soft but fairly strange noises coming from his nursery...at first I assumed it was just him trying to get comfortable as he hadn't been feeling well, runny nose and stomach problems. But a moment later I decided to get up and just do a quick check to make sure, get him comfortable and that's it I thought. I walked in and knew immediately something was wrong.
Noah was shaking, convulsing, eyes open and all together wrong. For a moment I thought (HOPED) it was just a little night tremor and all I'd need to do was wake him up and he'd be fine. I tried for 1/2 a second and got nothing and screamed for Anil to come in, as he was coming back from taking our dog out. The next 5-10 minutes were intense. We both screamed, we kept trying to wake him up and we were getting nothing but arms and legs jerking wildly, his eyes rolling back into his head and not coming back, vomit, the most bizarre noises I've ever heard and a lot of us completely freaking out and not knowing what to do - screaming things like 'stay with us, Noah!' and 'Don't leave baby stay here' if that gives you any idea of where our fears went witnessing this horror.
Of the many things I'm now so grateful for as I lie here in bed next to the single most precious gift I've ever been given - who is fast asleep and still with a slight fever that we're keeping down with meds but fine- - at the top of my list is my neighbor who ran downstairs when she heard all the screaming. I believe her calm soul and mother's love (she has a 12 yr old daughter) saved us in that moment. I handed Noah to her seeing that she was clearly and by far the most contained in the room and she held him tight and spoke to him calmly, even as he was twitching and shivering, eyes rolling back in his head and noises coming from his mouth that didn't seem human.
Noah finally stopped convulsing when she held him, which was a miracle at that point, but he was still making those noises and completely non-responsive, eyes open and eyeballs to the side, listless, for the next few minutes until the paramedics arrived through the paramedics being here for another few, through the ambulance ride where Noah and I laid on a gurney while I tried everything to get him to come to - the alphabet song, yo gabba gabba, Dominic's bing bong nose trick, asking where 'puppy' is to which he usually replied 'puppy puppy puppy' with the most excited voice, singing Anil's mom's little song 'baby ba-bu', telling him I loved him, asking him to say hi to the paramedics who were trying to get him to respond to their fingers moving, begging him to come back. Finally as we pulled into the hospital entrance, I saw his eyes move ever so slightly following the hand of a very kind paramedic who said 'he followed, that's a good sign'...my first tiny sigh of relief. I kept asking the paramedics if he was going to be okay on the ride over but got no answer, thinking in hindsight and trying to tell myself at the time that they couldn't for legal reasons tell me he was going to be okay, but hard not to hear it from someone in that moment.
They pulled us out of the ambulance and took us inside and we waited a minute or so for a room, then they wheeled us in - all the while, Noah is still not coming to, barely aware of his surroundings, and shivering and sweating at the same time. Anil and I were just in a panic, I can not lie, and did not know what to do, what was happening or when this was going to end or HOW.
The nurse took his temperature and it was 104.3 - I'm certain it was higher when this first started and he had cooled down a bit, as his body was on fire when we found him. After what took like forever because as she explained they had to weigh him and be certain that they were giving him the proper dosage (which to me meant they were coming back with some heavy duty stuff to break the fever) - I kept asking "aren't you going to do something to bring the fever down?" to which they replied 'it's coming, we have to measure it out...blalblah' and much to my surprise they showed up 10 minutes later with a normal dose of children's tylenol!
No matter, it slowly and I mean slowly but surely did the trick. He started to come to, focusing in on people, on me, on dad, on the nurses and finally started to react to our constant prods. The first moment I saw a slight grin come across his face was a result of peek-a-boo I believe almost 2 hours into the incident and it was the single most amazing sight of all times. As the next hour wore on, he regained his personality and the grins became more frequent along with his cries and sleepy grunts - the sweetest sights and sounds I've ever heard.
Our dear friends, Chris & Heather, you know...amazing Mimi's mom & dad, really helped us by Google-ing febrile seizure and sending us info on it - which was our first indication that Noah was going to be okay - and we needed that like nobody's business.
And sweet Crystal came down to give us hugs and make Noah smile even bigger with her mad skills with the guy.
And in the end, Noah is okay as evidenced below - lounging in our bed in his new 'i'm at the beach soaking in the sun' pose, exhausted but without a care in the world by the looks of things.
To say that this was a game-changing, life-altering experience would be an understatement. As dramatic and blown out as my words might seem hear, they do nothing to describe the sheer terror and fright we felt in those moments last night. Nothing will ever be the same again. Just when we thought that we could not be more grateful for this little boy in our lives, we are a trillion times more grateful - for him, for us, for our friends, our family, our lives and I am personally grateful to you for reading this blog post. It has been therapeutic for me to write it so thanks for saving me the doctor bills (I hope!) and make sure if you're a parent, you read up on febrile seizures...we keep saying that perhaps if we'd known at least that it could happen like that and what our reactions might be, we may have been SLIGHTLY less flipped out, but no matter what you read, nothing can prepare you for anything like this happening to your child. It did prove to us again though how resilient they are, and for that we are also grateful. We'll be watching him like a hawk for a while (ok forever) but we know he's tough. Ironically, he was wearing his 'tough guy' Pj's with gorillas all over him last night too - that is for real.
Off to his pediatrician's now for a follow-up but will update again when I can. For now, the photos...
Update: First off, thanks for the comments - my gratitude is seriously overflowing right now. And thanks for the great tips Grace - I will follow them gladly, starting today. I actually forgot to mention that I was at one point while holding him flailing and trying to pour him a bottle of water thinking he might be dehydrated, trying to give him mouth to mouth resuscitation as another desperate, uneducated measure to bring him back to us. That was quite a sight and one that I'm afraid is sticking in Anil's mind a bit too well at this point.
So doctor said that we do not need to worry and that 94% of the time these seizures at not harmful which is the good news. The not so good news is that she said he is very likely to have a seizure again, possible multiple times. The type and length and other factors Noah has put him in a category where more often than not, they recur. This is mind-blowingly frightening for us as you can imagine, but at least now with the education and awareness, we can be ready...ish.
Here's a very 'factual' article from the NINDS on Febrile Seizures - it gives you all the facts. What it doesn't give you is the emotional toll that you may experience as a parent, if you are anything like me. Other articles mention the 'horror' & 'trauma' but I think you guys get this from my post. I hope I will be better equipped if there is a next time.
We are squeezing Noah even tighter today and know that he will be okay (and I've managed to get another hour of sleep and the boys are still sleeping now!)- Anil and I were both amazed at the flood of thoughts and just raw emotion that flooded over us last night - and through this, for the good, our lives will not be the same. As all of our adoption buddies know, even with our coined 'fast pass' it was still an intense process for us to bring Noah Arone home - and the very-real-at-the-time thought of losing him, even now knowing that it was unlikely to have happened, has changed us completely...and we are choosing to see this as another one of our blessings in disguise.