Febrile Seizures

My wife and I were woken up by a new sound from our daughter’s room at 3am on Sunday morning. It was very strange. Adelaide has a certain sound she makes when she has a diaper rash. It’s something like an inhale someone might make when an existing wound gets touched. The sound Sunday morning was part this sound and part scream. We brought her to our bed to have a bottle. She was drinking normally when all of a sudden she dropped the bottle, tensed her entire body, and made the sound again. It looked and felt like a seizure. When it happened a second time after a few minutes, we called 9-1-1. Life turned into a blur. I held my screaming daughter while the EMTs arrived, guided us out to the ambulance, and rushed us over to the hospital. Adelaide had another few “episodes” on the trip over and in the hospital room. Eventually, she collapsed from exhaustion in my arms.

The EMTs and ER staff didn’t think her “episodes” were seizures. They attributed the “episodes” to night terrors, teething, or a fever. Needless to say, the lack of an answer didn’t help us.

We saw her primary care physician yesterday. After hearing our story, he said it was likely febrile seizures – or seizures caused by a fever. This happens to something like 30% of kids before age 5 and doesn’t usually cause any lasting harm. Because Adelaide had a fever that lasted after her “episodes” ended, that most likely ruled out neurological issues. Thus, her “episodes” were pretty harmless and likely don’t have a more worrisome underlying cause. She’s acted normally since the events.

The entire event is a reminder of the frailty of life. Life can change in an instant. Be it a strange sound from a young baby at 3am or a car crash. I’ve always found that events like this are great times to reconsider your own course and re-decide whether the path you’re headed down is the right one for you.

For me, having those unavoidable dark thoughts during the scary event strengthened my resolve to slow down and spend as much time as possible with my baby girl. Because life can change in an instant, you need to make sure every instant is the best it can be.

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