It sounds much worse than it is. Caused by a rapid spike in body temperature, often due to an infection, these seizures are the most common type of convulsions in infants and young children. Luckily, the seizure itself only lasts a short time, a few minutes at most, and does not cause any long-term damage. Words that were music to my ears after watching my son experience once.
My son and I were having a blast at our second annual ‘Mama & Bubba Beach Weekend.’ The weather could not have been more perfect; a beautiful sunny and 75-degree day, but ocean temperatures still chilly. That didn’t seem to bother him though, as he ran and played in a calm ocean.
That Sunday when we got home, I noticed he was a bit warm but had no fever. I just figured because this was the first beach weekend all year, that he was out in the sun too much. When I picked him up that Monday from Camp Grammie (it takes a village, y’all), she noticed he had a slight rash. By the time we got home, the rash had spread some but still didn’t look bad. My thought was he had skin sensitivities to the new suntan lotion I used. He wasn’t bothered by it and after a baking soda bath, all was well. By Tuesday morning, the rash was all but gone. I made a mental note to buy the old brand of lotion and called it a day.
When I got home that night, he was laying on the couch watching Mickey and snuggled under a blanket. My husband and I thought that was weird and noticed the rash had come back and spread more. By this time, he had a slight fever, so we gave him Benadryl to try and treat the rash. We put him to bed early that night, thinking he’d be good in the morning.
About 9:15, I heard him calling for me. I went in and he was saying that he couldn’t sleep. I checked his temperature and it had spiked to 103.8 degrees. It was then that my entire world was rocked. He started having a seizure with me by his side. My husband immediately knew what to do and stayed by his side while I got dressed and started the car. After the seizure had finished, we rushed him to the ER. I was in hysterics while carrying my son in through a crowded waiting room and nothing could stop me from getting him help. I had no idea if he would have more seizures, or what the night would entail.
After a few hours in the ER, we were discharged and told to schedule a follow-up with his pediatric doctor. Both doctors told us he had a febrile seizure and explained that while they are scary, they are very common. The rash that I assumed was a skin sensitivity was, in fact, the infection that started all of this. Had I been more diligent about the rash in the first place, would any of this had even happened? Did I completely fail my son?
I continue to beat myself up, wondering about the ‘what if’s.’ But we’re all just trying to do the best we can. Babies and children don’t come with a manual. Not everything is going to be sunshine and roses.
This was, so far, the hardest thing I’ve had to go through as a parent. But during that time, I realized that I would do anything humanly possible to protect my son. As women, we are born strong. Our job is to be the Mama Bear. Whether you are a stay at home mom or go to an office every day, there will be times when you are tested, and this was my time. When your test happens, remember that you got this. You are stronger than you know.