Now that I sit down to write this post, I’m not sure how to start. I’m not sure why it had to happen and I keep wondering if there was anything I could have done to prevent it. But it did happen and I can’t change that. I’m just so thankful that it turned out to be all right.
So here’s what happened:
Svara has been teething for a few days now and has had a low fever, a bit higher at night but always tapering off towards morning. She’s been just as active as usual and no other symptoms, so I didn’t do anything for her fever. Yesterday we visited Naren’s parents for dinner. Svara still had a low fever, and towards evening she got pretty quiet. I know she was tired because she had a short nap that day, so I asked Naren to get her crib ready as it was already past her bedtime. While we were getting her ready for bed she was really quiet, not her usual fiesty self. She was still talking, though, just seemed tired. Finally she was all ready, lights were off, and I started nursing her.
But something wasn’t right. First I noticed she wasn’t really sucking anymore. And her eyes were staring straight up. I thought she was looking at the pattern on the pillowcase. I asked her if she wanted to switch sides, but she had no response. I stroked her, no response. I sat her up, tried to get her to look in my eyes, talk to me… no response… there was a chill in my heart, I started feeling panicky. I called Naren and said Svara was acting weird. She wasn’t focusing, she didn’t seem to be breathing, I thought she was choking, I didn’t know what else it could be. We tried inclining her downwards and hitting her back. Nothing. She wasn’t gasping for breath, she wasn’t doing anything at all. Naren saw drool come out of her mouth and she started to turn blue. Naren was rushing her out of the house. I was screaming, the house was full of people and everyone was panicking.
We went out of the house and Naren was rushing to the car to take her to the doctor. He gave her to me. Her eyes started to focus. She looked around. She wouldn’t talk, though. We got into the car. She started looking around a bit more. We got back out of the car. I kept asking her to say Mama but she wouldn’t. I asked her where Papa is and she pointed towards him. After a few minutes she said Mama.
We took her to the hospital just to check. Turns out she had a febrile seizure. It happens when a small child’s temperature rises too quickly. Her fever wasn’t very high, but I guess it had gone up quickly. It could have been because the room was too warm (aircon hadn’t been running very long yet) in combination with her footie pajamas which can contain body heat. I feel that I should have been more careful with her fever, made sure she wasn’t too hot. Of course hindsight is 20/20, right?
Even though the seizure itself only lasted a minute or two, it was a horrible two minutes. To hold your baby in your arms and not know what is wrong, not know what to do, and fear you are going to lose your baby. I was so relieved that she was okay that I didn’t cry afterwards. But now, 24 hours later, I feel like crying. Svara is fine, but I know there are so many mothers out there who have felt the same thing that I felt, only in the end they did lose their baby. I had a tiny glimpse into that pain, and I thank God a million times over that that’s all it was.
A febrile seizure isn’t serious or dangerous, but it IS scary. Apparently it happens to 3-5% of children from ages 6 months to 5 years. And once a child has had one they have about a 35% chance of having another one. Why didn’t I know about this? I do remember reading that it’s important not to let babies get too hot, but I read nothing about seizures. If you are reading this and you never heard of it either, just keep it in mind. Just in case.
Here are a few links about febrile seizures if you want some more information: