PARENTING: Aurora takes a ride in an ambulance

This was a very difficult post to write, but I think it’s an important one.

And after taking a week or so to reflect, I feel like I’m in a much better headspace to share this story.

So here goes.

It all started a couple weeks ago. I shared on IG that I was so freakin burnt out and barely hanging on. The culprit? Ro is currently in Leap 9 (don’t know what I’m talking about? Download The Wonder Weeks app for life-changing insight and advice on your babe) and the markers include: being fussier than usual, cranky, mischievous and defiant.

Add in side effects like poor sleep (Chick gets up at 4:30 a.m. EVERY DAY) and a strong desire to CONSTANTLY TAKE OFF HER DIAPER and CLOTHES. Sprinkle in a pinch of aggressive biting and hitting when she’s overtired. Stir contents and pour over ice and what do you get? A mom who was legit close to losing her shit.

And I knew that. I wasn’t afraid to share that with my husband, or the Internet. I needed a break…bad. I posted a pic of Ro and tried to remind my followers that parenting isn’t easy and phases like this make it even harder. I preached that it’s OK to be overwhelmed, and that it’s OK to feel like you can’t do it all. I encouraged parents to ask for help when they need it.

And then, the next day, I did just that.

I took some much needed time to myself. I ran errands, I had lunch with friends and I attempted to unwind from a very exhausting and stressful week. But all day, I felt extremely guilty for wanting that time away from my family. I kept feeling this weird urge to go home, but I pushed myself not to bolt. Time and time again I had to remind myself, “you desperately need this, and you’re no good to anyone if you go home now.”

When I did finally head home, I felt refreshed. I felt revitalized. I was ready to jump back into my role as Mom.

And then I got a call while I was driving: Aurora had a seizure. I screamed. I panicked. I couldn’t think straight. My mind went to the worst.

I learned that her body was convulsing, she was foaming at the mouth and barely breathing at times. It lasted for more than 10 minutes. Her grandparents called 911. Anthony left work right away and got home just in time to jump in the ambulance with her. She was given oxygen and started to calm down.

I joined them at the hospital and we learned she had a Complex Febrile Seizure – convulsion in a child that may be caused by a spike in body temperature and most commonly occurs on the first day of a fever. It’s categorized as “complex” because of the length of the seizure.

After a lot of research, I’ve learned that Febrile Seizures are mostly harmless. But where Aurora had trouble breathing, it was important to get her to a hospital immediately.

She had been running warm all day and her grandmother had even texted me her concerns about it, but I brushed it off because 1. We try not to give her meds right away; our philosophy has been that fevers are good and shouldn’t be interfered with unless they reach dangerous levels. 2. She’s teething (low fevers are common when teething). And 3. She’s had high fevers before and her body handled it without issue. Running a bit warm wasn’t overtly concerning to me.

Naturally, I was beating myself the FUCK up.

“What kind of mother leaves her child when she’s warm?” I sobbed.

“I should have been there!” I screamed.

I cried so hard that the nurse pulled me in for a hug, having experienced the same thing with her own child before, and consoled me.

“It would have happened whether or not you were there,” she reassured me. “You’re here now. That’s all that matters.”

She was right. I was being too hard on myself, and it wasn’t fair. And balling my eyes out wasn’t helping Aurora feel any calmer.

Originally, we were told by the E.R. doctor that she had an ear infection, which is likely why she was running warm. That infection allegedly caused her temp to spike quickly, causing the seizure.

After giving her some fever-reducing meds, running some tests and monitoring her for a few hours, the doctors felt she was OK to go home. We were incredibly grateful to be taking our baby home, knowing she was going to be alright. I can’t even explain that relief.

She was given an antibiotic for the ear infection, which she started the next morning. We alternated between Motrin and Tylenol to manage her fever, but four days later, she was still running a decent temp (103ish) and had started to develop a rash all over her torso and pelvic area. Fearful that something else was going on, we decided to take her to Children’s Hospital in Boston to get a second opinion. I was much calmer this time.

After looking in her ears, the doctor felt confident that she never had an ear infection – he didn’t think the antibiotics would have cleared it up that quick and he saw no signs of an infection. He pulled her off the antibiotics and also dismissed the idea that the rash might be an allergic reaction to the antibiotics (the rash would have looked like hives if it was, which it did not).

The rash had now spread up her chest, neck and face and he diagnosed it as a maculopapular rash brought on by a viral infection. What kind of virus? Not sure, but her flu test was negative. He believes it was the virus that caused the spike in temp and thus the seizure.

We were told that she’ll will now be more prone to these kinds of seizures in the future – it’s not a matter of if, but when it will occur. So that means we’ll need to make sure she gets fever-reducing meds at the first sign of a temp, going forward – it won’t prevent a seizure, but it will help her body manage better. When she does have another seizure, we basically just have to ride it out and keep her safe during it – turn her on her side so she doesn’t choke on vomit/foam, put her in a safe place so she can’t get hurt and don’t restrain her. If she has trouble breathing again, or if the seizure lasts longer than 10 minutes, we’re supposed to call 911 right away. So I guess it’s good to have a plan in place, but I just can’t even imagine seeing her like that. I’m so grateful that I wasn’t home when it happened.

It is almost impossible to describe how this all has made us feel. It took a few days of processing and calming down before I even started feeling like myself again. And I’m happy to report that Aurora is finally getting a little bit of her bright and wild personality back too – I think she’s starting to feel much, much better and I’m eternally grateful for that.

I don’t know everything about this condition, and I’m not attempting to provide medical advice here. I just wanted to share this experience in the hopes it helps someone else who may go through it.

All we can do right now is be grateful that her grandparents did everything right – they saved our daughter.

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