Monday, December 29, 2008

Don't panic ~ yeah right.

D: This past Christmas began perfectly, with presents under the tree at home, a lovely breakfast at my mom's, and then Walker and I went snowboarding all afternoon while the twins played at their grandparents. That evening we picked them up around 6:30pm and although Ollie seemed overtired and cranky there was nothing out of the ordinary about either one of them.

However, only minutes after driving away, I heard a strange sound coming from Ollie. The minute I turned around and saw him I screamed, "Oliver is having a seizure, he's not breathing!" and I jumped in the back to take him out of his car seat. I was terrified that he was choking or had been accidentally poisoned and had no way of knowing what do to next. His little lips and face had turned blue and he was not breathing. Walker imediately pulled the car over and called 911, while I started performing CPR on him, first in the car and then out of the car in the snow. It was probably at least 2 minutes before his seizure was over and he started lightly breathing again, but his body was still listless and his only sounds were a slight whimper.

I have never been more terrified in all my life. I thought we were losing our little boy and I didn't know why.

Thankfully, the EMT responded seconds later and they quickly lifted him into the ambulance. Once they took his temperature (102) they immediately diagnosed him as having a febrile seizure. She told me that this is very common in young children, and that Ollie will be just fine. I wanted to believe her, but given what we had just been through it was hard to believe that Ollie was going to be 'just fine' any time soon.

While I was in the ambulance with Oliver, Walker had to stay in the car with Finlay. Luckily, the responding Police officer was very helpful, retrieving my shoe that had fallen in the snow, telling Walker what was going on with Ollie in the ambulance and helping to transfer Finlay into my mother’s car (once she got there) so that Walker could follow the ambulance to the hospital.

While enroute to the hospital Ollie was starting to 'come to', but he was still extremely unresponsive. The paramedic told me that having a seizure is like running a marathon, especially for such a little guy, and that it would just take time to recover. Sure enough, by the time we got to Children's Hospital he started crying (I never thought I'd be so happy to hear him cry!) and then he started reaching for me saying 'mama, mama'.

Walker quickly joined us and although Ollie seemed exhausted, he was eating, talking, walking and even laughing a little and it was clear that he was definitely going to be 'just fine'. After ruling out everything else, the doctors at Children’s also diagnosed Ollie as having experienced a febrile seizure and gave us the run down on just what occurred and what this means for our little guy.

I wanted to share this information in as much detail as possible because of how common this is for children and I know there are a lot of parents that read this blog. What happened on Christmas night was terrifying, but if I had known what was happening and how to handle the situation, it would've made it much easier on us.

So here's the low down: (from what the doc told me and from the Mayo Clinic Website)

A febrile seizure is a convulsion in young children caused by a sudden spike in body temperature. Fortunately, febrile seizures aren't as dangerous as they may look. A seizure triggered by a sudden fever is usually harmless and doesn't indicate a long-term or ongoing problem. Having one doesn't mean that a child will have epilepsy or brain damage. Even repeated febrile seizures do not indicate that a child has epilepsy.

Often, a febrile seizure occurs before parents even realize that their child is ill. Most febrile seizures occur during the first day of a fever but a may also develop as the fever is declining.

Young age is the strongest risk factor. About one in 25 children will experience a febrile seizure. Most febrile seizures occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years and are particularly common in toddlers. Boys are affected slightly more often. Children rarely develop their first febrile seizure before the age of 6 months or have them after 3 years of age. Some children inherit a family's tendency to have seizures with a fever. Some children will never have a febrile seizure again (most children only have one or two febrile seizures in their childhood).

Most febrile seizures stop on their own within a couple of minutes. If your child has a febrile seizure that lasts more than five minutes or your child turns blue, call 911 right away.

In rare cases, the seizure may continue until your child arrives at the emergency room. If this happens, a doctor may order medication that's administered either through your child's rectum or intravenously to stop the seizure.

If your child has a febrile seizure, stay calm and follow these steps to help your child during the seizure:

* Place your child on his or her side, somewhere where he or she won't fall.
* Stay close to watch and comfort your child.
* Loosen any tight or restrictive clothing.
* Don't restrain your child or interfere with your child's movements.
* Don't attempt to put anything in your child's mouth.

Not long after having a febrile seizure, many children are back on their feet, running around the doctor's office or playing safely at home. By staying calm, observing your child and knowing when to call the doctor, you're doing everything that's needed to take care of your child.

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 1:29 PM

Read or Post a Comment

Oh, Dana, that sounds absolutely terrifying. Thank you so much for posting the details. I'm glad all is well in twin town, and that Ollie is back to his crying, laughing, eating, non-seizure having self.

Posted by Blogger karbinks @ Monday, December 29, 2008 4:23:00 PM #

Hey Dana,

Peacock and I just read about the seizure and we are so relieved that everything is ok. Can't imagine how terrifying that must have been. Thinking about you and hope you guys are all right. XOXO

Posted by Blogger Autumn @ Monday, December 29, 2008 8:07:00 PM #

We are from Seattle, and have been following your blog for a few months. As the mother of identical twin girls and a physician, I was getting choked up reading this post. You must have been so frightened. Febrile seizures are indeed not that rare, but so scary for parents nonetheless. May you have a happy and HEALTHY new year.

Posted by Anonymous Amy @ Monday, December 29, 2008 8:11:00 PM #


OM how terrible for you guys. We must have missed each other since I spent the night at Children's with Brody Xmas Eve Eve. We came home late Xmas Eve. He had a terrible asthma attack and could not keep his oxygen levels up. Needless to say I have not had to experience a seizure:( My nephew, Quinn, my sister's son though has had a few and was actually at the hospital Xmas, as well. From the sound in my sister's voice it sounds terrifying. Hopefully, it will not happen again. Hang in there and XO

Posted by Blogger Boyer Family In Seattle @ Monday, December 29, 2008 8:23:00 PM #

What an absolutely terrifying nightmare!

We had a scare with Jonathan this month which I wrote about here:

I am trying to arrange for the Red Cross to come to my home and do trainings for my friends and family.

I have heard of febrile seizures before, but if you didn't know he even had a fever, you couldn't have know what was going on. What was the ER doc's advice RE CPR? Any more info you can provide would be great!

I am so thankful that you were able to react so quickly and that your son really and truly is okay. A Christmas miracle, I'd say.

Blessings to your family Dana!

Posted by Blogger Krissy @ Monday, December 29, 2008 8:33:00 PM #

Wow! Terriying indeed! I am so glad to hear that Oliver is ok after the seizure.

I also appreciate your post on what to do if your child has a febrile seizure. My kids had very high temperatures during the pre-eartube stage, as well as when Reid had bacterial pneumonia and his temp was 106+. The doctor warned us several times about febrile seizures and what to do if/when your child has one. But even though I've read and listened about what to do when...a gazillion times, I am always afraid that I will freeze in the time of need. It sounds like you and W did exactly what was needed to help Ollie get back to laughing with his brother.

Posted by Blogger The Adventures of Carrie, Brook, Finn and Reid @ Monday, December 29, 2008 9:49:00 PM #

Oh my god, how scary! I can only begin to imagine how terrified you must have been. I'm so glad everything turned out alright and he'll be OK.

Posted by Blogger Goddess in Progress @ Tuesday, December 30, 2008 5:03:00 AM #

Our love goes out to you all. Give both kids an extra hug or three from us. -Aunt Lauren, Uncle Jason, and Hunter

Posted by Blogger The Hiner Family Blog @ Tuesday, December 30, 2008 8:56:00 AM #

I am a longtime lurker and mom of 15 month fraternal boys. Thanks so much for posting this! It is good information to have and I am glad you posted what happened with you and the description from the doctor of what to do...I would have freaked beyond belief!
Thanks again!

Posted by Blogger Stephanie @ Tuesday, December 30, 2008 10:46:00 AM #

oh thank god ollie is alright. what a terrifying experience! we'll cross our fingers this never happens to any of us again!

Posted by Blogger t + j @ Wednesday, December 31, 2008 10:44:00 AM #

Dana, your uncle and aunt and cousins in Chicago thank God for your cool-headedness and skills, for the love you and Walker have for each other and these two wonderful boys, and for the mercy of professionals to help make Oliver safe.

uncle Bruce

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ Thursday, January 01, 2009 5:47:00 AM #

i just read about what happened...i got your message shortly after where you had said that everything turned out okay, but i'm so sorry that you uys had to go through that. i'm glad to hear that they aer common and don't pose long-term effects or indicative of any disorders. i love you all and hope that the memories can fade quickly. love you and hope to talk and see you again soon! have a great time in montana! katy

Posted by Anonymous katy olson @ Tuesday, January 06, 2009 5:28:00 PM #
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