My Toddler had a Febrile Seizure

My birthday week started off good. It was Easter, then we saw lots of friends and family early in the week. Then I guess all the travel and all the new environments got the boys sick. Henry was lethargic with a fever and then fine. Then Harvey caught it and I thought his fever would break and we would go on to having sniffles for a few weeks until everyone got back to normal.

On the 27th we had a family movie night. I was holding Harvey to keep him comfortable. I thought the loud noises from the movie were startling him in his sleep. At the end of the movie when the credits were playing I was dancing in the living room with my sleeping toddler. All of a sudden he started to convulse and his eyes started to roll back.

I have no professional medical training. Fear doesn’t even begin to describe the horror I felt as I panicked and yelled, “Harvey’s having a seizure! Babe please help him!”

We laid him down and I thought we needed to cool him off so we rushed him to the bathroom. At that point in the bright overhead light his little lips were quickly changing from pink to blue. His body twitched in front of us. I felt helpless and frozen with the fear of losing my son in the same month as losing my mom and aunt who raised me two years prior. Dustin sprung to action and directed me to call 911. He began CPR on Harvey and had him breathing again. My phone was always out of battery or missing so I ran to our On-Site Manager and begged them to call 911. They’re not much older than us and have always been really nice. Back at the apartment Dustin was trying his best to coax a “Dada?” from the Harvey we know and love to no avail. He was breathing and his body wasn’t seizing anymore but he was not responsive to light or his name.

Within minutes our on-site managers were in our disheveled home with the paramedics. There were about 9 adults total crammed into our tiny living room, calmly asking us questions and checking Harvey’s vitals. Due to his age, they recommended he be checked out by a physician at Rady’s Children’s Hospital where he would get care from experienced experts. In hindsight part of me wondered if they didn’t recommend Grossmont Hospital due to the staff’s illegal recording of patients scandal but I was too focused on beating myself up for not knowing CPR or being in the medical field like most of my family.

The first time I ever rode in an ambulance was when Harvey decided to be born at home. Almost two years later I was sitting in the same ambulance worried if he would ever look me in the eyes or smile again. The paramedic was kind and personable, mentioning how him and his wife had a small child of their own. It was nice to have someone to relate to when I felt alone.

When we arrived at Rady’s, Harvey was just beginning to be himself again, intrigued by the car lights out the back window of the ambulance. In the hospital they weighed us and a nurse held Harvey so they could weigh me alone to calculate his weight. He started to cry at being held by a stranger and that’s when I had hope that he would wake from the fog.

Soon after Dustin arrived and found us. A couple of doctors and nurses came by to check his oxygen levels and discussed with us how common febrile seizures are. They reassured us that we did the right thing and offered us kindness. When Dustin was giving insurance information to the biller I thought back to a time when I overheard a mom at a park say she wished a febrile seizure on a woman’s child, just to scare the parent, “not enough to do any real damage.” After going through the experience myself, all I have to say is that I would never ever wish this upon anyone! Ever! Going through this has humbled me as I realize that our children have been extremely fortunate and blessed. They could have been born with any sort of chronic or life long illnesses, but they weren’t. I don’t know what Dustin and I did to deserve this blessing but what I do know is that God trusted us with these boys and I am working hard to honor God’s trust.

By the time Dustin was done relaying the information, Harvey was tugging on his toe monitor ready to go home. We monitored Harvey and while he didn’t smile as much, he was still his curious self. I was wary for another seizure to happen, but thankfully none have happened. We went out to dinner a few nights later and Harvey was back and smiling as the month turned over into May. Overwhelmed with the death anniversaries of my mom and my aunt who raised me made, April was one of the toughest months I’ve ever had to endure with this health scare slapping me on the way out the door.


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