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Monday, December 12, 2011

One of the Worst Days of My Life

It poured here last Wednesday morning, so much so that the husband - who planned to work from home that day - offered to drive the Tongginator to school so that I wouldn't have to take Squirt out in the wet weather.  Since Squirt continued to slumber peacefully upstairs at 8:40 in the morning, I gratefully waved them both off and sat down to read email and enjoy a cup of coffee.

That lasted all of 10 minutes.

I can't believe how much happened during the next half hour.

As I sifted through my messages, I heard Squirt let out a small cry.  Since we're still heavily into the whole attachment parenting thing, I immediately headed upstairs to greet her.  When I opened her bedroom door, she continued to lay there rather than pop up, holding onto the rails of her crib, as is her usual habit.  I scooped her up, thinking the rain makes more than just momma lazy, and cuddled her against my chest.  She felt a tad sweaty to me, and - remembering her horrific bout of diarrhea the night before - I headed to the bathroom to find some medicine.  That's when she let out two cries and then arched her back so that she hung upside down in my arms.

And she made this funny gurgling sound.

Only it so wasn't funny.

Slightly panicked now, I ran to place her on the contoured changing pad in her room.  We keep it on the floor rather than up high, so I knelt down beside her.  She wasn't breathing properly, and the gurgling sound continued.  I remembered the previous night's diarrhea and thought, 'is she vomiting? is she choking on her own vomit?,' so I started to reach into her mouth to clear her airway.  Instead I found a clenched jaw and immediately retracted my hand.

'Oh, my God,' I thought, 'she's having a seizure.'

Then her breathing stopped.  And the convulsions started.  I immediately rolled her to her side, pulled the changing pad further out to the center of the room, and ran for the phone.  I also grabbed the number for her pediatrician's office.  Like a complete idiot, I first started dialing the doctor's office before slapping myself silly, hanging up and dialing 9-1-1.

Oh, that poor 9-1-1 operator.

A hysterical Tonggu Momma ain't a pretty sight.

He calmed me down, performing his job as he was trained to do.  Those 90 seconds on the phone with him felt like the longest seconds of my life.  When Squirt finally stopped seizing and began breathing again, the operator told me the ambulance was close, and that I should gather together supplies for her diaper bag.  I continued to exist in a state of shock, and clearly remember thinking, 'why do I need her diaper bag?' as I hung up the phone.  I tried to call the husband, but he didn't answer.  While Squirt slept, I grabbed the diaper bag, and threw my wallet in on top.  I called my momma, absolutely hysterical, then hung up the phone when I heard a car door slam.

I ran downstairs to unlock the door.

A single police officer arrived first, followed by one paramedic team, then a second paramedic team and finally a second police car with two officers in it.  (It must have been a slow day, is all I can say.)  The paramedics began taking Squirt's vital signs and asking me a trillion questions.  I could barely remember my own name.  And then I heard thundering coming up the stairs and turned to see the Husband, drained of all color, wondering what the heck had happened in the 20 minutes he was gone.

He had forgotten his cell phone at home, you see.

(I'm just grateful he didn't have a heart attack.)

As the paramedics continued to question me and check out a wide-eyed Squirt - who was no longer asleep, but still completely out of it - my husband waded through the sea of uniforms to reach us.  I couldn't stop shaking.  One of the paramedics reached down to pick up Squirt, who didn't bat an eye to find herself held in the arms of a stranger, amid a sea of nine other strangers.  They tossed around words like postictal and tonic-clonic, things I'd never before heard.

And then they told me we were gonna take a ride in the ambulance.

I grabbed the diaper bag.  My husband threw a sweatshirt and a pair of shoes at me.  I hadn't had a shower.  I wasn't wearing a bra.  My hair stuck straight up all around my head.  I was still wearing my pajamas.  I didn't think about it then, but later I chuckled at my state of dishabille.  Because I may not be a fashion plate, y'all, but even *I* have standards.

Only they fly out the window when an ambulance is involved.

The paramedics carried Squirt to the ambulance after draping her head with a raincoat.  I ran after them, and the Husband followed in our car.  Except he only followed for about four blocks before realizing that the gas tank sat at empty.  He stopped at the station to fill up before safely running three red lights and "going a little bit fast" so that he could meet us at the hospital.

Meanwhile, I didn't know what to do or where to be while the paramedics continued to monitor Squirt.  For some strange reason, no one teaches ambulance etiquette.  The guy who looked to be in charge first moved me to a seat, then the bench beside Squirt as she continued to grow in awareness.  I sang a bunch of songs to her so that she wouldn't grow too upset.  Unfortunately for the paramedics, I can't sing worth a darn, so they suffered through a dozen horribly off-key renditions of The Itsy-Bitsy Spider and a couple of Mandarin songs that usually make Squirt smile.

I'm not one to sing solos in public, y'all, but - again - who cares when an ambulance is involved.

We arrived at the hospital less than an hour after I placed the 9-1-1 call, but it felt like a day had passed.  I have never felt so scared before, despite the reassurances of the paramedics.  "We like crying babies," they said, over and over again.  And I get that now.  Because it's when they aren't crying that you really need to be frightened.  Squirt definitely let loose those last five minutes in their truck.  Before that, she kinda looked as if she was awake, but not really awake.  She just gazed at us quietly, with a drunken expression on her face.  The paramedics labeled that postictal, and told me it's typical after a seizure.

When the ambulance doors flung wide, and we climbed down from the truck, I entered a whole new world.  One I probably wasn't quite ready for.

to be continued...

51 comments:

Kerrie (and Jason) said...

Oh tonggu momma... :hugs:

Kim K. said...

Thinking of you and squirt.

Annie said...

Oh TM, I am so sorry!! I have not commented in a while but I do read and think of you all often. You could have described my Caleb's first seizure to a tee. The only difference is that my hubby was unreachable and did not get my message until we had already taken that ambulance ride and were at the hospital - oh and I had to call a neighbor to come stay with my older 2 boys! LOL! Anyway, Caleb ended up having 4 febrile seizures within one month. He was about a year old. We had him tested and tested and the docs assured me that these were indeed febrile seizures and that he may never have another and sure enough, he has not. I am praying that is what your precious one had, TM.

prechrswife said...

I know that had to be terrifying! Praying that you get some answers soon...

Sherri said...

Oh TM. I'm so sorry. Hugs to you.

Journeywoman said...

Good Gd. Hoping that things are much much better now.

Sharie said...

Every time I read of a parent experiencing a child having a seizure I think about how horrifying it was when my dog had a seizure (before I was a parent) and then I multiple that by 1000. I am so sorry you had to go through that. It is so not easy...the confusion, helplessness, FEAR...I remember it all - and that was my "fur baby" you're all in my prayers.

heather said...

I cannot even imagine...how completely scary!!!! You are killing me with the TBC though!!!!!

3cmum said...

Big hugs and I so hope things are so much better now.

You had me laughing while I was crying (at the idea of going to the hospital in PJs etc).

a Tonggu Momma said...

Sorry, Heather. Didn't mean to keep anyone on pins and needles - the post was just getting too long. Of major importance is that she is home now. So no worries about THAT.

Myrnie said...

So scary! I've been told baby seizures are normal, and not dangerous... Which both strikes me as terrifying and zero comfort for their poor parents. Hugs!

Buckeroomama said...

Oh my heart goes out to you, TM. This is not something I would wish on any parent. It is so terrifying. We'd suffered through that twice ---once each with J and with Z, both when they were at 21 months (go figure!). Thankfully, that hasn't happened again. Hope your little one is fine now.

supergrrl7 said...

Oh My. This is freaking me out vicariously.

My name is Andy. said...

WOW.... what a day! I hope she's okay.

kitchu said...

oh god, oh god, oh god. there are no words. none none none. it is your worst nightmare come true. i wish i could reach out and pull you in close and hug you until it becomes almost UNcomfortable.

blessings to Squirt and to you and your husband and big sister. your hearts must be mushy and your brains fried from this ordeal.

LucisMomma said...

Praying for Squirt and all of you as this all gets figured out.

I've witnessed grand mal seizures before in an aquaintance...it's scary beyond belief. I cannot imagine how much scarier if it were my own child.

The Byrd's Nest said...

Oh my sweet friend, I just have no words. I am praying for Squirt.....praying for you....I'm on my knees....praying.

Dawn said...

So scary... I can't even imagine.

Praying for you and waiting to hear the rest of the story!!!

Love and blessings upon you all.

Kate said...

Oh my word. Makes my blood run cold just thinking about it. I am so sorry. I hope she is okay..

Rebekah said...

I am so sorry. No doubt that was the worse day of your life. I can't imagine how scary it is to witness your child having a seizure.
Prayers that squirt is fine and prayers for peace for you and your husband.

Debby said...

It is so scary when your child has a seizure. I am hoping it was from being ill the day before. Sometimes they will seizure at the onset of an illness.
My adopted son had seizure for many years.......not any more though. His first was a febrile one due to a high temp. He had all kinds.
Alot of gran mal seizure like your daughter had. The post ectil stage is scary in itself because they seem so out of it.
I've know kids that have one and never have another.
The first time my son had a gran mal was on Christmas eve. in the middle of the night.....during an ice storm. Our older boys went outside in their boxers to guide the ambulance to our door. Our next door neighbor came over as she is a nurse. Several paramedics came into the house some in Santa hats. How confusing was that. We were all in jammies. My husband followed the sqad as well and he had an empty tank of gas as well.
I never got used to the gran mals. I am so glad that you went to her before it all started. I am sure you are worn out totally. Please let us know if she is okay. Prayers for Squirt for sure and for her mommy and daddy.
(((((HUGS)))))

Janet said...

I am sitting here, crying. I don't know what else to say, other than, despite our busy lives, you have grown very dear to me, and I am praying for your family as you figure out what on earth is happening to your little one. Praying, praying, praying, TM.

bringingvincenthome said...

In tears for you - I can't imagine the fear of watching your child like that. Praying for Squirt and that this won't happen again.

Gail said...

What you witnessed and she went through is horrifying and pretty much one of the worst things to ever go through. If I was there I'd give you a huge hug, you are all in my prayers TM. This is a mother's worst nightmare. I pray your baby girl is okay and you have some answers about the cause of her seizure.

I'm so sorry.

xo

Wanda said...

Oh my goodness TM.....how totally horrifying. Please keep us up to date when you can and know many, many people are praying right now for you all.

{{{hugs}}}

La-La-Liene said...

Oh TM!! I took an ambulance ride with one of my kiddos and it is a terrifying experience. He didn't have a seizure but he rolled himself off the couch at 2 months old while I was sitting there with him and bent over to get the package of wet wipes. And I couldn't get a hold of DH because he was out of town and on an airplane.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the story and glad she's home now.

Jennifer said...

Ohmyword. Praying for your sweet girl. Hugs!

Amy said...

Oh my goodness! I saw your comment that she is home now - I'm so thankful for that. Praying for you all!

Sarah said...

OMG... my heart was racing while reading this post and I raced to the comments to make sure Squirt was ok. So happy to read that she is home and praying that you have answers to what happened to your precious baby girl.

Big HUGS Tonggumomma... I am sure you are still sleeping with one eye open and with one hand on your littlest princess.

The Drinkwaters said...

Oh my, sitting here just hugging my youngest daughter right now. We too, had a similar experience of being air lifted to the nearest Children's Hospital last January. I can so identify with your emotions and feeling slightly out of it - like it was happening in slow motion at times. So glad to hear the "squirt" is home. Remember to take some time for yourself to decompress, I still have some nightmares about the whole experience.

Jen said...

Long-time reader, long-time lurker here.:) I had a similar experience a few weeks ago with my then-almost-one-year-old, only he was at daycare and I was at work. We just went through the MRI and EEG - which both turned up normal - and have a neurology appointment to follow up in a few weeks. I've never ridden in an ambulance before either and had no idea what to do, and the paramedics were also treated to some terrible singing on my part. Waiting for the TBC. But I certainly can empathize with your experience, unfortunately.

One Happy Mama said...

So very scary, praying for you all. -Nancy

chandra said...

Praying for you all.

Sunday said...

So sorry that you had to go through that...especially in your PJ...I clearly remember riding in the ambulance being horrified that I hadn't brushed my teeth yet...funny how the mind works...or doesn't in a crisis. I am glad you guys are home and am hoping that it was a one time thing. (Mine had one big one, a couple with the next few fevers and nothing else since...fingers crossed)

Cedar said...

Oh, I'm so sorry! I'm glad she's home...I hope they know how to help her.

polwygle said...

What a heart wrenching thing to have happened. Many hugs to you and your family.

semiferalmama said...

Well, you know how I feel about pajamas in public.... The only exception previously was escaped mental patients. I am now adding mothers-in-ambulances to the list.
I am so very sorry you had this experience. Hoping you get quick answers from the medical community and find out this was much more minor than it felt like at the time.

Lavender Luz said...

I'm here reading and sending you both my prayers.

Catherine said...

I am so so sorry!! As the momma to a baby who spikes fevers quickly this is always a fear.

Praying for you and squirt!

Suzy said...

I am praying for little Squirt & the rest of her family. God bless you.

Beyond Normal Limits said...

Oh, this makes my heart hurt for you! My heart was pounding just reading it! I tried to post overly flowery "you touch my heart" comments last night on two posts, but I'm clearly way behind in reading. I will be watching for Part 2, so I can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Tari said...

Praying for you!

Mahmee said...

What a rough experience. I'm glad she's home now. We spent the night in the ER with PSparkly recently ourselves. Nothing beats that kind of sheer terror. Take care.
M.

lmgnyc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lmgnyc said...

TM, my thoughts are with you and your whole family as you deal with this new health crisis. I am especially thinking of the Togginator. I know she must be so concerned about her sister.
Sending you gentle hugs

Bleuberry said...

Oh my gosh... what a scary thing to experience. Hoping everyone is OK!!

Chris said...

I can't even imagine how scared y'all were.

Praying for squirt. Glad to know that she is home. :)

(((hugs)))

Stefanie said...

Goodness gracious. I can NOT imagine.
Praying for y'all, TM.

Patty O. said...

Oh no! I'm sending prayers your way.

thegypsymama said...

Just catching up and so so grateful you're all doing ok now.

planetnomad said...

Oh my! I see there are sequels posted, but I just wanted to send you a virtual hug and prayers and say that this will teach me to get 2+ weeks behind on blog reading...