Would you know what to do if you woke to find your baby having a seizure in the night? Stephanie did not and so when she found her eight month old daughter convulsing in her cot she was terrified. Here Stephanie passes on her knowledge in the hope that no one may ever needs it but better to be safe than sorry.
(Note: This piece features Stephanie’s experience and is not intended as medical advice. We urge you to consult your doctor or medical authority for all issues regarding your child’s health.)
It was middle of the night, my husband was working a night shift and my daughter was sleeping in her cot placed next to my bed. She had been a bit poorly that day but it was just a cold and as she was still feeding really well I wasn’t concerned. At around 3 am I settled her back to sleep after a night feed, turned off the light and was just starting to drift off myself when I became aware of a strange noise coming from the cot.
Reaching my hand down into the cot I could tell something was wrong. I put the light on quickly and saw that my daughter was having some kind of fit. I had no idea what to do. I wondered if it was meningitis or epilepsy and tried to remember what I knew but nothing useful came to mind. The overwhelming feeling of total helplessness and panic was terrible, I even wondered if my baby girl was going to die. I held her in my arms as she continued to have convulsions and dialed 999.
I can’t speak more highly of the service I received from the NHS that night. The ambulance arrived in fifteen minutes and once they realised I was alone they woke my neighbour so she could watch my four year old son. The seizure ended finally and we were rushed to the hospital. After several checks we were told she’d had a febrile convulsion, a type of seizure that is triggered by a sharp rise in temperature, very common in young children and thankfully usually harmless.
A few weeks later my daughter suffered a second fit. Again it seemed to come from nowhere. She was fine one minute and fitting the next. Watching your child having a seizure is a very distressing experience but the fear factor was greatly reduced simply by knowing what to do.
The second time round I knew to turn her on her side, to strip her of extra clothing to keep her cool, to make sure she stayed safe while she was having convulsions and to dial 999. After her second seizure I became obsessed with prevention. I purchased an ear thermometer and checked her temperature regularly and I became very quick to administer Calpol if I felt she was getting to hot. I took her out of her grow bag and gave her blankets instead so I could add and remove layers as required and thankfully we haven’t had another seizure since.
I hope this is something that you never experience but if you do then knowing what to do will hopefully reduce the fear factor and the good news is that most children grow out of febrile convulsions. As for my daughter, since then we have managed to keep her out of the hospital, well except for the time she decided to take a nose dive out of her cot but that is another story!
Stephanie blogs at Storybramble where she posts free audio stories and poems for children with follow on creative activities. She is a trained actor, qualified drama teacher and very unqualified mother of her two children aged five and two. Find her on Twitter, Facebook and Google +.