Saturday, September 02, 2017

Sickness, Seizures, and Stuff

I've been suffering from a terrible sinus infection-kind-of-thing for the past few weeks. It's been downright miserable. Poor Zoë caught it last week or so and has been suffering along with me. Between the two of us we've probably used up an entire rain forest's worth of tissues. 

Yesterday afternoon I left the kids playing with some Play-Doh while I went off to have a little nap. Rachel said she would be happy to keep an eye on the little ones who were happily making little Play-Doh creations. Naturally, however, moods quickly disintegrated and I woke up to screaming and yelling. Zoë had been rescued by Grandpa by the time I willed myself out of bed and she was sitting on the couch downstairs getting settled in for a show. 

She asked me to sit with her, so I did, and she and I ended up taking a little dinnertime nap together and when we woke up she was burning up—with a temperature of 103°F. I gave her some medicine and spent the rest of the evening cuddling her and was quite surprised when she agreed to go to bed (she usually doesn't on days that she naps). 

At around 11:00 she woke up and was fussing but it was still too early to give her another dose of ibuprofen, but her fever seemed to have broken a bit—it was down to 101°F—so I wasn't too worried about sending her back to bed without another dose. After all, fevers are good because they mean your immune system is working, right?

She helped me with my late-night snack (curse you, gestational diabetes) and then happily went back to sleep. Every night I eat a greek yogurt with either almonds or pumpkin seeds, and a bowl of popcorn. It was my go-to snack when I was pregnant with Zoë and it seemed to work to keep my fasting numbers in check so I've been using it this time around with similar results (my numbers have been a bit higher but I have a hunch that is stress-related because the past few months have been...crazy). I'm already totally sick of eating greek yogurt, nuts, and popcorn every evening (just like I'm sick to death of eggs for breakfast every morning) but I also already know that after this baby is born it will get to be around 11:00 at night and I'll think to myself, "What I wouldn't give for a Greek yogurt and a bowl of popcorn!"

Similar to how when I was nursing Zoë I craved graham crackers and grape juice—because that was the snack that I would have in the NICU lounge after every visit with Benjamin, I'm sure.

Anyway, she filled up on popcorn and then went back to bed, in my bed this time. I joined her soon after and we slept blissfully until I woke up a few hours later to her pathetic little whimperings. She was radiating heat so I took her temperature and it was again up to 103°F. 

I asked her if she'd like a bath, but she told me no and refused to get up. I'm not supposed to lift her so forcing her to take a bath (or do anything) can be difficult. Instead I got a cloth wet and spread it over her. Then I measured out another dose of ibuprofen and began coaxing her to drink it. She took a little sip and promptly began vomiting. 

She was lying down on the bed and I had been bending over her, supporting her head upright a little, so the first little bit sprayed my hair and shirt. The next little bit was less projectile and just oozed out, caking her hair with vomit and creating a nasty halo around her sweet little head. 

I gave up on medicating her and decided that—doctor's orders be darned—I was going to carry my sweet baby to the bathtub. She protested while I washed her hair and shook with chills despite the water being a pleasant lukewarm temperature. Then suddenly she stopped protesting and shivering and stared off into space.

"Zoë, are you alright?" I asked.

She didn't respond.

"Do you need to throw up again?" I asked.

Again she didn't respond.

"Zoë..." I sang, trying to get her attention. I put my hand on her back (thank goodness!) and then, just as suddenly as she'd stopped protesting and shivering mere seconds before, her eyes rolled back in her head and she began convulsing. It was terrifying. I've never actually witnessed a seizure before, though I've learned quite a bit about seizures in first aid courses and whatnot. Not much can prepare you for having your baby suddenly start seizing in the bathtub, though. 

I think I handled it about as well as I handled Rachel's first full-blown night terror (another thing that scared the pants off me as a parent), which is to say that I didn't handle it well at all.

"Stop it, Zoë," I ordered, as though she somehow had control of the situation, as if somehow I could gain control the situation. And then I started crying and blubbering, "Please, please stop!"

I lifted her out of the bathtub and left her convulsing on the bathmat while I grabbed a towel. Then I scooped her up, ran downstairs, and collapsed in a heap in the hallway outside of Reid and Karen's bedroom.

"Karen!" I wailed (like a mature, responsible adult). "Karen!"

Soon both Reid and Karen were up and at 'em. I had been on hold with a new-fangled skype-a-doctor thing that our insurance offers all through bath time because, as Andrew said, a $10 copay is better than a $75 ER copay. And that's true, but when I stuttered out everything about her fever and vomit and seizure and lethargy, the doctor agreed that she should probably be seen in person, just in case. 

So while Karen held my limp-as-a-rag-doll little girl, I scrambled to get a diaper bag together, and Reid managed to wake himself up enough to drive us to the ER where they honestly didn't do much. The greatest concerns I guess are (a) dehydration (and they determined she wasn't dehydrated) and (b) that it is something bacterial rather than viral (but they also determined she was suffering from a virus). was mostly a waste of a visit, but it was still nice to be in the ER while she was going through her postictal state (so the nurses could observe that it was indeed a febrile seizure (where she regained body movements and consciousness (?) all at once rather than on an isolated side of her body, which I guess is more common with an epileptic episode...or something...I dunno...I didn't even know there was a "postictal" (post-seizure) state before today).

She also had to give a urine sample. When the doctor mentioned "catheter," I asked if I could try to collect the sample myself, and mentioned that although she was currently in a diaper she's actually potty trained, so a catheter wouldn't be necessary. I didn't want to traumatize her more than she needed to be.

The doctor was rather skeptical and said I could try to get a sample and if (subtext: when) that failed we could try a catheter. 

I was fully expecting to use the little urinary hat-thing for her (I've used that before to catch samples from other children of mine) but instead the nurses brought me a little adhesive bag that they wanted me to stick on her and then put her diaper back on over the top. So I did that but she was awake so there was no way she was going to go pee in her diaper!

Grandpa asked the nurses if we could take her to the bathroom and they told us we could if we though it would help (and we did think it would so we went). I took off her diaper, sat her on the potty with her little urine bag in place and said, "Ready, set...gooooo potty!" 

And, lo, she filled her sample bag.

The nurses were amazed. 

"No way!" they said. "Way to go, Mom!"

And I was thinking, "I told you she was potty trained..."

Anyway, nothing was cultured out of her urine, so having ruled out pneumonia and all other bacterial things they could think of, they dosed her with Tylenol and sent us on our merry—utterly exhausted—way.

So it was good that we went in, but viruses are always kind of a bummer because you just have to let them run their course. Luckily, Zoë's fever was pretty close to breaking for good at this point.

She slept from when we got home (around 5:30 in the morning, I think (I'd woken up Andrew's parents around 2:30)) until just after 8:00 when all the excitement of kids getting ready for the day became too much to sleep through. She was a beastly beast when she woke up, however, and lustily screamed at anyone for any reason (which was actually heartening to see after how completely lethargic and unresponsive she had been much, much earlier in the morning).

I took her for a little walk after the kids left for school (a post-breakfast walk for me and a snack-on-dry-cereal walk for her) and she cheered up a bit, though not enough to remember how to smile. Andrew had woken up by this time and after reading through all the many texts that his dad and I had sent to him was wondering how she was doing. Here is the "smile" she managed to make when I asked her to smile for Daddy:

When we got home from our walk she just wanted to "dit in ed" (sit in bed), so we cuddled together until she fell asleep. 

I napped on and off throughout the day (I had a doctor's appointment to get to, myself, and Benjamin came home from preschool, and despite my love of napping there's only so much sleeping one can do in the middle of the day), but she slept straight through from 9:00 in the morning until 1:30 in the afternoon!

When she awoke, she stumbled out of my bedroom and chirped, "Mom! Me—'kay!" or, roughly translated, "Mom, I'm okay!"

And she was! 

Her fever had gone, she was cheerful and perky (and, I'll admit, still just a little touchy/grumpy) and she wanted to play all afternoon. She wasn't quite her healthy self, but it was a miraculous turn around from yesterday afternoon!

She was a little disappointed when everyone left for a camping trip but her (she was supposed to go but we all agreed it would be better for her to stay home with Mommy, who was not invited on the camping trip on account of being nearly 32 weeks pregnant). Fortunately, Andrew's flight had been delayed so everyone decided it would be much better if they left him at home to take care of me and Zoë. He was her consolation prize.

"Daddy see me," she kept telling herself, importantly. Then she'd point out all the people Daddy wouldn't be seeing because they'd all gone on a trip without her (suckers). 

So, Grandma and Grandpa are off on a camping (technically at a house-cabin thing) in Southern Utah with Rachel, Miriam, and Benjamin—bless them—while I'm staying at home to recuperate from my sinus infection and not have a baby, Zoë's at home to get over her illness, and Andrew's at home to rest after his trip and to take care of us sickos. 

Benjamin was rather pleased when Grandma explained to him that neither Mommy nor Daddy would be accompanying the kids on this trip. "Wait, wait, wait," he calculated slyly. "So, Mom's not coming and now Dad's not coming, too?! That means I can't even get in trouble! WAHOO!"

"Hold on, Benjamin," I said. "Grandma and Grandpa are very well versed in the use of time outs and standing in corners and stripping children of privileges and they are in charge while you're on this trip so they can certainly still get you into trouble."

We'll see how that goes. 

As Reid pointed out, "He listens to us about as well as he listens to you." What could go wrong? (I'll just not answer that question and we'll see how my budding anarchist behaves). 

Zoë was very happy when Daddy came home (as was I). I'm actually quite glad he's here because I've already been a teensy bit nervous about being left home alone all weekend (the original camping plan involved both Andrew and Zoë's attendance). I was having trouble coming up with a good plan should I happen to go into labour—and, yes, I do worry about going into labour at 32 weeks (quite legitimately, I might add). 

So many things about this trip were making me nervous about this baby coming early.

Rachel was born during the Grover 2007 camping trip (which I also wasn't invited to, but at 39 weeks that's completely understandable). Andrew's parents actually thought it was a joke when they listened to the voice message Andrew had left them, announcing her birth (he had to leave a message because cell coverage out in Grover is spotty so you can't always get ahold of the people you might want (or need) to get ahold of). But it wasn't a joke. She really was born.

Benjamin was born at 33 weeks. I was sick and had been thinking, "Well, at least I'm sick now so I can be nice and recovered by the time the baby is born." Ha! Nope! I got to go through labour while feeling sick, sick, sick (it was a respiratory thing). Also, my mom was out of town at a conference and was flying home from New York (I believe), worried sick the whole way about me having my baby early. She completely missed his birth, but visited me in the hospital as soon as she made it home (Benjamin had already been transported to a better-equipped hospital so she didn't get to visit him). 

I'm 31 (nearly 32) weeks. I'm sick (with a respiratory thing) and my mom is in a conference in New Zealand, and Andrew's family has disappeared into the cellular black-hole of rural southern Utah.

There are far too many storylines from my past weaving together right now!

So it really is best that Andrew is here to help me take care of Zoë and to be here just in case we have another anxious baby boy on our hands (really though, Alexander, you can stay nice and comfy in there for a handful (+) of weeks yet; there's nothing all that interesting on this side, either, I promise).

And since I'm rambling, I'll just record that Zoë has started to feel the baby kicking when she cuddles into my tummy (she's been doing a whole lot of cuddling the past couple of days) and now understands a little better (maybe) that there's a baby inside Mommy's tummy. At any rate, she gets really excited about his little kicks and says, "Baby kick me! Baby kick me!" which is rather adorable.

And that's about that. We had an adventurous middle of the night and are looking forward to a quiet, restful weekend.

Oh! That's not quite all though because I forgot to mention that we went for a walk by the train tracks after dinner (just Andrew and Zoë and I) and we saw a train! We have been walking by those train tracks nearly every day (sometimes more than once per day) since moving here, trying to see a train, all at Benjamin's request. We have never seen a train. And then we go for a walk without him and a big, long train comes rumbling by. Of course.

Eventually, I'm sure, he'll get to see his train. We actually had to stop for one on the way home from my doctor's appointment last week and it about made his life. But walking by a train? It's going to blow his mind. One day, Benjamin. One day.

And that is about that.


  1. Oh, man! I am so glad that everything is on the mend. (Called to mind for me that seizure thing that Josie had the one time after she fell out of her high chair in High River...) So scary!

  2. Well that is terrifying. So nice that Karen and Reid are there!

  3. So scary! So glad she is feeling better! I hope you feel better soon

  4. Michael had a febrile seizure when he was about Zoë's age, and it scared my sister to death. I think she was home alone so she called 911. Glad y'all are OK now!