The scariest day of my life

It has been 2 weeks, 6 days and has taken me this long to be able to write this, as I just couldn’t face it.

Little Esmie, aged 15 months had a sniffle for a couple of days but nothing that bothered her. This day she developed a temperature but we dosed up and carried on our day as normal. We went out for breakfast, pottered around some village shops and popped to see my Auntie. Just a normal day.

We got home in the afternoon and Esmie was tired. She laid on the carpet while I made her milk which was very unlike her. I took her up to her cot, laid her down and gave her milk to her. I usually leave Esmie to drink her milk and she falls asleep. That day Esmie didn’t take the bottle from me. I knew that was strange so I put the milk on the side.

As I looked at Esmie her eyes rolled back. I called “John, something’s wrong”, I scooped Esmie up and she was floppy and lifeless in my arms. John appeared at my side and could see Esmie was lifeless. He ran to dial 999.

I brought Esmie downstairs and she turned stiff. Completely solid. Esmie stopped breathing and was turning blue. I thought, this is it, I’m losing my baby. John was telling down the phone “my baby is dying, please help me!”.

Esmie was born with a heart murmur and in my mind her little heart was failing her. My mind was frozen with fear and I was longing for Esmie to breath. I was pacing the lounge patting her on the back, saying “come on Esmie, please breath” over and over. Thick clear fluid began to pour from Esmie’s mouth. Sense finally hit me and I lay her in the recovery position. A tiny little thing on the carpet, when all I wanted was to hold her in my arms.

The 999 operator was instructing John to tell me what to do. John was not calm. I was calm but petrified. It felt like everything was happening in slow motion. I was told to put my hand under her neck and tilt her head to one side, to allow the fluid to clear out.

After the longest 10 minutes of my life the paramedics came into the lounge and took over. 2 ambulances outside and the air ambulance was hovering above the house.

Esmie was still unconscious. They cut off her dress and vest and attached various machines to her helpless little body. Some time after Esmie came back round and began to cry. They passed Esmie to me and we grabbed a blanket and a couple of nappies and made our way out to an ambulance. I lay on the stretcher inside with Esmie laying on me and they hooked her up to the machines once again. Esmie was absolutely screaming.

After making sure Esmie was stable we began the journey to hospital, blue lights and sirens with another ambulance doing the same behind us in case we needed them on our way. I’ve never been in an ambulance before. Zooming by the places I pass every day and seeing people going about their normal days, while I held my poorly baby in my arms was very surreal. The paramedics were brilliant, they really tried to take my mind of things and were quite comical which afterwards I realised kept me sane. John had to go in the car, how he safely managed that journey I’ll never know.

We arrived at hospital and I carried Esmie to her bay in my arms. Hooked up to more machines, Esmie’s heart rate was 220, they later told me it should have been between 70 and 120.

John arrived pale, tearful and terrified, relieved his baby girl was crying and desperate for answers. A lovely nurse made Esmie a bottle of milk and we managed to settle her to sleep in my arms. I must say throughout all of this, the paramedics, nurses and doctors were lovely, absolutely amazing and did their very best for our precious girl.

So it turns out our baby girl had a febrile convulsion. They can’t tell us if it will happen again, but it is likely to happen if Esmie gets a temperature. We’d never heard of it before but apparently it’s quite common between the ages of 1 and 5. I’ve been given a fact sheet so I know what to do next time, but it would be much the same. Recovery position, 999 and sheer panic. So I live in fear. I am terrified of Esmie getting a bug in case she gets a temperature. I can’t bring myself to take her to a play area yet, or to meet cousins that may or may not have bugs.

It was the single most terrifying experience of my life. In that moment we both believed we were losing Esmie. I can’t look at that place on my lounge carpet without remembering and I’ve kept the little vest and dress the paramedics cut off her. Esmie has slept in our room ever since. Where we can see her and hear every breath and snuffle throughout the night. Neither of us have slept soundly since. I didn’t leave the house afterwards for days, both of us most certainly suffered some sort of post traumatic anxiety. Esmie has become my shadow, in the best way. She doesn’t leave my side and is so affectionate to all of us. Our special princess.

3 thoughts on “The scariest day of my life

  1. Oh, momma! I feel you! My 21-month-old son just had his first febrile seizure at 4:30 this morning and it was absolutely the worst moment of my life to date. The same thing happened as with your Esmie: His eyes rolled up, he started shaking, bubbles started to come out of his mouth, and his lips turned blue! Good thing my husband, a nurse, was with me or else I wouldn’t have known what to do. I was paralyzed with fear and thought I was losing him too. Oh my God. We are doing better now, under observation at the hospital. But here I am, googling experiences of other moms for… I don’t know, support? Or maybe I just wanted to make myself feel better, knowing other mothers would understand how I feel right now. Which is traumatized. And yes, like you, paranoid of fevers. Anyway, hope your baby is all better now! And I hope we both never have to go thru this ordeal again. Much love, from one momma to another.

    1. Hey momma! I am shocked to read you experienced this very thing today! Sending massive hugs and I hope you little boy is ok and not too distressed. Esmie hated being in hospital.
      Reading your message, it sounds exactly the same. It wasn’t even something I had heard of, so I had no idea what was happening. Did your husband know what it was at the time? I imagine so, being a nurse, but when it’s your own baby it must be something else.
      I turned to google too, I would love to raise awareness of febrile seizures so other mums are more prepared than we were, and hopefully less traumatised. We are now 3 weeks, 4 days past the seizure and today I have cancelled going to meet a friend at a play area. While Esmie is well I just don’t feel able to expose her to other kids germs. Which is crazy as I have 3 other children at school!
      Here for support momma, now get yourself a strong coffee and hold your baby tight. Much love.

      1. Our pedia had actually warned us of this, since I have a history of febrile seizures as a child. So I guess my husband and I both knew what was happening, but to see it happen to your own child—nothing can prepare you for that! I forgot about all that I’ve read and just literally froze. My husband scooped him up as soon as the seizure was over and we rushed to the hospital. We spent a night there and got discharged last Friday. Thankfully he’s doing okay now, back to normal. And yes, like you, I feel compelled to raise better awareness about febrile seizures! I live in Manila, Philippines, and a lot of young parents here are completely clueless about it as well. Anyway, thank you for being someone I can talk to about this! I saw your most recent post, and I’m sending you a virtual hug! This year has been off to a bad start for us as well (I thought it was just me who’s been having bad luck!), but I’m positive things will get better. Just hang in there! We’ll make it through! Love and prayers. <3

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