Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Tough One

I had this long, gushing, 2 month home update that I was working on, but recent events totally overshadowed it.

Today, our darling Geri had what appears to have been a seizure.

Nick was wearing her in the carrier on his back, picking up some stuff around the house. He was in the living room and I was in the kitchen when he suddenly came in and said "What is she doing? Is she throwing up?"

When he walked in, Geri was leaning back in the carrier with her face toward the ceiling, but as he moved she flopped forward against his back. She was making these terrible gagging sounds and she started to spit large amounts of drool onto his back. I said "I don't know what she's doing! Unstrap her!" So he started to take her off while I lifted her out of the carrier into my arms. She was totally limp. The gagging sounds had stopped, and I couldn't tell if she was breathing at all. She was completely white and her eyes were just staring, glazed over. I think this is the part where I started crying, because for a second I was sure she was dead.

Nick took her from me and laid her on the floor and started checking her for breathing and a pulse. I remember him saying that he couldn't tell if she was breathing and he didn't know if she had a heartbeat and that was when I started tearing through the house, looking for one of our cellphones. I was frantic and yelling at Nick "Where's your phone?!" He said it was on the bookshelf and I ran back to our room to get it and I remember thinking "God, please don't take my baby."

I found the phone and came back to the kitchen, dialing 9-1-1, and Nick was saying that she seemed to be breathing. He rolled her on her left side and she started to spit out more mucous and then threw up a bit. She was still completely dazed, but puking means a heartbeat and Nick could now feel her breathing.

The paramedics arrived quickly, and when they stuck her for the IV she responded a bit. I was giving them information about her medical condition and her history (what little we have) while Nick stayed with her on the floor. TJ and Mera played in his room, largely oblivious thank God.

When it came time to transport her, the medics were great about keeping us together, and I was able to hold her hands and stroke her face in the ambulance the whole way. She was rousing a bit, enough to be scared, but still very much out of it.

At the hospital she was completely lethargic. Everyone kept telling me that it is normal for a kid to be totally out of it and zonked for hours after this kind of thing, and she certainly was zonked! After some vitals and settling in, the nurses took blood and urine (neither of which was fun for her) and we waited a while before the CT scan. Eventually the ER doc told us that everything looked good and that he thought she could come home, but the on-call pediatrician would see us first. So we waited some more, then talked with the very nice pediatrician who called the pediatric neurologist, who then cleared us to be sent home with the very strict instructions to call her regular pediatrician on Monday (too late, already called him while we were waiting) and get with the neurologist next week.

This was, bar none, the scariest damned day of my life. I also realized that if anyone ever says in my presence that you can't love an adopted child "like your own", I will probably punch them in the jaw. Today I thought I was about to lose my daughter, and my pain and fear were no less for how she came to be mine. When she came through it, my joy was in no way diminished by my lack of matching genetic material. I thank God that she is okay, that she is still with us.

The general consensus among the docs is that this was a seizure. At one point I asked "If it wasn't a seizure, what would it be?" and was told "Exactly. We can't say for sure based on the few tests we've done, but from what you've described there's pretty much nothing else it can be." That's fine. Seizures, I can handle (or so I think now.) She will survive a seizure, so long as she doesn't fall off a circus trapeze when one hits. We have now been instructed to stay with her when she is bathing, but we do that already anyway. And I think the whole thing about making sure she wears a bike helmet is moot at this point in time. A visit to the neurologist was on the to-do list, but lower down because she didn't have a known condition. It has now been officially bumped up.

I'm hoping to hear from Dr. Kim tomorrow, because the office has extra hours on Sunday for urgent care. If not, then I'll be calling again on Monday morning for sure.

All told, this was a tough day. I told Nick that it felt like being hit in the face with a shovel. When I got home I just wanted to gather all three kids into my arms and hug them forever. I'm eternally grateful to our amazing neighbors, who were right there to help and took over with the other kids so that we could focus on Geri. I'm grateful to Jeff, the paramedic, who listened to my concerns and stood up for me and Geri to be kept together when another medic started talking about having me ride up front. I'm grateful for the emergency room staff who took good care of our little girl. I'm so grateful that Nick was wearing her when this happened, so that we knew about it right away and she was safe from harm. But most of all, I'm grateful that my little girl is still here and we get to keep loving on her.


  1. Oh my! Hope and pray that Geri is doing ok and that you find out what happened.

  2. So scary! Glad Geri is okay. I am always on the look-out for seizures with Rex as well because a large percentage of kids with his genetic condition have them start by age 5. Thus far he is seizure-free for which I am grateful.

    1. viviane - here's hoping Rex never has one, but if he does just remember that he will look AWFUL afterwards so be prepared. Now that I know, I think the next one will be easier... but seeing that the first time scared me so badly. other moms have said the same thing - just after a seizure your child will look like they are dead. Don't freak, just call for help and start checking vitals and turn him on his left side. Clear his mouth with your finger if he vomits and keep him safe until it's all said and done.