Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A few of Ryan's {undesired} firsts

We've had quite an interesting weekend. We cancelled dinner plans with friends on Wednesday because Ryan and I both weren't feeling all that well. I was exhausted and had several days of bad headaches, and Ryan seemed to be teething and just not feeling well in general.

Thursday was a better day; I was able to get the house picked up from it falling apart the last few days and Ryan was doing "okay." We spent the evening snuggling on the couch; Jake was still at work and put in a 16 hour day.

That night, I noticed he was a little warmer than normal, but it didn't seem to be anything to worry about. He had a pretty restless night and was crying out in his sleep a lot, which woke him up fully and then he was hard for me to settle back down. He was biting his gums and grinding his teeth together, so I knew he was teething and just tried to keep him comfortable.

We were both very tired on Friday morning. We did what we sometimes do on mornings like that: snuggle on the love seat and watch the birds out the window. As he nuzzled his head into my shoulder, I felt his skin and he definitely felt like he was running at least a low-grade fever. I decided that we should probably make a trip to the drug store to get a thermometer because I couldn't find ours. But, it was before 7am and it wasn't open yet.

I sent this picture to Jake at 6:34am, telling him I didn't think we should have Jake's dad over for dinner that night because it was very obvious that Ryan wasn't feeling well.

17 minutes later, his body went completely limp. He fell back over my other arm, his eyes rolled back into his head, and he started convulsing. I knew right away that he was having a seizure. I used to work at a facility for developmentally disabled adults, many of whom had frequent seizures. We didn't typically have to call 911 for their seizures, but I didn't even think twice about calling because this was Ryan's first one and I didn't know if it was serious or just one of those possible childhood things.

Within 10 seconds of him starting to seize, I had my phone in my hand and dialed 911. I honestly don't remember what I said, except for my name, my address, and that "my 15 month old son is having a seizure." I felt unusually calm AND extremely freaked out at the same time. God totally gave me the grace to keep my head on straight and do whatever I could to help Ryan. As I was talking to the 911 dispatcher, with Ryan convulsing in my arms, I unlocked the front door and opened it, so they could get inside. All my memories of the seizure training we had at work came into my head: turn him on his side so he doesn't choke in case he vomits. Don't restrain his movements. Keep calm.

I held him on his side in my arms and kept talking to the dispatcher. I heard sirens in the distance. Then there was a knock on the door... I heard someone yell, "Police!" I said, "In here!" and he came into the living room. I didn't even look up at him as he knelt down next to me and Ryan. Ryan stopped convulsing at that point but was obviously still in the seizure. I thought the officer was going to look Ryan over, so I laid him down in front of me. The officer didn't move, but he said a few things... then said something a long the lines of, "I'm not really sure what to do." Then he said, "He's a beautiful baby." Well, duh. Part of me wanted to smack him for not knowing what to do but I tried to understand that they aren't always trained in every medical aspect.

I heard more sirens and saw an ambulance back up into our driveway. It felt so surreal. The cats freaked out and darted over the couch behind the officer because of the noise. An EMT and paramedic came into the house with their massive bags of equipment. After about 5 minutes asking questions and watching Ryan, who was still in a seizure (but not convulsing), the paramedic asked me how long ago it had started. I checked my phone, and it said I had called 911 eleven minutes ago. A few minutes later, she decided that we should give him a shot of something (I don't remember what) to help him out of the seizure. She said it would probably knock him out, too. She got the meds together and injected it into his arm. His eyes were still staring out the corner and he was moaning. He started mumbling and I could hear him saying, with a shaky, quiet voice... "Ma... ma... ma... ma..." I kept telling him over and over that I was right there and he was going to be okay. His seizure lasted probably just short of twenty minutes total. The paramedic decided it was time to take him in to the ER, so I asked if I could grab a few things. I hated leaving my baby on the floor without me but I flew to our room, changed out of my pajamas, got my shoes, his diaper bag and came back out to the living room. The paramedic was holding Ryan and talking to him.

I'm telling ya, by the grace of God I was able to keep my head on straight. I shut off lights, I grabbed my keys, phone and charger. I figured Ryan might want the blanket he sleeps with at night so I got that, and his stuffed monkey. The paramedic handed Ryan back to me because he started to wake up a little bit, and then we walked outside, locking the door behind me. They helped me climb up into the back of the ambulance with Ryan in my arms, and strapped me to the bed. Going around corners strapped to a bed in an ambulance is kind of a freaky thing. I felt like I was going to fall over with no way to support myself. I asked the paramedic to put the rails up on the bed and she did. Then she started doing some vitals on Ryan, checking his oxygen and pulse. I felt like the drive was taking forever. I knew this wasn't a life threatening situation, but I still felt like they should drive faster than they were. Ryan was basically asleep this entire time, but after a little while, he started to "talk" and make angry, babbling sounds.

I called Jake and told him what was going on and asked him to meet me at the hospital. He left work right away and was at the hospital before we even got there; he met us in the ER. We got wheeled in and it felt like it was straight out of a movie: a ton of people swarmed around us as the paramedic read off her information and what had happened. Ryan started to wake up at this point, when people were poking him and checking him out. The doctor looked him over and sent at least half of the people away, saying they wouldn't be needed.

They started to run a lot of tests. His temperature was taken (101*), blood was drawn, his nose and throat were swabbed. They attempted to do an IV a few times, but the nurses couldn't get it in right. He screamed the entire time and I felt awful, but I tried to reassure him that I was right there and it would be over soon. The next test they wanted to do was a urine sample, which involved getting a catheter. As soon as I heard that, I froze: I've heard so many terrible stories about doctors and nurses forcefully retracting an intact boy to cath him. Something I'm pretty passionate about is sharing with people about the negative affects of circumcision and that it's not even recommended by any medical or health organization in the US. The US is the only country that does circumcisions as routine as well. I honestly haven't studied it too extensively in the Bible (and I should), but I don't think it's something we are held to by law anymore. Buuuut that's a topic for another day... and one I might not even touch on, because it's a hot one and I don't really care for debates. ;) I don't expect people to agree with me, but, like how I didn't know the facts about it when I was pregnant with Ryan, I know a lot of other people don't know either, and I share about it when asked. I just want people to make educated decisions, that's all... and it's good to know both sides before you make a decision.

Anyways, my stellar husband immediately piped up, "We are  very concerned about the retraction of his foreskin and don't want that to be done." I pulled up an article on my phone that explained how cathing an intact baby can be done without retraction and asked the nurses to read it before they attempted. The nurses unfortunately didn't really seem interested in our opinion and were very firm in saying that the foreskin needed to be retracted, "just a little bit," so they could get a clean specimen. I said that I would not allow them to retract Ryan, even a little bit, and if they weren't comfortable doing the cath without retracting him, to find someone else that was. I tried to be firm but polite at the same time. We knew that normal and healthy separation will happen on it's own and often times not until puberty. Jake and I said that we weren't trying to be difficult to work with, but this was something that was of concern to us and we knew it could cause him harm if done.

The nurse finally agreed to just look and try without retracting him. As they wiped the area clean with iodine, Ryan started urinating. They grabbed the specimen cup and he peed right into it. "That means he doesn't need the catheter, right?" I said with huge smile on my face. "Yep," the nurse said. I was SO relieved. And so proud of my little guy :)

Another nurse came in, and although she wasn't the most friendly nurse we've ever had, she was able to get the IV inserted in one try, which I really appreciated. Ryan was obviously upset with all the poking and testing but was easily comforted by snuggling with me. I was thankful that he was willing to nurse so he would stay hydrated and help fight whatever was going on in his little body.

The rest of the day, honestly, was a blur. Lots of tests were done, and one by one, they came back negative. Ryan slept for an hour and a half on the bed next to me. 

In the early afternoon, we were moved to a smaller room because things obviously weren't critical. Ryan was awake now, and was very irritable. The doctor came back with more test results and said that he was a pretty healthy little guy and that they didn't see any obvious warning signs. He diagnosed Ryan's seizure as a febrile seizure... a seizure that is caused by a rapid rise in temperature. They can be pretty common in kids and don't typically do any damage. He gave us instructions and things to look out for, and said that he wanted to keep an eye on him for a little bit longer before he let us go. He asked if Ryan needed anything, and I said that he might be hungry... the doctor, who was a super nice guy, asked me what he would like... and I knew that if he found a banana for Ryan, they'd be best friends. He returned not long later with a banana, and Ryan devoured almost the whole thing.

Jake left to take his truck home and come back in the car, which had Ryan's car seat. My mom stopped by for a little bit, and offered to run to Target to get a few things for us.

Finally we were able to go home! Ryan slept the whole way home. He was very, very tired. Jake decided that he should go back to work to help the guys out. I was fine with it, but I was scared to be alone with Ryan and was just pretty overwhelmed from everything. That night was extremely rough... he was really unable to rest, screamed out in his sleep, was hard to settle, and just seemed to be in a lot of pain. I don't think he slept longer than 10-20 minutes at a time, and then was awake for some time before he slept for a little bit again.

Saturday was also a rough day. I texted Jake at 7:30am asking him to come home (even though I knew he probably couldn't)... but he wasn't able to come home until after lunch. Ryan seemed a little better when Jake got home... maybe because he hadn't seen his daddy for a while, other than yesterday at the hospital.

[Ryan, finally able to rest, in my lap]

We needed to get a few groceries, so we decided to make a quick run to Walmart and get some things. I was picking up shampoo when Jake answered my phone; it was the ER doctor. Apparently some of the blood tests that they had run had grown bacteria, and they wanted us to come back in ASAP for antibiotics.

I felt absolutely sick to my stomach. I did NOT want to go back! But we knew that bacteria in the blood can be very serious, so we left our cart with a few items in it where it was (yep, we were one of "those" people) and headed straight to the hospital. We were already in the same town as the hospital so it didn't take us long to get there. We called a few people on the way to ask for prayer for Ryan.

We got checked in to Urgent Care and they sent us through to the ER. A doctor came in to talk with us and explained that the blood might just be contaminated from inserting the IV but that it was possible it was an actual blood infection, so he wanted to give him some antibiotics. The doctor wasn't the most understanding about our parental choices (delaying vaccines, not going to every well-child checkup, etc) and also thought Ryan was "too small and needed to be checked out." I told him I wasn't really concerned because he was meeting developmental milestones and was otherwise healthy. He didn't say much more but suggested we take him in for a visit to get someone watching his weight.

(he's 17lbs 14oz now, or at least he was when he got weighed on Sunday. So he's lost a little bit of weight but he's also been sick and not eating... so I'm really not worried about it).

The doctor figured out the source of the virus was in Ryan's throat, and that was the cause of the fever and ultimately the seizure. Ryan had all sorts of painful sores in his throat and mouth. Official diagnosis of hand-foot-and-mouth disease, which is basically a really gross sounding but mild and common virus. It's not fun but it's not really harmful, either; you just have to get over it, like a cold.  Ryan got two shots of an antibiotic for the possible bacteria and was observed for a little bit... then we were let go home. Thankfully it was only a couple hour visit this time. We were asked to follow up with a doctor the next day because the blood results that they were re-testing should be in by then.

On Sunday we took Ryan to a pediatrician who was open from 10-1. She was great; I think I want to go see her from now on if we need to :) She hadn't heard any results yet, and after discussing a few options, thought it would be best to give him another shot of the antibiotic to be on the safe side. She wanted us to follow up (yet again) the next day because the results would probably be in by then.

We decided against taking him in on Monday because we hadn't heard about the results yet... and they said they would call if the results were positive (actual bacteria in the blood). We kind of figured that it was pointless to take him in if the results weren't positive because... well, it's pointless. Now it is Tuesday, and we have yet to hear anything. Which is a good thing: "no news is good news," right? Situations like this make me wish that doctors called you back regardless of the results... I know it would take a lot more time, but it sure would be nice to not be left wondering if they really are negative or if the results were just misplaced or they forgot to call. :)

[sleeping on the way home from the doctor]

Ryan is slowly but surely getting back to his normal, happy self. He is very tired but isn't resting well at night and is up often, crying from the pain. We spend many-a-hours in the rocking chair in his room, or snuggling in his bed. He is still teething on top of having the virus to fight, so he has his work cut out for him. His appetite is returning too, thankfully.

For the first few days after the seizure and the hospital stay, Ryan was very clingy (I don't say that in a negative way; nothing wrong with a snuggly little boy!) and got very scared every time we laid him down, tried to change his diaper, or if I walked out of the room. I think the whole experience was pretty traumatic for him... he clung to me with fistfuls of my clothes and did not want to be put down. A nurse said that "babies don't remember those things" so it was "probably him just not feeling well." Yah, I highly doubt he forgot all about it all and he's just freaking out when I try to change his diaper just because he can. Riiiiight. He seems to be a little more comfortable now but not without some hesitation.

We are so thankful to God for answering our prayers for our little boy's health! And we will continue to trust in Him that whatever he brings us to, He will carry us through. Friday was one of the scariest moments of my LIFE but looking back, I can see so many moments where God gave me extra grace to carry me through the moment and keep my eyes focused on Christ.

[enjoying a popsicle... sure feels good!]


Bekah said...

I am so glad he is ok! How terrifying, but I am so impressed that you kept your cool like that! God gives strength you dont know you have when you really need it, huh?

Cassie Deputie said...

Wow! That would be so so so scary! Praise God for His peace that surpasses all understanding huh??

Glad he's okay!