Annaleigh was having a seizure.
***I had noticed something seemed strange about her while I changed her diaper, after her nap. The clock read 1:50 PM that Thursday afternoon. As I placed diaper cream on her rash, her whole body flinched, four times, followed by lots of tears. It reminded me of what newborns do when you lay them down on a bed. But I thought the cream had stung her, and so, the flinching was in response to pain.
As we headed downstairs, her body became tense for a split second. I brushed it off, believing she was tightening her hold on my arm as we descended.
My goal was to leave the house soon, seeing as I had an appointment. I put her hat and jacket on her and stood her in front of me. As I placed my jacket on my shoulders, she flinched again, fell backwards and hit her head on the leg of the dining room table. Strange, but not wanting to overreact, I felt her fall was the cause of still being sleepy. She had only just woken up about 5 minutes ago.
I consoled her sad heart and hurt head, while doing a "once-over" to check for bruising, swelling, etc... It appeared to be a routine "fall". She just learned to walk last week and is still not sure-footed, causing her to fall many times in a day.
Placing her in the car seat, I noticed she seemed a bit odd. She was "zoning" out. Yet again, I took it as sleepiness. She tends to zone out when tired. Trying to push away any thoughts that would cause me to overreact, I got in the driver's seat and headed to the bank.
While in line for the drive-through ATM, I decided to take a quick glance in the rear view mirror to check on her. A warm and sick feeling came over my entire body. I knew something was wrong. Skipping my turn at the ATM, I immediately drove to parking spot, got out of the car, flung open her door, and tried desperately to get her to respond.
Even as I tapped her face and yelled her name.
I noticed the sun was in her eyes. Yet she did not turn away or blink. Her eyes remained fixed and her body was stiff. I ripped off her hat, noticing she appeared hot. I had no idea what was wrong. I tried to tell myself that she was OK. And then I began to feel warm and sick again, and there was something heavy and deep inside the pit of my stomach: an instinct. The instinct every mother is given at the birth of their child.
She wasn't OK. And I had to get to the hospital. Now.
I stumbled to the driver's seat of the car, not remembering that I had put my keys in my coat pocket. Frantically, I tried to find them. When I did, I wasted no time, hit the gas, and flew towards the hospital.
Thankfully, living in Scranton, I have access to 2 major hospitals in a 5-mile radius. I choose to head toward Moses Taylor hospital, because I am most familiar with that route. I had driven it a billion times. I took my labor and delivery classes there AND had given birth to Annaleigh there.
While driving, I hit every red light. And seemed to hit every bout of construction within the city. All the time, I continue to check the rear-view mirror to see my daughter. She was getting worse. Panic set in.
As I sit stuck, numerous times, I observed such "normalcy". People getting coffee. Walking back from lunch. Delivery trucks dropping off that long-awaited package. Students walking to class at the U of S. All normal. While my daughter is dying. And I'm the only one in this world that knows.
I attempted to call Mike over and over and over. With little success. Little did I know, he was in a meeting. His cell phone ring was turned off. So I relented to be satisfied with texting him: "911 call me asap".
As I turn left onto the road that I believe will lead me to the hospital, my mind suddenly goes blank and I forget where I am going. Everything looks unfamiliar. And I don't know which way to go. More panic.
I think to myself the more time I waste, the closer she gets to death.
I begin to yell out to God, DEAR LORD, MAKE THE HOSPITAL POP OUT OF THE GROUND! I NEED TO FIND THE HOSPITAL!
I take a right turn, and without the danger of exaggeration and with all the truth I hold in my heart, sitting in front of me was the hospital. In my mind, it had just literally popped out of the ground! It sat before me like a beautiful beacon of hope. And I thought in that moment, maybe she's going to be OK?
As I am about to turn into the ER, Mike calls back. I yell into the phone, Our baby is dying! I'm at the hospital! He questions, Moses Talor? And I reply, YES! and hung up.
Trying to unbuckle a baby, who you think is dying before your very eyes, is a difficult thing to do when your hands are shaking uncontrollably. The adrenaline that was rushing through my body was so strong, I felt like I was drunk or high on drugs. Like I wasn't really there.
Knowing that her life depended on a strong and coherent Mama, I said to myself out loud, Michelle, stop and slow down! It'll go faster if you take the time to THINK about what you're doing!
I finally get her out of her seat, dropping my phone and her hat in my wake, and rush into the ER.
It's quiet. Silent. Barely anyone around.
I burst in, screaming at the top of my lungs, SOMEBODY HELP ME! SOMETHING'S WRONG WITH MY BABY! HELP ME! PLEASE HELP!!!
A nurse comes running out of the triage, grabs me and my baby, and quickly guides me directly into the ER. They take my ID, Annaleigh's insurance card, and it's at that moment they separate me from my sweet little girl. They begin to work on her as I'm lead to a waiting room by another nurse (a.k.a. the kindest nurse ever). She proceeded to calm me down (seeing that I was an emotional, nervous, hyperventilating wreck) and call my husband with the details of Annaleigh (and my) current state.
His reply, I know my baby is in good hands and taken care of. It's my wife that will need to be taken care of now.
Never before had I been more terrified.
Never before had I been more scared.
Never before had I felt so helpless.
Thankfully, Annaleigh wasn't dying. But coming from someone who had never witnessed a seizure before...how was I to know any different?
She had suffered from a febrile seizure. Caused by a viral infection in her system.
The hospital ran a CT scan and they wanted to keep her overnight for observation and a neurological test to be done in the morning. They were concerned about the hitting of her head and the seizure lasting up to 10 minutes (longer than they were comfortable with).
All tests came back normal! Praise the Lord!
Her temperature was able to be controlled with Motrin (although it keep going up and down all through the night and into the next day).
And we were finally released to go home around 10:30 PM on Friday.
I was so thankful to be able to bring home a healthy baby that night.
I was so thankful that she's still here.
I was so thankful to see her smile once again.
So. very. thankful.
Far in the future
Lieth a fear,
Like a long, low mist of grey,
Gath'ring to fall in a dreary rain,
Thus doth thy heart within thee complain;
And even now thou art afraid, for round thy dwelling
The flying winds are ever telling
Of the fear that lieth grey,
Like a gloom of brooding mist upon the way.
But the Lord is always kind,
Be not blind,
Be not blind
To the shining of His face,
To the comforts of His grace.
Hath He ever failed thee yet?
Never, never: wherefor fret?...
~excerpt taken from "Toward Jerusalem"