Yesterday morning I thought I loved my girls more than anything. I thought that I had no more love to give them. But yesterday when our two year old daughter started convulsing I suddenly discovered there was a massive amount of love in me that I wasn't even aware of... and quite a few regrets.
As our beautiful princess lay on the ground fitting with blood streaked foam coming out of her mouth all I could think was that this was it. This was that moment that every parent fears. I thought our happy little girl was dying.
I felt so helpless. I could not do anything other than put her in the recovery position. I couldn't make her better. I thought our princess was dying and there was no way to stop it.
Between my cries out for help, desperately hoping they would make the ambulance arrive faster, all I could think of were all the regrets. All the times I put something else that wasn't even important before her. All times times I had become frustrated with her for silly reasons. All these stupid things that I regretted immensely.
After what seemed like hours but was less than a minute she stopped shaking. Her beautiful porcelain skin had turned a horrible white blotchy colour, her mouth was blue and her poor wee heart was racing.
When the ambulance arrived they instantly calmed us down. How they managed to achieve that I'll never know. Maybe it was the thought that it had to be OK now they had arrived. I remember thinking that nothing bad could happen now as they knew how to save her. I went from desperately clutching on to my daughter hoping she would be OK to watching her open her eyes in response to her name with relief. It was the exact same feeling you get when you hear your baby cry for the first time when they are born. Relief, pure and simple.
Ella then started crying. Really crying. The paramedics told us that was a really good sign. Then they gave Ella a beautiful penguin soft toy. How they knew penguins were her favourite I'll never know. Penguin calmed her down quite quickly. By the time we arrived at hospital Ella had stopped crying. I was desperate for her to say something, anything, so I knew she was OK. I didn't want her amazing cheeky personality to have been affected in any way. And then it came... "cuddle daddy". I burst into tears of happiness. Our little girl was in there still. Before we knew it she was playing with toys in the ED room, asking for a drink and telling her pop that he was silly.
We were told she had most likely had a febrile convulsion and that we had done the right thing calling the ambulance. It was caused by a spike in her temperature due to a virus (that we didn't know she had) and these are really quite common in children under 5. 1 in 25 kids will have one and we were told they can run in families. I put my parents through this three times as a child, as did my younger brother. She might have many more, this might be a one off. No one can say. Very rarely do they cause long term problems so most likely our poppet is going to be just fine.
As for my husband and myself though, this was a very traumatising experience. One that we will never forget and one that has taught us a lot about what is really important in life. Everything can be taken away in a flash so you need to make the most of it when you can. Don't put things off until tomorrow. Try to make the most of every single moment you have with your kids. Most importantly tell them you love them. The thought of "Ella! Stop climbing on me!" possibly being the last thing she ever heard me say to her broke my heart. Toddlers are hard work and nobody is perfect, but this has really made us want to make that extra effort to be more patient at the end of a long, hard day.
Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero
Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC – 8 BC)
Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the next (day)[/future]
Here is some information from kidshealth.org.nz about febrile convulsions. I really hope none of you have to go through this, but hopefully this information will help if you do.