Waiting to Exhale

218 days of not yelling, 147 days of loving more to go!

Dear Deep Breath,

I am anxiously waiting for you to find me. I am ready to exhale. I am ready to let go and accept that it will be OKAY. I am ready to move on from being in a state of shock. So please, come find me.

The Orange Rhino


I haven’t taken a breath since two Thursdays ago at 3:00, 3:06 to be precise. That is the moment when I came into the house and it was eerily silent. I called to the babysitter with a nervous voice. I knew better than to think everything was alright. My house should NEVER be this quiet this time of day.

“Julia? Julia? Where are you? What’s wrong?”

“Something isn’t right. I just got #4 from his nap and something is wrong. He is hot and doesn’t look right.”

I ran to the stairs and grabbed him. I knew immediately something was wrong and the tears came as I rushed him to the changing table to take his temperature.

“Get me the phone. Pack the diaper bag!” I yelled as I took his temperature.

It was only 103 but he didn’t look right AT ALL.

“Hello? Hello?” I said to the pediatrician’s nurse. I don’t think she understood me. I was trying so hard to stay calm and talk clearly but I couldn’t. I just COULDN’T.

“My baby,” I cried. “My baby. Something is wrong. Something is wrong. His arms are limp. He’s shaking all over, his lips are tinted blue, he looks grey and his eyes are doing funky things. He looks like he is going to pass out.”

“Okay, do you think he is having a seizure?”

“I don’t know. I just don’t know. Something isn’t right. He gets 103 temps often but never responds like this.”

“Okay, hang up the phone and call 911.”

And I did. And it was hands down one of the scariest moments I have ever experienced. I have NEVER had to call 911 before and it was one of my worst nightmares coming true – the fear of having to rush one of my babies to the hospital. I threw things in a bag and went outside to the curb and waited for the ambulance as instructed by 911.

I held #4 in my arms as tight as ever and just kept saying “Mommy’s here. I love you. Don’t go to sleep. Don’t go to sleep. Stay awake baby. Stay awake.”

Sirens were heard much to all of our delight – mine for obvious reasons and my older sons because, well, how cool to see a police car and an ambulance pull up in front of their house. I jumped into the ambulance and they immediately started giving my baby oxygen.

“Should we wait for the paramedics?” one EMT asked the other.

“No just go. GO GO GO!”

I tried to find my boys to tell them I’d be back, that it will all be fine but I didn’t have a chance. The ambulance took off as fast as it came and we got to the ER just as fast. The EMT opened the door for me to get out with #4 but I couldn’t. I stood up and my legs shook from all the nerves. He held my hand and helped me down and I leaned on him all the way into the ER.

WOW. I was in the ER with my baby and brought by and ambulance because we suspected a seizure. Just minutes before I had been thinking about my son’s first day of Kindergarten and how all I wanted to do that afternoon was seize the moment and enjoy my boy’s company and here I was investigating another kind of seizing.

Somehow I made it into the ER room without passing out – and without #4 passing out. As the oxygen kicked in #4 start to become more alert, his eyes stopped wigging out and his head stopped bobbing backwards. Three of us, two nurses and I, worked together to hold his arm still to insert an IV to get blood and give him fluids and then to attach the heart monitor. It was a struggle. A struggle. He didn’t want to be touched, he just wanted to snuggle. He just wanted to curl up and sleep on me.

In all the ugliness of the afternoon, in all my lingering fears, I found such peace in holding my son at that moment.

I found such peace in his soft hands in mine. His head on my chest. His knees curled up pressing against my stomach. His breath on my neck. His eyes, now able to focus, looking at me as if to say,

“Mommy, make it better. Make take care of me. Mommy I need you.” Oh dear son, and how I NEED you.

The last exam complete, my sweet son still moaning with pain, and the Dr. turned to us and said,

“We think he might have had a febrile seizure. The blood work will let us know. I will be back in a few hours with the results. It’s going to be okay. Take a deep breath and just rest.”

Take a deep breath and just rest. RIGHT. As If I could. I couldn’t exhale for the life of me. I waited and waited to calm down but my heart was still racing, my palms still sweating¸ and tears were still occasionally dripping down my face. But #4 understood the Dr’s orders. He passed right out on me, cuddled in a receiving blanket identical to those from the maternity ward. And I had a wave of emotion pass over me identical to the day he was born and he fell asleep in my arms for the first time…

Pure, unadulterated love. And gratitude.

13 months and a bit later…still full of love and gratitude for having this healthy baby boy in my life.










Wondering what this post has to do with yelling? Read HERE

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18 thoughts on “Waiting to Exhale

    • Thank you – yes he is fine now. But every time he gets wobbly on his feet I still panic. Or when he falls over. I think I had to write this post to help me know that it will be okay! Thanks for reading.

  1. Oh, what an awful experience — every mother’s nightmare. I’m sitting here, probably half a world away from you in Hong Kong, with tears running down my face thinking about how terrified you must have been. I’ve sent a little prayer out for you and your son.

  2. Oh my goodness. What a terrifying, scary thing. I’m just thankful you came when you did, the paramedics arrived quickly, and the doctors were able to help. My prayers are with you and him. Give us an update when they know what happened, if you can. Blessings to all of you!

    • Thanks K and thanks for reading. Yes, I am feeling gratitude all around. In the grand scheme of things lots of people go through worse experiences and mine turned out pretty well and for that I am beyond grateful. An update tonight…

    • Thanks Frederikke. Yes, it was scary. Mostly because I never experienced anything like it and because I love my son so. Hope you are doing well as you had a hard day too a while back.

  3. TOR I’m SO sorry u n ur baby had to go thru this. I couldn’t help but cry n hold my baby a little tighter as I read. I know I would have been terrified too but u did it. You were there for him. You took care of ur lil man n mommy made it all better!!! Job well done momma!! Well done!! Hugs to u n sweet #4

    • Thank you so much. Yes, experiences like that remind me to hug my munchkins a little more and to be grateful for a little more too…

  4. Our daughter spiked a 106.7 fever when she was 6 months old and had a febrile seizure. She is now 31 and has never had a problem from it. I think the most disconcerting thing of all was listening to the Children’s Hospital doctors discussing what the temperature of a “tepid” bath should be. Hello! With all of our medical knowledge we don’t know how to reduce a fever? And we don’t know what the temperature of a “tepid” bath is? If doctors don’t know, how are parents supposed to know? The best advice they gave was to give baby aspirin and two hours later tylenol, then two hours later aspirin, etc… And to take off all her her clothes to let her body get rid of the heat. Hope this last bit of information helps someone, but don’t do the aspirin/tylenol regimen without checking with your own medical support system.

    • Thanks LD – yes AFTER the fact I was told about the tepid bath. In fact all weekend long he had 2-3 a day as he kept spiking 105 and tylenol wouldnt bring it down! It is scary and it is useful to share this info with moms because we don’t know everything even though it would be nice to before an emergency 🙂 Thanks for reading!

    • Thanks Rachel – for reading and the support! Trashy magazines made me smile. Perhaps the People Sexiest man alive? I love Channing. LOL. We made it through the night so onwards and upwards today. Have a great day!

  5. I have had two children with febrile seizures, both around the age of one year. I was with them when they experienced their seizures and it was the most frightening experience of my life. The doctors informed us that they would be at risk for future seizures until they would turn 5 and that all siblings would also be at risk.
    Thank G-d we haven’t had any since. But any time anyone gets a fever, we get a little panicky. Wishing you calm, patience and good health to you and your family.

  6. wow, thank you for sharing this experience. this happened to my patent and I with the difference being my daughter went on to have 4 seizures in one day. I know that fear i know that feeling and I still get it when I see her space out or i think she’s unwell.
    Big hugs to you orange rhino

  7. Oh I know how scary that is! When my oldest was 12 months old he had a febrile seizure. We were in the middle of moving to another state. Our house was packed up and were staying with a friend. We were already at the ER when he started seizing though (phew). Hang in there…hold that little boy tight!

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