If you haven’t experienced the sheer terror of your child having a seizure, consider yourself lucky. It ranks high on my list of personal tortures and I was hoping to escape this with Nico. After everything we’ve gone through with Ben we were hoping for a free pass on number two. But alas, Matt and I heard a strange sound coming from Nico’s room last night and we found him having a seizure in his crib. Enter heart-stopping, soul crushing terror with simultaneous massive amounts of adrenaline pumping through the veins of two shockingly calm parents firmly barking orders at each other.
Take off his sleep sack. Lay him on the ground. He’s going to be okay. He’s going to be okay. Should we call 911? I think we should call 911, just to be safe. How long has this been going on? Fuck. He’s really hot. Take off his pants. What’s his temp? 103? Okay, I think he’s coming back. Okay, he’s back. He’s crying. Where the hell are the paramedics?
Let me say right out of the gate that Nico’s is okay. He is sick but a-okay.
And of course Nico is totally over it, doesn’t even remember, but his mama? I’m still trying to stay in the moment over here. I worry that because Ben has epilepsy, Nico might have it too. I worry that there will be more of these, every time he has a fever. (I remember every single seizure Ben has ever had and they were all traumatizing) I worry that he might have to go on medication one day. I worry that he will start falling like Ben did. I worry that we’re in for another saga, one that, like in Ben’s case, has no pretty little bow to tie up. (Ben still has seizure activity when he is sick and no proper diagnosis. It turns out he was misdiagnosed last year)
I know that none of this worrying helps. Just let it be simple, right? Just stay in the moment, with what is. This is me giving myself a pep talk. This is me knowing that all I can do is be present and respond to what actually unfolds.
I have been reading a book by Nicole Krauss (she wrote one of my favorite books, The History of Love) and there is a short story inside this novel about a shark that absorbs everybody’s bad dreams. He is hooked up with wires to all of the dreaming people and he absorbs their nightmares, the things that are too difficult to bear. The sleeping people sleep soundly.
I think that’s what we want to do as mothers, as parents. We want to hold our kids and somehow be like that shark– absorbing all of that electricity, all that’s too difficult to bear, neutralize it so that they don’t have to suffer. Most of the time I feel strong enough to do that. To hold all of it.
This is the journey of parenthood isn’t it? I can see you old-timers nodding your heads. You out there with the teenagers and college age kids. This is what it is to be a parent isn’t it? They get bigger and the problems change, but we are not that shark. We just do our best. Give me your words of wisdom people!