Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Maggie: A quick trip to Launceston meant a visit to the monkey park on a cold winters morning. It was nice to watch the girls wonder and laugh at the antics of the monkeys. To play in the last of the autumn leaves. To watch the ducks in the pond. Especially after the events of the past few days.
Elisabeth: Her cutest phrase of the week is when she has a runny nose she tells us "I need a tissue for my bless-you nose". Both photos were taken by Rob.
On Friday the girls were feverish and drowsy all day. I rang Rob at work and asked him if he could come home a bit early as they needed extra cuddles. The girls were sitting on Rob's lap on the window seat nibbling on some chips. I looked at Maggie and realised her eyes were all glazed and she seemed to be staring into space. I blurted out "there's something wrong with Maggie, she's having a fit", then I thought she was choking "she's choking, quick".
The next moments are a horrible blur, and even now days later, if I close my eyes I see it unfolding again and the sheer horror and desperation returns. Rob picked her up and started to pat her on the back to try and get whatever was choking her out. By now she was lifeless, her eyes closed, her face white except for her blue lips. She wasn't breathing. In that moment I thought "oh my god she's dying, we've lost her". Rob was telling her "Maggie, come back, please." Rob snapped me back into action by telling me to ring 000. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that after asking for an ambulance and giving our address, I screamed "My baby is dying, she's not breathing". The lady, Flick was lovely, and calmly asked what was going on, I said she's choking. She said to tell Rob to try and clear her airway, and that's when we realised she had her jaws clamped shut, and that my first gut reaction was right, she was having some sort of seizure. We were instructed to put her down, which goes against every instinct when you see your lifeless child, not breathing and blue. But after a few minutes, some of the longest in my whole life, Rob said "she's breathing, her colour is returning."
Flick stayed on the line as the ambulance was still 20 minutes away. Maggie was now moaning and looking completely dazed, but she would try and look at us when we said her name. When the paramedics arrived she was a little more lively when she worked out they were here to see her! They took her temperature and it was 39.2degC. I headed into hospital in the ambulance with Maggie, while Rob followed us with Lizzie. After a snooze in the ambulance Maggie became quite alert in emergency, as she suspiciously watched the nurses and doctors who asked questions and checked her out. She was quite happy with the hyrdrolyte icy pole though! Luckily her temperature had dropped quite a bit, and they could find no other suspicious symptoms or infections, so whatever virus the girls had picked up and caused the fever spike that brought on the febrile convulsion.
The Paediatrician talked us through what had happened, how likely it was to happen again, what to do if she did have another convulsion and told us that as scary as it was for us, Maggie had suffered no long term damage. Unlike what I initially thought, that I should have been giving them paracetamol all day (which I hadn't) he reassured us that might not have reduced the fever or even prevented the convulsion. He gave us the option of staying for a few more hours to observe Maggie, but he was more than happy to discharge us. We decided we were ok to take the girls home to rest. I stayed up all night next to Maggie, just stroking her face and watching her breathe. The next day both girls were much improved, you wouldn't have known we had experienced such a scare.
In those moments when we thought Maggie was dying, I remember thinking, why? How could she survive all that happened to her with Twin-to-Twin-Transfusion Syndrome, her premature birth and her numerous scares during her NICU stay and die now? How could we lose her now? Life has no meaning without her. For me. For Rob. For Elisabeth. I was taken back to those times when they were so tiny in the NICU, when we were forced to consider their life, their suffering, and yes, the possibility of their death. But back then when we watched Maggie set off every alarm on her monitor, as she stopped breathing, her heart beat flat lined and her oxygen levels dropped. We could step back, heart in our mouth as we watched the Doctors and nurses run to her crib and begin working on her. I felt so helpless on Friday night, so isolated from professional help.
So as you can see, an outing to the park to watch monkeys was just what we needed.
Joining in with Jodi's 52 portrait project at Practising Simplicity.