Feb. 28, 2012 started out like any other morning. My 4- and 2-year-old came into my room to wake me up and I slowly started moving to get up to get my youngest, who was 14 months at the time. For the last five weeks my husband had been away for military duty and I was not working at the time. We had just returned home from a visit with family, so the day before had been exhausting with traveling hours in a car with three small boys by myself.
I realized that JR (youngest) was not making all the noise he normally makes and when I walked into his room, he was just laying in his bed. He looked at me, but didn’t get up or jump up and down like his normally bubbly self. I took him out of the crib, laid him down to change his diaper, and he still seemed very out of it, lethargic almost. I knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I decided to call the pediatrician to see what they thought and if we needed to come in.
As I was talking to the nurse, JR’s eyes rolled to the back of his head and he became unresponsive. The nurse told me to hang up and call 911. 911. I had NEVER called that number before. It was my worst nightmare. I wasn’t even sure what to say when the dispatcher picked up, but apparently I got it all out and hung up with her. I then called some friends of ours to tell them what was going on and that I needed them to come sit with the other two boys.
Within minutes an ambulance was at my house and paramedics were checking my baby while he was laid out on the couch. I had tried to get a hold of my husband, but he wasn’t answering. I knew he was in the field and it was going to be difficult to get him, but I would have to try again later. Paramedics loaded us up in the ambulance and we took off. They did the sternum check on him and he did not respond. I started picking his nose (which he HATED and always fought me on) and he didn’t respond. They put an IV in him and he didn’t respond. I was panicked and I know it showed. The paramedic then told the driver to turn the lights and sirens on and I lost it in the inside. Lights and sirens meant critical. Meant that we needed to get to the hospital ASAP. Meant my baby was in danger.
I know I called my parents and in-laws, but just not sure at what point. My dad was on his way and so was my mother in law. Both were six hours away, but I knew they were coming. When we got to the hospital the nurses thought that JR was having a seizure; the look on their faces scared me. They ran EVERY test that you can imagine. CT scans, ultra sound on every organ, they even did a spinal tap. I sat in that ER alone and scared. The only thing they could tell me was that his blood sugar was 50 when we got to the hospital, but other than that, no answers. I just sat there staring at him. I think people thought I was over exaggerating and I thought about sending videos of what he was doing, but I couldn’t let those videos and pictures be the last I took of him; I really thought I was going to lose him. I didn’t know what to do except get on my knees and pray so hard over his little body.
I sat in that hospital alone for five hours. Finally, JR started to respond. He was slowly waking up and talking. He wanted to be held and they gave him a popsicle. This is around the time my husband finally called and I broke down. He spoke to the doctor and literally asked her if JR was going to die. Doctor’s response was that he wasn’t out of the woods, but things were looking up. We made the decision that he would stay and I would continue to hold down the fort, but he must be able to access communication, which his superiors made sure he did.
My dad and mother-in-law finally made it to town six hours in and my dad went to my house to be with the older two children and my MIL came straight to the hospital. At this point JR was more awake. He was sore from the poking and prodding, but we had to go and get X-Rays done. X-Rays were not fun, but he was screaming and crying and I had never been so happy to hear those screams; it meant he was alert and breathing. After X-Rays we had to get an EEG done, which is a way to see if he had a seizure. Now, to get an EEG done on a 14-month-old is not fun. They literally took this glue/gel stuff and stuck probes all over his head, then I had to hold him still for an hour. My MIL stayed with us while this happened and I literally just hugged my baby and cried.
We were kept overnight for observation. My MIL slept in the room with us, while I climbed into the hospital crib to sleep with JR. We were woken up a lot during the night with them checking vitals and keeping a close eye on him. The next day doctors came in and decided to do another EEG because they believed that since he had a spinal tap done, the sedative messed up the results.
Let me tell you, getting that glue out of his hair was a nightmare, but I was willing to do whatever to try and figure out what happened. The second EEG was done and there was no sign of a seizure. Doctors were perplexed and we were, too.
Then they came in and told us that they thought his blood sugar was the culprit. It had been 50 when we finally got into the hospital and that was after fluids. So, we stayed another night to do a fast. The fast went well, but they still weren’t sold on that idea, so we were discharged that morning. I wasn’t too happy that we didn’t have answers, but was confident that he was well enough to go home.
We followed up with pediatrician and an endocrinologist. They both felt that JR was hypoglycemic, which meant that he has low blood sugar. So, now I had to check his sugar every morning to make sure that this didn’t happen again. We’ve had a few episodes since then, but not as bad because now we know what we are dealing with. It’s been about a year since there’s been an issue, but we are ready and more educated now on what we need to do to make sure we keep him healthy.
Even 5.5 years later, I still get emotional thinking about how close I was to losing my youngest son. To go back and see him laying there and everyone running around him, it makes my stomach turn. But, we are lucky and blessed. I had God keeping calm (as much as He could!), great paramedics, nurses and doctors. JR is a very energetic little boy now who can still make my heart stop when he starts doing handstands in my living room, but I wouldn’t change that at all!