Maternity Concierge Appointments Galore!

The year may be winding down but Maternity Girl is just getting started! 2014 is going to be welcoming a lot of new babies and until then, I’ve been helping their Mamas get comfortable and stylish here in the ‘Burgh:

NYE app appt2 app

casappFrom casual clothes to formal wear and everything in between; with prices starting at just $19 – if you’re pregnant and want to have some shopping fun, give me a call! To stay current with Maternity Girl, be sure to “Like” it on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MaternityGirl … I post pictures frequently of new inventory and sales.

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Pregnancy/Maternity Books to Read and Avoid

One of the first few things everyone does when they find out they’re pregnant is get a pregnancy book or two.  Well, this chicky got a dozen (but I really like reading) so I’m here to tell you what was worth it and what was not (seriously. I mean, one book sent me on an emotional melt-down at 1 AM! Yes! Read on …)

In order from BEST to WORST, here’s my suggestion of books that me and the hubby have enjoyed reading either because it had such great information, it was a funny read and/or both:

1. Pregnancy, Childbirth And The Newborn – by Simkin …

bookNow everyone thinks the No. 1 go-to book is “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” but the consensus on that (and by consensus I mean opinion I have formed on behalf of pregnant women everywhere through reading reviews, talking to Mommy friends and experiencing first-hand): that book will do nothing but scare the living daylights out of you and make you petrified you’re having a child at all. The Pregnancy, Childbirth and Newborn book on the other-hand is chock full of information which you’ll find useful at every stage of pregnancy and beyond. Now, I’ll be honest, I stopped reading this book when I was 10 weeks along because I got to a chapter about “leaky breasts” that can occur during the third trimester and I did not want to imagine such an impending future. I do however feel that the book gave the most amount of information and it lasts beyond pregnancy, and it’s good to have on the shelf as a reference when needed. For all those reasons above, this is my number one book recommendation.

2. Pregnancy Fitness – Mind, Body, Spirit (By the Editors of Fitness Magazine) – if you’re used to the whole exercise routine and you can’t quite abandon it for the sake of being a baby-making oven, this is a great book to tell you what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and most importantly – doing it all in a balance that’s good for you and baby (that means it includes nutrition info too). Personally I would recommend all women err on the side of caution and rest as your body is going through all kinds of changes (consider it a gift to the baby), but when your mind goes stir crazy and you need some help about what to do, this book is great and has great visuals and an exercise plan too. [PS – I bought this early on in my first pregnancy when I was a little ambitious about my exercise routine and the truth is my only routine now is walking – for at least 30 minutes every day.]

3. Be Prepared – A Practical Handbook for New Dads, by Greenberg and Hayden

This book is hilarious and practical. There’s some good tips within that I flagged, some humorous and relatable stories and both the hubs and I enjoyed this book. When you’re ready for some lighter reading that makes you go, “Oh, I didn’t know that!” – pick these pages up.

4. The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy (Or Everything Your Doctor Won’t Tell You) – by Vicki Iovine

I picked this up on a friend’s recommendation and I was happy I did because it shared all kinds of info which I knew through experience (i.e., having a surge of “sexy dreams” ladies?) and all kinds of things I thought, but couldn’t quite figure out – for example – this book was the only place where I found out that pregnancy changes the texture of your hair. Did you know that? One day I spent ONE HOUR curling and hair-spraying my hair and as soon as I walked out of the house, it was flat! I thought, “This is odd.” It just so happened I was reading this book and came across the chapter that said, “Don’t do anything drastic with your hair during pregnancy and here’s why …”  This book wasn’t so much about baby or how to prepare for baby, so much as it’s like sitting down to a cup of coffee with some girlfriends and sharing pregnancy stories and tidbits … hence why I liked it and why I think you should read it too (probably around the 10-15 week marks).

** BIG NOTE: I liked this book so much that I purchased Iovine’s sequential piece: The Girlfriend’s Guide to the First Year of Motherhood (or something to that effect). Anyway, here’s what I have to say about that: DON’T BUY THE BOOK. Remember when I said above that I had a mental breakdown after some reading? Well this is the book that caused it. Some might say my hormones were acting crazy, but if you consider the fact that the general audience for this book IS a hormonal woman, then I think you can agree that it’s a little poor planning on Iovine’s part. Now you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about? Here goes: Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy kind of writes from the, “Pregnancy is such a wonderful and exciting time and here’s all the awesome, weird, funny, and not-so-funny things [but what to do to handle it]“-kind of perspective. The First Year of Motherhood Guide? It’s the exact opposite! The first chapter was all, “You survived passing out a baby and guess what, now your life as you know it will never be the same and even if you thought it will be one thing, it’s another, and it’s miserable so now we’ll tell you all about it.” I’m not kidding.  I woke my husband up at 1am when I was awake reading this, sobbing in tears, “I like who I am and oh.my.goodness. who am I going to be once this baby comes and what if we’re both never the same and we hate it and we’re miserable and it turns out that having a baby was the worst thing we could have done?!?!?”  Thank goodness I have the best hubby ever because he calmed me down and immediately threw away the book. My theory is that Iovine wrote this supplement while she was within the first three months of having her first child or she had some kind of depression post-baby because I found little excitement and joy within the pages and quite frankly it terrified me for what was to come. Pregnant ladies – save yourselves – buy the other books! (and thus spare your Partners too)

5. The New Dad’s Survival Guide: Man-to-Man Advice …

It’s army lingo wasn’t quite my cup of tea, but the hubs sat next to me while he read it and I’d hear him grunt or chuckle every now and then.

6. Mack Daddy: Mastering Fatherhood without Losing Your Style, Your Cool, or Your Mind – hilarious! The book was enjoyed by both me and the hubs. It has lots of little endearing stories and good practical advice.  I flagged a few pages for reference for one the little bean is here.

7. The Happiest Baby on the Block – an interesting read.  I think for some it will be “controversial” though I can’t quite figure out why. In my opinion, it’s kind of like a cook-book that talks about some basic “ingredients” for how to keep your newborn happy and/or how to survive the crying.  The main principles (with great “how-to” within) are: swaddling, position of the baby, rocking, and sssshhhhing really loud like a vacuum cleaner. I know this makes no sense, but if you read the book, I promise it will!

8. Father to Son: Life Lessons on Raising a Little Boy – only $8

If you know anyone who finds out that they’re going to have a little boy, I highly suggest you purchase this gem for them as a gift.  That’s how it came across our laps and it is the SWEETEST book ever! It really gets you excited about being a parent and it’s beautifully written. Practical too!

9. The Vaccine Book – by Sears … now, for some reason, this also seems to be a really “controversial” book out there amongst parent reading. The book is kind of the ins and outs of vaccines and there’s a lot of academic literature out there against this book because some hypothesize that it’s the “Anti-Vaccine” book.  Being in the midst of this read currently, I can tell you that that is NOT the case at all.  Above all, I recommend this book because it’s a highly interesting read. I had NO IDEA what was in vaccines or how they made them and I admit I didn’t quite know what diseases we’re vaccinating our kids against either. So I figured, at the very least, if I’m going to inject my little baby, I ought to know all about it and this book has definitely filled in the blanks.

Mocktails Worthy of Even the Non-Pregnant

Are you totally bumming that it’s the holidays and you can’t imbibe? Yeah. Me too. But don’t fret – in the year of 2013, there are plenty of ways to trick yourself.

Step 1 – drink all of it out of a wine glass. Orange juice? Eh. Orange Juice + wine glass = fancy! Sparkling seltzer and lime? Eh. Sparkling seltzer + lime + wine glass = awesome! I think you get my drift. [Don’t be surprised if you’re out and about and get the stink eye from a stranger; I drank ginger ale out of a wine glass at a wedding – while visibly pregnant – and I’m pretty sure the Mother of the Bride thought I was just taking advantage of the open bar]

Step 2 – add something a little festive. I think most people think of Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider when it comes time to do a virgin, fun drink. Remember this?:

cider

Well nowadays, with all kinds of substitutes on the market, I have a new preggie fave and it’s called “Blood Orange Soda.” It can be found at Trader Joe’s amongst a long list of other sparkling beverages or sodas if blood orange isn’t your style:

 

blood

When the flavored sodas and sparkling juices won’t cut it, here’s my all time favorite mocktail champagne recipe. I made this a few years ago when I wasn’t even pregnant for a party we had in which some guests were going to be driving. The best part? We ALL thought it tasted just like real champagne. So try it out!

Mock Champagne

4 cups of carbonated water

4 cups of ginger ale

3 cups of unsweetened white grape juice

Mix and voila! Don’t let it sit too long or the bubbly wears off and then it just tastes weird.

Happy Holidays!

Maternity Support Bands

Today’s post is going to focus on maternity support bands – for those who need a little third-party support carrying around the extra bump weight. For my first pregnancy, I really had no clue re this item because I didn’t need it; I had put on approximately 65 pounds then but I could walk around – albeit, ‘penguinish’ – but I could walk. This second time around, I have 8 more weeks to go (and I’ve only put on 40 pounds) but I can barely walk past 3p without holding onto my back in pain and after 6p, I need help going up and down stairs (I swear there’s no rhyme or reason with every pregnancy). Anyway …

The pain became so bad a few weeks ago that I finally admitted I needed help: maternity support band help.

I read a lot of Amazon reviews, compared prices across a variety of websites, checked out several brands, etc. After all that, I can break it down as follows:

1. Most of the brands are all the same. Some of them even have the same manufacturer (in China) but they just put their own names on it. Shhh – don’t tell the maternity world I told you so. Some of my vendors might not be pleased.

2. There’s basically three kinds of support bands: light, medium, beast. Below is a review of each category and a breakdown of the pros and cons.

3. You can expect to spend anywhere between $28-$40 (including shipping) and I do personally think it’s money well spent having shelled out $38 myself for a beast.

Without further ado, let’s break down your options:

The Light Support Band

light  The light support band is one layer and it’s usually just stretchy fabric. A lot of people like this for both fashion and function because with the one thin layer, you can wear it well under clothes. As you suspect, not everyone experiences pregnancy or maternity the same: for some people the back (and/or front, depending on belly growth) can bunch and become uncomfortable. If you’re pregnant in the summer, the specific fabric can also become itchy if you’re wearing it directly on skin. This band provides the lightest amount of support. It’s also used sometimes over jeans to make your clothes last a little longer, while also proving support. I don’t personally recommend this purchase to people unless you are hell-bent on avoiding leggings and jeggings during your first trimester because if you’re looking for support and your bump is small, I guarantee you this won’t last you all 9 months. Generally, by the time someone is seeking a maternity support band, this product is not enough. If you find the medium support to be too much though or dislike the negative impact that the medium band has on your maternity fashion, then this option is best for you.

Final note before brand recommendation: If you like this type of support and the way it looks under clothes, I would also suggest you consider maternity underwear support briefs. This item bunches less and can also be used post pregnancy for a little extra support until everything finds its way back to where it belongs.

If you’re looking for a light support band, I recommend the Baby Be Mine brand.

The Medium Support Band

medThe medium support band is a little more heavy duty than the light band in that it both supports the belly and tends to give better back support as well. If you’re in your last trimester and feel you need some support, then this band is probably good for you (I would say it’s good for a majority of women looking for extra support). If you’re in your second trimester, this might carry you through 2 trimesters but I would suggest going one level of support up if you’re only 5 or 6 months pregnant because if you go one level up, you get this type of band and then some (I elaborate more below).

People like this type of band because it provides more support than an extra elastic layer but some women don’t like it because it’s bulky compared to a light support band and if you like tighter clothes, it’s not flattering. If you’re pregnant in the winter – here’s my suggestion: just layer! (No one will notice) If you’re pregnant in the summer and concerned about how you’ll look, then I would suggest trying it on with some of your clothes before you purchase. If you wear a lot of dresses, tunics, or flowy tops, this category shouldn’t be too much of an issue. One other downside is that sometimes (depending on your maternity wardrobe) the velcro can catch (and ruin) your clothes.

Motherhood Maternity carries a decent medium support band. If you’re close to one of those and thinking you need this item, I would recommend going to  their store and just asking to try it on. It’s simple to put on and you will notice a difference immediately. If you like it, you might just want to buy it there. Amazon has some brands with cheaper pricing but you’ll save maybe $5 and my personal view is that if you can have comfort immediately, then it’s worth $5 (you’d probably spend $5 on a Starbucks coffee – why not spend the $5 on something that will help you for weeks to come?!).

Last but not least is the Strong Support Band, aka the beast. I have one of these myself.

monster Most women would probably look at this item and think it’s not for them for a variety of reasons but if you’re in need of some serious support, you can’t go wrong here. First let’s talk about reasons why some people wouldn’t consider this item: It looks ghastly and intimidating, it can cost more than others and it’s bulky under clothes. When I went to A Pea in the Pod to check out this item, the sales woman actually tried to deter me from buying it declaring, “You need a degree to figure out how to operate this.” Funny comment? Yes. But I was in serious pain and wanted to try this item on after reading reviews. Besides, it’s made of velcro – how bad can it be? Let me tell you, all kidding aside, it’s not. If you have someone show you how to put it on, once you do it three times, you can do it in your sleep. Let me tell you why I love this product personally outside of the physical relief it has given: it’s actually like 3 bands in one. YES. Here’s the thing – it’s technically composed of three parts: It has one part that looks like a medium band. Then the second part goes around your back and velcros to the front. The third part (which I haven’t even been using) is the strap that goes above the belly in case you need a little lift. SO, depending on what you’re looking for and what stage of pregnancy you’re in, I would tell you not to rule this item out. The biggest complaint is that it’s bulky under clothes and can occasionally catch if you don’t attach all the velcro but it is the most flexible item and if you’re concerned about spending money on this particular maternity product, than this might be best for you (especially if you’re in months 5 or 6) because it can very well carry you through the second and third trimester easily. If you’re not sure if you should go medium or heavy support, I highly recommend trying them both on – only you can know what’s best. Before I purchased this product, I felt I needed someone to physically hold my belly up for me (I was tired of walking around and holding it up myself). I basically feel that this is exactly what this items does – it keeps my hands free.

In terms of pricing, I said above it can cost more but the truth is, it’s comparable to the cost of all other bands. Especially here on Amazon ($28 and free shipping for prime). My only gripe with the Amazon product above is that there wasn’t a sizing chart (yes – and I’ve also already informed them they need to add that). Here’s my general rule: order one size bigger than your pre-pregnancy. If you wore a small? Order a medium. If you were a medium? Order a large. Etc. PS – the item above, while it will not come in a fancy box or packaging, is the EXACT same item you would buy at A Pea in the Pod (and I paid $38 for it there because I didn’t want to wait 2 more days). If you’re reading this summary/review and can save yourself $10 though – you’re welcome! Go to Starbucks and treat yourself to a decaf latte!

If you have any questions about maternity support bands or you need more information, please feel free to click on the little envelope to the right and email me.

Signing off,

Maternity Girl

A Great Mom Pep Talk

I am all about Moms supporting other Moms. It’s hard enough to be a parent! There are questions with no answers. There is guilt. There are worries; some of them  based on solid ground while others are just a figment of your imagination because you’re a Mom. SO – when one Mom writes something that I think is so inspiring for all others, I can’t help but share. Even if you’re not a Mom yet, read this piece and take note because I assure you its words will come in handy one day. Enjoy!

PS I love Vivian:

amom

The Great Mom Pep Talk – CLICK HERE

The Cute (or Ugly?) Holiday Sweater Party

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, correct? So tell me – do you think this maternity sweater is cute? Or just perfect for your ugly sweater party? (Either way, I think it’s eye-catching! If I wasn’t limiting my inventory this year, I’d definitely have it in stock) 

Image

Let’s Talk About: Febrile Seizures

I don’t like to put my incredibly personal life on the internet but if doing so can help just one person, especially a child or a parent, then I do. So here goes:

My son Benjamin (who recently turned 2) just experienced his fourth febrile seizure the day before Thanksgiving while we were visiting friends at their home in New Jersey. When we arrived, Ben was fine. Like a normal toddler, he was running around and screaming. Next, he was banging on a drum. Then, he seemed to run out of gas, asked us to hold him, and within the next 10 minutes he developed a fever that wouldn’t stop rising and before we could even prepare for it, he began to seize.

As you can imagine, it sucked. And it was scary. And as a parent, it highlights one of the worst aspects of parenting: a moment when you want to help your child but you are useless. Being useless is not a state of being that I am comfortable with so every time Ben has a seizure, I use it as an opportunity to raise awareness about what to do in case you are ever in the presence of someone who is seizing:

1. Lay the person flat on the floor and secure their being (ie, make sure nothing is near that can harm them or their head)

2. Call 911

3. Turn them to their side if they are foaming at the mouth, vomiting, or drooling

Most importantly do not put anything in their mouths and do not try to restrain them.

Got that? It’s the basics. If you should be in the midst of this emergency and you can fathom one more step, here goes: time the seizure.

The first time Ben had a seizure one of the first questions everyone (ie, doctors and EMS) asked was, “How long was the seizure?” You know what? I have no idea. It was probably about 3 minutes but it felt like an eternity. The first time Ben seized it was December 17, 2012 and I told myself that that was one of the worst days of my life. He was only 13 months old and up until then, very commonly, I thought, “This could never happen to me.”

The whole episode started with a fever on a Sunday night. My hubs and I gave Ben Tylenol and then we battled the fever on and off throughout the night. In the morning, around 10a, Ben awoke and he had a fever still. I promptly gave him more Tylenol, took him downstairs, and would normally have gotten us some breakfast. But we didn’t do that that morning. To be quite honest, I am convinced we were surrounded by angels who orchestrated the whole horrible experience because it was by the grace of God that I decided, “You know what? Breakfast can wait a little. Let’s just sit on the couch and watch some tv.” If you don’t know me, you have to know: I rarely watch tv. I just don’t. I like the quiet. I like the calm. But I sat down, turned on Ellen, tried to talk to Ben about what we were seeing and before I could even process what was going on around me, he started shaking uncontrollably in my arms while his eyes rolled to the back of his head.

To be honest, I don’t even know how I knew he was seizing. I had never seen a seizure before and knew of no one that had seizures like this. But I looked down and without blinking I thought, “Oh my God. He is seizing.”

Further proof in my mind that angels do exist, the land-line telephone was directly to my right on the couch (Ben was seated in my arm nook to the left). I did not make any phone calls that morning and never leave the phone off the hook (the battery can die!) but somehow the phone was there. I called 911 and as-calm-as-possible declared, “[My address] and PLEASE COME QUICK MY BABY IS SEIZING.” The rest is generally blank. I don’t really know how long Ben seized that morning: Like I mentioned above – 3 minutes? Maybe 4? They asked me, but all I could remember is that he shaked while I cried and then he passed out and I thought, “Ohmygod I am going to have to do CPR on my baby.” Thankfully the moment Ben went completely limp, I glanced out the window and saw 911 coming up the steps to my house.

The second time Ben seized, I can’t even tell you about it. It was February. And all I remember is, “OH NO, NOT AGAIN.” My husband was with us this time and I’m convinced I blacked out the whole experience because I thought, “If I can’t remember, then maybe it just didn’t happen.”

After the second time Ben seized though, we took him to a neurologist to rule out seizure disorders. Our pediatrician said what he had was probably febrile since there was a fever present every time, but of course, a little second opinion never hurt. Can I tell you about the neurology visit? Barely. All I can remember is the following: 1. Two different neurologists agreed Ben’s seizures were febrile, 2. One doctor told us that some people don’t call 911 until someone has been seizing for at least 10 minutes, 3. Seizures put respiratory distress on the person who is seizing and 4. The other doctor, even against the advice of the first, gave us a prescription for anti-seizure medicine. At this point in time, I started to think to myself that we (my hubs and I) better have a plan for future seizures but after all the differing advice and information, the only thing we could agree on was this: CALL 911.

The third time Ben seized it was May 25, 2013. Yes – only a few months earlier this year. I had prayed that with the season’s change Ben would have grown out of his febrile seizures, but I was wrong. I can’t remember the exact time of day but it was night time and Ben had a fever so I was on ridiculously high alert. I was a crazed Mother taking her child’s temperature nearly every 10 minutes praying, “Please go down. Please go down.” I refused to put Ben to bed having learned from research and talking to so many professionals that most children with febrile seizures seize in their cribs by themselves at night, with no one even knowing. I was rocking Ben in my arms until he fell asleep (even though I planned to hold him through the night!) but in one moment he was looking at me and in the next, his eyes went to the back of his head and the gentle shaking commenced. I called my husband, “Andrew! Come!” When he didn’t appear 2 seconds later, a little more loudly I shrieked, “Andrew!” The truth of the matter is that even to this day I have no idea if Ben can see us or not when he is seizing (though I am trying to find out!) but I am convinced that sometimes he can and sometimes he can’t and in that second moment of yelling, I believe I saw him get a little scared look in his eye. I will never forgive myself for that. The last thing I ever wanted to do was scare him when I think he was already scared. Andrew came and we lied Ben on the floor. I ran to call 911 and grab my phone for a timer. Before I made it out of his room, I ran into the wall like a chicken without a head. I just could not believe this was happening again. Andrew told me to calm down. I was too frantic during that episode. The fear that I had caused Ben momentarily replayed in my mind and over-rode my brain’s ability to perform the plan we had formed for seizures. But alas, I stumbled my way to a phone and only a few minutes later, 911 arrived. We went to the hospital as usual and I commenced my praying, “Dear God I’ll do anything – Please don’t let this happen again!”

At this point dear reader friends, I’m going to admit I have been foolishly in denial that we were done with seizures. Having almost made it through the end of the year without another episode, I secretly thought my wish had been granted. I thought, “He’s 2! We’re done!” I have been such a fool. In fact, I have been so indulgent that this time around, I learned an even greater lesson: Ben has febrile seizures and they can happen anywhere. That sounds stupid but the truth is I always envisioned that if he did have another seizure, it would be like the rest – in the comfort of our own home after an hour or two of battling a low-grade fever. And in the past, I believed each to be a fluke (still!). I’m trying to accept the terms of his little body (they are not flukes, Ben HAS febrile seizures) but the truth of the matter is it doesn’t get any easier with time.

This last time Ben seized, it has been the worst for me. Not only because it lasted approx 6 minutes, but because I am back to feeling useless and I know too much. I know kids can seize for upwards of 10 minutes. I know they have limited oxygen while they are seizing. I know my baby is undergoing something I would never want for him and I know there is nothing I can do. But as you can suspect that last aspect doesn’t work for me. So this time around, I’m sharing the full story not only in the hopes of raising awareness about what to do, but also in the hopes of potentially comforting another Mother who has just experienced her first febrile seizure (and who – unfortunately – may be on this same path of more to come).

This last time Ben seized, he was fine all day. There was no fever. No lethargy. We went to our friends’ house for dinner and he was running around and screaming like a normal 2 year old. Around 7p when we would normally start getting ready for bed, he came up to me and my husband and he wanted us to hold him. We presumed he was tired so we asked our friends if we could just put some Barney on so he could chill out. They agreed. We put the TV on and I propped Ben on the couch, but he didn’t want to be alone. He whined to sit on a lap so my husband went and sat with him. Ben started to look really tired; like he was going to fall asleep. My husband was brushing his hair and feeling his forehead. I mouthed across the room, “Fever?” My hubs shrugged, “Maybe?” We both sat for a few more minutes trying to enjoy the company of our friends. I continued to talk with my girlfriend and I kept glancing over at my boys. Ben was looking a little more weak. I asked my friend if they had any Tylenol or Ibuprofen in the house. For an instant I thought, “Can I throw my child in your tub?” but I never said it. Or did it. I just kept looking at Ben thinking, “No. No. No. Please. No.” My girlfriend went and got the Tylenol and Ibuprofen. She set it on the table in front of me. Then I looked back over and Ben’s eyes were rolling in the back of his head. My husband could tell from the shaking but I ran over and declared, “He’s seizing.” I grabbed my phone to start the timer and asked my friend, “Please call 911.” We laid Ben down on the ground and I started to take his pants off. He was so hot. I know my husband thought I was acting frantic again (and maybe I was) but the 911 operator also told us to take off his clothes. I also wanted to run and grab wet towels to put on his forehead. But I didn’t. I still hate the fact that I didn’t.

Ben’s body shaked while he laid flat and almost naked on the floor. I held his right hand. I rubbed it against my face and said, “Hi buddy. Mama and Dada are here. Don’t be afraid. You are going to be okay.” I kissed his hands. I stared in his eyes. A single tear appeared out of his right eye. Was it a bodily reaction? Was it him crying? I’ll never know. But it pains me. The 911 operator, on speaker phone, gave us a play by play of where our help was and asked us if he was still breathing. At this point he was but it was very shallow. And his lips were purple. And then gradually a circle of purple moved from his lips to his face. “Hi Ben. Hi” I said, all the while informing the woman on the phone, “Labored breathing! Labored breathing!” I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was scared. This seizure seemed to be going on forever and that was the most purple he had ever been. To be honest I couldn’t even tell if his chest was rising and falling and I didn’t like it. Little bubbles started to come out of his mouth so we turned him to his side. 911 asked again if he was still breathing. “Barely.” I watched his little stomach move in and out and thought, “Keep breathing! Keep breathing!” 911 told us the ambulance was somewhere supposedly close and asked if we would be okay hanging up. I told her no. I wasn’t ready to let go of life lines. Ben stopped shaking. He had brief moments of clarity where he was looking at us. Then he was not. He whined a little. He was limp. Then he closed his eyes. My husband and I still debate about whether or not he seized for a little more. After this grand episode, my hubs swept him up and held him. I could have sworn his eyes rolled back some more and he was getting ready to shake again but local EMT was now on the scene and they told us to lie him down, so we did. The rest is medical intervention.

To be honest, I don’t exactly know why I feel compelled to share this episode. For the shock factor? Because I want you to be shocked? Maybe. But more importantly, I guess, I want you to be prepared for the shock. I was not. And this time around I learned the hard way that this could happen anywhere. And it could happen to anyone. And I would like for everyone to know not only what a seizure looks and feels like, but please, oh please, know what to do.

For more information re febrile seizures, please see here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000980.htm

Also, after our neurologist appointment, I found myself hip deep in researching epilepsy. The one take-away I had from all the reading I did is that there are excellent children’s books out there on the subject matter. I still pray Ben will outgrow his seizures long before I need to purchase one, but if not, I do feel a small sense of comfort knowing that the resources are out there. I really wish I could know if he feels funny before the seizure happens. Or what he feels/experiences while he is seizing. But if I can never find out at the expense of him never seizing again, I’m more than okay with that too.

Finally – if you are the Mother of a child who seizes and you need support, please contact me. If you live in Pittsburgh, I’d be more than happy to meet you for coffee so we can cry together and shake our fists at the sky.

PS – this is Ben after his first seizure. Since my husband wasn’t with us, I took this picture for him. I couldn’t look at it for a long time without being sick and I considered deleting it many times. Who would need a reminder of this? It turns out, I think, me.

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