Friday, September 14, 2007
It's confirmed: when Ethan and Ruthie make babies, it's electrifying. Harper, and now Jack, had surplus electrical activity in their newborn brains. When Harper was five days old and Jack was two days old, they both started having seizures. They presented differently, but close enough that we recognized the second time around what we were dealing with. At two days old, Jack had a few minor seizures that concerned us, but they were not as intense as the ones Harper had had. Knowing that Harper's seizures went away so quickly and the diagnosis suggests they are usually gone by two weeks of age, we questioned what course to take. Our pediatrician told us to call back if we saw any more seizure activity that day. The seizures continued with increased intensity and frequency, so we arranged to be admitted to Kaweah Delta to begin medication.
When Harper began treatment with Phenobarbital, she never had a seizure again. She was prescribed the meds for six months, but self weaned after about two and a half months. At three months she got the clean bill of health from the neurologist at Children's Hospital and has never looked back (check out her blog to see how well she is doing: harpersequoia.blogspot.com. She is clearly no worse for the wear.)
When we entered the hospital, we expected the same response for Jack. While we waited for the first round of medication, Jack continued to have seizures. He ended up having more than Harper ever did (probably 20+ compared to her 12) and as a result was completely exhausted and had no appetite. He threw up the initial dose of meds that were given orally, so we had to have an IV set up to administer the Phenobarb and some fluids since he had not been eating well. Between the first dose and the second dose 12 hours later, Jack had three more very mild and short seizures. After the second dose, he has been seizure free!
Although this was some what of a deja vu, there were enough differences to keep us stressed, awake, concerned etc. Although Harper's seizures were more violent in the moment, she bounced back quickly and never lost appetite or personality. Jack's seizures on the other hand were a bit more mild, but would wipe him out for hours which in the end is actually more scary. We had good reason to believe that things would end well, and we were constantly reassured by the pediatricians that they would have no lasting effect, but as a parent, you can't help but worry when you see your child in such a state.
Jack is home and doing well. He takes his meds like a champ even though they taste awful, and we are confident that this is all behind us now and he will be off meds shortly, just like his big sister. In addition to this hospitalization Jack has had numerous doctor visits for check ups, circumcision, follow up blood work, etc. In his first eleven days of life, seven of them included hospitalization or doctors/lab visits. Given how well he has bounced back, Jack's parents seemed to be more affected/worn out by all of this than he is. Jack is eating well, gaining weight, playing with us and his sister and doing all the things a two week old does (including about 20 diapers a day).
We are thankful for all of the support and love we received from family and friends who have been outstanding during this time.