The one thing you don't hear about (or do hear about but don't truly understand) before you have kids is how freaking terrifying being a parent truly is. From the moment you get pregnant, the what-ifs set in, and they don't ever stop. The baby being born just makes it worse, and the older they get, the more you worry. First you worry about when to start baby food, and SIDS, and why your baby isn't talking yet, but the neighbor's baby is. Then it's that they'll fall off something, or whether or not they'll ever stop biting the other kids at the playground, and when will they just potty train already? Then it's schooling, then driving, and dating, and then the whole freaking world. It's easy to see how helicopter parents come about. It truly is scary, having a child.
All of this is compounded when something does go wrong. I've blogged before about Ryan. When he was born, he had a massive brain bleed. He had seizures, and a NICU stay, and a future full of uncertainty. Then, miraculously, everything was okay. When he was four years old, we got told by a neurologist that they never needed to see him again. He was fine. Then, about a year ago, he started having headaches. I blogged about that, too. With his medical history, I was worried. We were back to seeing a neurologist, and after an MRI, Ryan was diagnosed with migraines. I hated that, for him. I have them and didn't want him to have to go through it. He was put on medication to help prevent them, and for the most part, it has worked. He's only had a few headaches in the past few months.
Then, last Thursday, the bottom dropped out. We'd had a hectic week, and were enjoying the one day that we where we didn't have anything to do. We sat around in our pajamas all day, watching movies and relaxing. Just before I was about to start making dinner, Ryan came to me and said his head hurt. It was the same headaches he has been getting; they are always on the same side of his head. I gave him some ibuprofen, and walked out of the room. A few seconds later, I heard a crash. I figured he tripped, and went back into the kitchen to make sure he was okay.
I wasn't expecting what I found. Ryan on the floor, in the middle of a full grand mal seizure. I think it's hard to fully describe the terror of that moment, and the minutes following where he stopped breathing. Instincts kicked in as I rolled him on his side and used my hand under his head to keep it from banging on the floor, as I sat there at plead with God to make it stop. After an eternity, it finally did, and right before I was about to start CPR, he finally took a few ragged, irregular breaths. I didn't breathe again myself until he settled into a regular rhythm.
I was finally at a point where I was comfortable leaving his side long enough to call for an ambulance. He finally regained consciousness, and there was further fear when he couldn't walk or talk. My mind immediately went to the what-ifs and I worried that it would be permanent. That I had lost him. Finally the ambulance came, and we went to the hospital. By the time I saw him again, I felt relief wash over me because he was coherent, moving and talking, although he couldn't remember what had happened.
After staying overnight, he was released on medication. Since we've been home, I've found it hard to leave his side, even for a few minutes. It was so out of the blue, so sudden, that I can't help but worry every second of every day that it's going to happen again. I have flashbacks in my mind often of that moment I found him. I'm not sleeping much, because all I can think is that it will happen in the middle of the night, and he'll choke on vomit or something, and I wouldn't ever know. I've mentioned on facebook and twitter that I'm struggling to figure out our new "normal". One where we can all continue to function, and move on with our lives. It's hard. It's REALLY hard. It's one of those things that is every parent's worst nightmare, and it happened. That's. . . .a really hard thing to get over.
I've been partially holding my breath since. I don't know if I'll ever be able to fully relax ever again. I'm grateful that it wasn't worse, that he's still here. But I can't help but worry that it will happen again, and that after it happens, he won't be.