fifteen seconds

I received a call from Coley the next morning and she asked me an odd question: "Have you ever noticed Juniper make repetitive, rhythmic, twitching movements?" I hadn't.  We shook it off as normal baby stuff. Nicole brought the girls home later that day. A few hours later, I settled back into my new role and began feeding Juniper. About halfway through her Dr. Brown's bottle, I paused to let her breathe. 

Juniper and I looked at one another and her eyes suddenly locked into place. Her fists clenched, her arms began writhing forward, rhythmically. All of her little limbs set into a tempo of around 60 beats per minute, for about 15 seconds. The movements were so predictable that I immediately felt my heart sink, yet again.

I felt that feeling you get when you are falling and you know you are going to hit the ground. You brace yourself for the fall and prepare yourself to minimize the damage in anyway you can. 

Coley sent a message to her friend, who is a hospital pediatrician. She told Coley not to worry too much. After we sent her a video of the next episode, she urged us to see our pediatrician. Off again, we went to their offices. 

Wouldn't you know we ended up in the damn nursery rhyme room again. The characters seemed to have empathy in their eyes. They knew what we had already been through. 

A doctor came into the room. We showed him the video and he looked puzzled. I could tell he wanted it to be something trivial. Maybe he saw the fear in our eyes or the eyes of the nursery rhyme characters. He watched the video several times and seemed to be hoping for a different outcome. 

Juniper was just 6 weeks old. Surely these weren't seizures. 

He watched it enough times to validate our concerns and recommended that we see a neurologist in the next 24 hours. And so began our next visit to the hospital. 

We checked into the ER at Egelston and were quickly ushered to a room. Back on the full sized gourney, back on the machines. 

Juniper thrashed about as the nurse searched for her veins with the IV, like she was searching for a small creek in a dense forest. 

I worked busily inside myself to keep the experience from getting in. I stared at her with the same blank, lifeless stare she wore during her seizures.  

A doctor entered the room and asked the same twenty questions we had already been asked twenty times. I may not be exaggerating. That would be like answering 400 questions. There was either poor communication and documentation at play, or they were trying to catch us in a lie. There was no other explanation. 

Maybe Juniper got tired of all of the questions because she decided to show him herself. Her body locked into place as if she was tightly restrained on the gourney and her clinched firsts began thrusting forward. Her eyes locked on the IV bags above her. 

Fifteen seconds was all it took to shake the young resident into action. 

Not everyone has the pleasure of witnessing a 6 week old, premature infant experience a  generalized myclonic seizure. He left the room in a hurry exclaiming that he would quickly locate a neurologist.