THE SEIZURE THAT WASN’T A SEIZURE
12/15/2008: The visit with Paige just a few days before seems like an eternity. When we give her back, I miss her so much and am preoccupied by her wide smile and deep dimples!
We have a handful of visits with Paige over the next few weeks. She is four months old when she spends her first night with us.
“Paige still gets jittery sometimes,” Theodora warns me. “It looks like a seizure but it isn’t; it’s residual withdrawal symptoms. Singing and carrying her over my shoulder helps her calm down.”
The stew of feelings bubbling in my stomach about her sleepover tip from excitement to anxiety. I thought her withdrawal days were over!
Later that afternoon I’m sitting on the couch with Paige in my lap. We coo at each other and I move her hands around as we play patty cake.”Put it in the oven for baby and -” Paige freezes. A spastic shiver runs through her torso and travels to her arms and legs. She becomes stiff and shakes violently.
I stare at her, stunned. Time stands still as I watch Paige’s body learn to live without the drug toxins. After a minute Paige relaxes, and then cries hysterically. “You’re okay now, it’s over,” my voice trembles. Stiff and robotic, I stand up and hope – pray – that I’m right.
Clutching her over my shoulder, I sing: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,” and walk up and down the hallway. “That’s the song my mommy sang to me when I was little.”
Paige’s cries become intermittent and she dozes off in my tense and tired arms. Laying her down in Eli’s old crib, I study her face. Her sleeping face is sweaty and mottled red, but peaceful. My heart swells with love and pain. “Damn you, Ruth!” I mutter as angry fingers prickle my back.
I’m drained and collapse on the couch. Five minutes later, Eli bursts through the door. Andrew follows, carrying a bag of groceries.
“Where’s Paige?!” Eli exclaims, breathless.
“Shhhh, she’s sleeping,” I whisper sternly. “Go play quietly in your room or color at the table.” I’m happy Eli wants to spend time with his new baby sister; however, waking her up is the last thing I want to do when her tiny body desperately needs rest.
Andrew notices my furrowed brow. “Is everything okay?”
“Paige had a withdrawal tremor. It was awful!” My voice shakes as I describe what happened.
“She’s okay now, though, right?” he asks absently, heading into the kitchen. His nonchalance pisses me off; it’s his standard reaction when he thinks I’m blowing things out of proportion.
“Yes,” I say, digging my nails into my palms. “Thank God.”