As much as it pains people to see babies having seizures back to back, one often wonders what on earth could possibly cause seizures in babies after birth? But this is what three-month-old baby Kimberly has to go through up to 30 times per day!
When baby Kimberly’s first seizure lasted 30 minutes only two days after she was born in Indonesia, this made her parents worry. Tests were carried out and she even went through an MRI. Even though her seizures were controlled with medication, they refused to go away completely.
Seizures in Babies After Birth: Hemimegalencephaly
Doctors diagnose Kimberly with a rare neurological condition called Hemimegalencephaly, which can cause seizures in babies after birth.
Unable to stop the seizures and with no experts in Indonesia to handle her condition, Kimberly was brought to Singapore’s KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital to seek treatment. An MRI scan conducted at KK Hospital later confirmed that she has Hemimegalencephaly.
Hemimegalencephaly is a rare neurological condition in which one side of the brain is abnormally larger than the other. The enlarged brain tissue was responsible for the frequent seizures and needed to be removed via surgery.
This would leave Kimberly with no control over the other side of her body and only her left brain to manage all bodily functions.
Taking into consideration how young Kimberly is and her rare condition, doctors are unsure what the outcome will be. But her parents vow to give her a fighting chance of survival because Kimberly is a miracle baby, one they had waited 10 years for. They do not want to lose her.
To date, Kimberly’s medical fees are more than SGD70,000, excluding surgery fees. Estimated bills might go up to SGD150,000 due to possible multiple surgeries, according to GiveAsia.
What Are Seizures?
Seizures in babies after birth can recur many times in a day.
Seizures occur when cells in the brain experience abnormal electrical activity, temporarily disrupting the brain’s normal electrical signals. In simple terms, the brain short circuits, says Adam Hartman, M.D., assistant professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
According to National Neuroscience Institute, the occurrence of seizures could be due to:
While one can clearly tell when an adult has seizures, this is not the case for babies who show far more subtle signs. In fact, it is very easy to miss it, and parents who have never seen seizures in babies after birth, might not even notice anything wrong.
As hard as it is to watch, here’s a video showing how subtle seizures in babies after birth can be:
Video of Back-to-Back Seizures in Babies After Birth
Seizures in Babies After Birth: Different Types and Signs to Look Out For
- Febrile seizures – Baby’s eyes are rolled with limbs that either stiffen or twitch and jerk. These seizures, are usually triggered by very high fevers.
- Focal seizures – Signs include sweating, vomiting, turning pale, and spasms or rigidity in one muscle group, for example, the fingers, arms, or legs. Your baby might also show signs of gagging, lip smacking, screaming, crying, and loss of consciousness.
- Absence (petit mal) seizures – Parents may notice baby staring into space or daydreaming. Your baby might also blink rapidly or look like he or she is chewing something. The seizures typically last less than 30 seconds and recur several times a day.
- Atonic (drop attack) seizures – Your baby will suddenly go limp and unresponsive due to the sudden loss of muscle tone. For example, your baby’s head might drop suddenly, while crawling on the floor.
- Tonic seizures – Stiffening of various parts or the entire body.
- Myoclonic seizures – Cluster seizures that happen several days in a row which involve jerky movements in the baby’s neck, shoulders, or upper arms.
What Should Parents Do If They See Seizures in Babies After Birth?
As crazy as this sounds, take a video of your baby having a seizure because showing the video to your paediatrician later will help him make better judgements.
It is also crucial that parents note these important details below:
- How long did the seizure last?
- Where did the seizure start? Was it focal (on the arms, legs, eyes) or was it spread out on different parts of the body?
- What was the seizure like? (Was there staring, jerking, or stiffening?)
- What was the last thing your baby was doing before the seizure? (For example, waking up, or eating.)
Also do not forget to take safety precautions when the baby is undergoing a seizure.
- Roll your baby to the side to prevent them choking on their vomit.
- Do not try to stop the seizures, and don’t put anything in their mouth.
- If your baby seizes for more than fiveminutes, turns blue or has trouble breathing, call for help immediately
- Also seek medical help immediately if your baby is unresponsive for 30 minutes following a seizure.
Watching your baby stiffen and going limp during a seizure can be a frightening experience for a parent t0 watch — and to have to watch it happen 30 times in a day. Do spare a thought for the parents who are giving their miracle baby a fighting chance to survive. You too can contribute.
Sources: GiveAsia, NUH, Parents, WebMD