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Monday, March 18th, 2013
2 years, 4 months.
It seems like only a year ago that you had your febrile seizure.
And it seems like only two days ago on your 2.333rd birthday that I said this:
“You haven’t had another [febrile seizure] since; in fact, the last time you were even sick at all was last July.
As your dad, I am so grateful and thankful for your health, safety, and general well-being.
I don’t worry about you, but I am constantly aware of what precious cargo you are and how I responsible I need to be for you.”
With that being said, I had to take you to the ER today at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital because you were slipping into another febrile seizure.
I’m more of a romanticized, big picture, spare-me-the-technical-details kind of storyteller, so I’ll just regurgitate the highlights as best as I remember them happening over the past 24 hours:
Mommy had already left late for work due to a tornado warning, you had a fever of 105, I gave you fever-reducing medicine, we were watching Hard Hat Harry’s All About Monster Trucks, you starting shivering, I took off your clothes, your lips looked like they were going numb…
As I held you while talking to the nurse on the phone, you started convulsing like you did in last year’s febrile seizure…
When you did that it scared me, which then scared you, which caused you to wake up from the first three seconds of this year’s febrile seizure…
The nurse on the phone said to bring you to the ER instead of the pediatrician’s office, I threw your clothes in a Kroger bag, I by default imagined myself as Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movies as we drove through the post-tornado warning weather to the hospital…
I remember snapping my fingers a lot to keep you awake as I drove you there, saying, “Stay with me, son! Wake up! Don’t fall asleep! Listen, I’m snapping my fingers like Hard Hat Harry does…”.
When we got there, I found out you had caught a case of Roseola, which had caused your temperature to spike, setting your body up to go into seizure mode.
Thank God, you’re okay… again.
It was scarier for me this 2nd time because I didn’t have Mommy or an ambulance. I kept telling you, “You’re going to be okay, son. Daddy’s taking care of you. Hang with me…”.
I knew what I was saying was true, but at the same time my trust was in God, not myself.
Navigating my way to the ER in post-tornadic weather, trying to find out where to park once I got there (!), and keeping you from falling into another seizure because I hated the thought of your seizing while I drove 65 mph on the interstate in the wind and rain…
Well, I really do feel like Bruce Willis in a Die Hard movie right now.
As for you having another febrile seizure, A) I’m becoming a pro at what to do now and B) I’ll going ahead and mark my calendar for next March, so hopefully I can jinx it.
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Monday, March 19th, 2012
Knowing that my wife Jill and I were gung-ho about have a natural as possible delivery for our son back in November 2010 and used a group of midwives featured on TLC’s “Baby’s First Day,” a Dadabase reader asks about our thoughts on it in retrospect.
“Hey Nick and Jill!
I am pregnant again. Although I had a natural and mostly intervention free labor and delivery with my first child, I had to fight for what I wanted the whole time.
Thinking about doing all that again makes me anxious and exhausted. I’ve seen the show on TLC ‘Baby’s First Day’ that takes place at Vanderbilt and it appears they are very natural friendly. Is it really like that?
From what I’ve found on the web I don’t see any restrictions for sibling visitors any time of the year. Is there any particular midwife or group you would recommend?
I know there will be a higher price tag to deliver outside of our town (Clarksville, TN) and the inconvience of driving to Nashville for all the prenatal appointments but I think the end result will be positive.
Thanks for taking time to help me out!”
It’s funny; we were actually invited to be featured on the first season of “Baby’s First Day” because decided against since all we’d get for our trouble was a free DVD of the episode we’d appear on. Interestingly, one the women who gave birth the same night as Jill is on one of those episodes. Could have been us…
To answer your question, I passionately recommend going through the Vanderbilt Nurse-Midwives in Nashville and I think it would be worth the drive for all your appointments.
I just hope you don’t get Elaine: During one of the appointments she told me to make my hands into a vagina and then she demonstrated forcefully how to massage to bring upon the labor process. That was with my mother-in-law in the room.
Other than that, we couldn’t have been more pleased. They completely respected all of our wishes concerning our attempt to go “all natural” to the end. In fact, if we have another child, we will absolutely be going through them again.
Regarding visitors, I can tell you this: The morning after Jack was born, among the visitors was a couple with a toddler and an infant. Those kiddos made it through so I imagine your child will permitted without any hassle.
If you haven’t already watched “The Business of Being Born” on Netflix streaming, I think it would be a great idea to get you even more pumped up about doing this your way; with the encouragement of midwives.
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Sunday, March 18th, 2012
Exactly one hour into being 16 months-old, my son had a seizure due to his quick rise in temperature to 105.5 degrees. Last Thursday night, both my wife and I separately tried to prepare ourselves for the fact we may be spending the last final moments with our son.
When I put Jack to bed Thursday night at 6:41 PM, his temperature seemed fine. He was a bit more tired than normal but I blamed that on Daylight Savings.
At 10:00 PM, my wife and I were finishing up the dishes after having just watched two episodes of Lost when we heard Jack screaming (!) upstairs. We rushed into his room to learn his temperature was 105.5. We took off his clothes, placed a wet wash rag on him, and gave him a dose of Children’s Advil.
I called the pediatrician who told me we did everything right; as long as his temperature started going back down and he went back to sleep, that we shouldn’t worry too much.
That was the case, so my wife and I were in bed by 11:30 PM.
Exactly 90 minutes passed. Before I trained Jack to sleep through the night at 7 months-old and he would wake up every couple of hours, I hardly ever was the first to hear him cry. But this time was different.
My feet were on the floor and running after about one second of the eery sound I heard coming from Jack’s bedroom. The urgency of my reaction woke up my wife and she was right behind me.
What we saw next did nothing short of traumatize us a bit. We will never forget the version of our son that night.
As I tried to pick him up out of his bed, it was like he was trying to suffocate himself into his blanket, face first. He was rocking back and forth like he was possessed by something evil.
We carried him onto our bed. I called 911 (for the first time in my 30 years) and my wife kept watch over him.
By the end of the 8 minute phone call, two paramedics charged in. They gave us some relief after telling us that they see this happen all the time and that while we didn’t need to fear for his life, he needed to be rushed by ambulance to Vanderbilt.
From 1:30 AM to 4:30 AM, we watched the doctors care for our son. We learned that he had an ear infection, which caused the quick rise in temperature, which caused the febrile seizure.
Jack is of the 2% of the population who may go into this type of seizure when his temperature rises quickly. According to the doctors, there is a 30% chance this will happen again, but these seizures do not cause any long-term effects or brain damage.
Sure enough, since then, he has been his hilarious, weird, smart little self.
We thank the Lord this event was something so harmless, in the end. But when you’re experiencing it for the first time, and you’ve never heard of a febrile seizure and don’t know how to react, you can’t help but feel a big part of you dying.
There’s no way to know any different, in that moment. It’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever lived through.
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Friday, October 15th, 2010
It wasn’t until this weekend while visiting my parents in Alabama that I fully realized something: When Baby Jack is born, he will be the only male Shell (beyond me) to pass on the name, unless I eventually have another son. My mom was telling me how we will need to get a “generational picture” taken, including my grandfather (John Shell), my dad (Jack Shell), myself (Nick Shell), and Baby Jack. My dad only has one brother (Johnny Shell) and he only had daughters. And I have no brothers. So Baby Jack will carry on the Shell name, which translates in German as “loud and noisy”.
While the namesake is just that, a name, it still carries on an idea of the people with that name. Not only their bloodline and physical characteristics, but also a reputation of that name. When I think of what the Shell name stands for, I think of my grandfather (who I call “Paw Paw Shell”), my Uncle Johnny, and of course, my dad, because they are the three male Shell’s most closely related to me. They all work very hard, will do anything for the family, will not tolerate any b.s. or drama, are extremely down to Earth, have a passion for classic cars, prefer The History Channel over watching sports on TV, and will always choose the great outdoors over the city life because they all live in the wooded mountains (which is different than living out in the country, by the way).
Physically, male Shell’s are between 5’ 7” and 5’ 11” (no shorter, no taller), have dark brown or black hair, have a thin frame, have a fairly prominent nose (not noticeably huge, but never smaller than average), are known to show up at each other’s houses unannounced, and have a weak spot for Moon Pies. For me, there is just something about being “a Shell” that is distinguished. Not in a classy way like the Vanderbilt name, or Presidential like the Kennedy name, but it’s the idea that when you meet someone with the Shell name, you’ll never forget them. Shell’s stand out from the crowd. Not in a “loud and noisy” aspect like the name actually implies, but set apart in a sense that if you know one of us, you know all of us. And really, that’s how I imagine most families are.
It’s in a man’s heart to want to pass on the family name. Not just for the sake of legacy, but also because of pride. And while pride is typically a bad thing, when it comes to family, pride is a necessary staple. I am proud to be a Shell, and proud to bring another one into this world.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:
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Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
We have a new doctor. Actually, a group of them: Midwife nurses (http://www.vanderbiltnursemidwives.org/). Things are the exact opposite as they were at the other place. It’s so important to know that the people taking care of us actually care about us. Friendly, informative, patient people there to help us. Last week for our visit, we got to hear the heartbeat for the fist time, thanks to a Doppler device.
Whoot-whoot. Whoot-whoot. Like listening to the sound effects of an Atari game played in a submarine. A bit eerie, a bit awesome.
Our baby’s heartbeat is 150. Supposedly, that’s typically the speed of a female heartbeat.
In addition to trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I am responsible for causing another human’s heart to beat, creating physical life, I am also fathoming the thought that I am responsible for causing a soul to exist as well.
It’s just a theory, and not even an important theological one at that, but I believe that the soul is passed on through the man, not the woman. Jesus’s father was the Holy Spirit, not Joseph. While his mother Mary was completely human. And Jesus didn’t have a sin nature like his half-brothers and sisters born after him.
I take a certain verse quite literally, Romans 5:12, that says, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned”.
Humankind wasn’t cursed when Eve ate the Forbidden Fruit. It wasn’t until she offered it to Adam and he ate it that God kicked them out of Paradise, took away their eternal life, caused women to have labor pains, and forced men to have to work hard for their food.
From that point on, the human soul (complete with a natural tendency to do wrong) has been passed on through all generations through the man, with the exception of Jesus who was fathered by the Holy Spirit.
So if that theory is indeed correct (and no one in this lifetime can know for sure), then I accept the gravity of it, as best as I physically can: Another human being with an eternal, spiritual soul, will take its first breath this coming November because of me. (Of course, Lord willing.)
The word “legacy” is an understatement here.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:
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