I, like many parents, had no idea that a child could have a "spell" from holding their breath. We were told not to worry and sent home armed with a warning to watch for intentional breath holding. I guess some kids quickly figure out how to get their way using this scary tactic.
Fortunately he didn't use the seizures to his advantage, but he did have more breath holding spells. They would happen after a fall at the playground where he would bump his head, take in a deep breath in preparation for some heavy wailing, but no cry came out. Instead his body would stiffen and contort. I quickly learned that I could help pull him out of the spell by calling, in close contact, his name. It was such a relief to see his eyes respond to my voice, look at me, and relax into my arms. Even though we were told to not coddle him so as to avoid manipulated breath holding, I didn't care. I held him close to help sooth the pain from his fall, telling him he would be ok and that I loved him, and of course gave him lots of kisses.
I should have realized sooner that the very first seizure didn't resemble the following 4 or 5 breath holding ones. His body reacted completely different. The breath holding spells had his entire body arched, limbs twisted, would only last a couple of seconds, and most importantly he would respond to my voice.
I didn't see the difference until a year after the first seizure. We were having a great time at the park, laughing and playing. Unexpectedly he just dropped to the ground face first. I ran to him, rolled him over, and said his name repeatedly while brushing sand off his face. This time however, his arms just stayed tight, close to his chest and his eyes were not coming back to me.