Pediatric Stroke

Every person has had something happen in their life that has changed them in some way. Every person has had the "black ice" happen. You know, that thing that you can't see or don't expect? Some people have several black ice events throughout their life. Some black ice events last longer than others and just like on the roads some black ice spots are way bigger than others. And for every one, it is different.

May is pediatric stroke awareness month. Every year I want to shout it from the rooftops. We all have that thing or things we are passionate about that we want everyone to know. But hang on a minute. Pediatric strokes happen? Yes, they do. A lot more often than you might think. And not only do children have strokes but babies can have them before they are even born. Those are called perinatal strokes. Insert black ice here.

October 25th, 2006 is the day my survivor was born. A very happy, blessed day and we were so excited to be a family of 4. Well, except for big brother, Reese, who wanted to promptly return him to the baby store. Andrew was a pretty normal pregnancy. At my last Dr's appointment she asked if I wanted to be induced and I said "oh yes! Please get this thing out of me." I was miserable, as most women are the last few days/weeks before giving birth. She sent me straight from my appointment to the ob floor to be induced. I am not a fan of pain so I promptly requested an epidural. Yes, you may make fun of me if you are one of those super women who didn't get one or had babies before those "things" were around! I was given a bit to much of the medicine and was numb up to my chest, I started shaking and blood pressure dropped super low. Other than that, labor was good, delivery was good, baby seemed good! He weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces. Tiny little thing!

Fast forward 8 months and I notice he is not sitting up. I just thought I had the laziest baby on Earth. He was perfectly happy laying around on the floor. He smiled ALL the time! Another month went by and he still wasn't sitting up unassisted and now we have noticed he doesn't use his left hand. Like at all. It's always crunched up by his chest. I took him to the Dr. and she sent us to ACH in Little Rock to do an MRI to find out what was going on. I find out later she pretty much already know but didn't want to scare me.

So, finally at 10 months old I was told my happy baby boy had a stroke sometime before birth. It happened on this right side of the brain therefore paralyzing the left side of his body. His diagnosis is stroke with left sided hemiplegia cerebral palsy. What in the actual holy hell? I have said that a lot in the last 11 years. Actually, I say that almost everyday now that Reese is a teenager! What in the actual holy hell?

Y'all I'm not saying I didn't love him any less or want him any less. I am saying I had barely even heard of a stroke and when I did it was synonymous with OLD people. Not young people and certainly not babies. I am saying I had absolutely NO CLUE what to do. I am saying this is one of the biggest pieces of black ice on OUR road.

The Dr's. sent a referral for him to start therapy and boom it was done. OK, I can do this! That was not hard. Then the therapists told me he qualifies for 120 minutes per week for PT and OT. I set it up for one hour each morning Mon-Thur before work. It took me over an hour to get there since I had to drop Reese off first. Uhh this is nuts. How do people do this? How do people keep up with this schedule? I can't do this! My life was this revolving door for a long while and still is sometimes. I can! I can't! Yes, no, yes, no, yes....wait maybe...Nope! A lot of juggling! 

This is not even the hardest part of what was to come. But somehow you find a way. Somehow the energy comes. Somehow you love more, love harder, become stronger and it all works out. Somehow every piece of black ice eventually shrinks, no matter how big it is. Somehow in the depths of everything we have and everything we are life becomes beautiful again.


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