Why am I writing a Mom Blog?

I’ll start by introducing myself, I’m Lauren, a 31 year old mother of a beautiful 1 year old boy, Dean.  I’m married to an amazing firefighter/paramedic, Ryan, who is an equal in this parenting journey.  Because of him I am able to work full time as a teacher and function as a mom.  Ryan and I have been together since 2009 when we met while living in Myrtle Beach.  I grew up in Newcastle, CA (Gem of the Foothills), spent some time in Washington State (Go Cougs), went to college in South Carolina (Go Chants), and now live in Ohio.  Yep, you read that right, I ended up in Cleveland which is where Ryan was born and raised.  It’s taken some adjusting but I have learned to accept winter.  I love it here and it will forever be Dean’s home, which makes it that much more special.  In our free time we enjoy traveling, being outdoors, and fixing up our house.  Everything was easier before we had a child, a child with special needs.

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In March of 2016 our world was turned upside down.  I didn’t have the easiest pregnancy but we were managing.  To start, I was high risk because I have Crohn’s Disease, next our blood work showed I had a less than healthy placenta, then I got Cholestasis (severe itching caused by pregnancy hormones).  I still can’t even write the word without itching.  After meeting with a high risk doctor, we created a plan.  I was to get weekly ultrasounds and non-stress tests starting at 32 weeks and a planned C-section at 37 weeks.   Everything looked great at 32 weeks and again at 33 weeks.  I was measuring a little small but nothing to be concerned about, so they said.

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At 34 weeks we saw slowed blood flow in the umbilical cord, again they said nothing to be concerned about.  I can still remember our 35 week ultrasound like it was yesterday.  My mom had flown in from Florida and was so excited to be at an ultrasound.  We had spent days buying clothes and getting his room ready.  But that day something was different, the tech kept stopping on his head.  She left the room and I remember telling Ryan, “something’s wrong.”  He assured me everything was fine and reminded me that the blood flow in the umbilical cord was fine again.  Next, the doctor came in, someone we were familiar with because, well, we were seeing her every week at this point. The tech showed her the spot, now on an ultrasound you can’t really see anything.  The brain should look all the same color but there was something different. The doctor thought maybe it was a shadow.  After a few minutes it became apparent, it was not a shadow.  She informed us that it looked like the baby had a brain bleed and possibly Cerebral Palsy but we would need a MRI to be sure.  It was the worst moment of my life. I never understood the term “living a nightmare” until then. Of course, we googled, a lot. I remember sitting in his room, crying, wondering if he would ever even come home. Wondering if and how my child would ever be able to function.

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And to add more stress, we had our baby shower that week. Yep, we had to show up to our shower with smiles on pretending like everything was fine.  At this point we weren’t ready to tell people.  We hadn’t come to terms with anything ourselves and had no idea what we would say.  We cried in the car on the way there, we cried in the car on the way home, we cried unpacking the car.  It felt like at any moment we should just wake up from the nightmare we were living.  A week later we had the MRI. I laid perfectly still hoping that our little boy would do the same, and he did.  They got excellent pictures, unfortunately those excellent pictures showed exactly our worst fear.  Dean had a stroke and the stroke caused a brain bleed.  We met with a great pediatric neurologist but there wasn’t much she could tell us.  He had a perinatal ischemic stroke.  She said they can cause long term neurological disability, including hemiplegic cerebral palsy and seizure and cognitive disorders.  Everything at this point was such a blur.  I begged every doctor I saw to get this baby out.  They all agreed, no more damage could be done in utero.  It would be worse to take him out before his lungs had time to develop.  I struggled with the idea that my body was doing this to him.  No one could tell us why this happened and no one cared to figure out why.  At the time this seemed so odd, how could we not have any answers?  It turns out they don’t figure out why.  Ryan and I had a blood test to make sure our blood didn’t cause it but it came back negative.  I also donated my placenta and it came back healthy.  So that’s it, no answers, no reason why this happened.

I’m writing this blog, hoping to share our story.  I’d like to spread support and awareness with people who are not only in our situation but with people who have no idea, babies have strokes too.

19 thoughts on “Why am I writing a Mom Blog?

    1. Thanks for sharing your story. Your little guy is beautiful. Its fun to see his happy little face. I remember being in class when you told us you were pregnant. I miss you being at Thorea Park.

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  1. Beautiful, informative, enlightening, captivating, heartaching, painstaking and breathtaking….. all because of the spirit you two maintain no matter how hard it gets and how difficult it is to see Dean struggle. You and Dean and that beautiful smile that he always has on his face are an inspiration to us all. I love you guys !!
    Auntie Bobbie
    #fantasticblogdontstop

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  2. Such a crazy amazing story!!! You guys are terrific parents and dean is super lucky to have you! Dean is such a great lil guy😍😘

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  3. I know where you’ve been and are. We experienced the same thing, except we didn’t know anything until he was about 5 months old. No pediatrician we saw knew why he wasn’t using his right hand as much and it took me about begging for a referal for a neuro. We got the mri when he was 9 months. It was about the worst thing to hear that day in the office. We puthim and our older two kids (ages then 8 and 9) in the truck and cried under the tree in the parking lot. I will never forget it. And how, though I knew better, I still blamed my body for doing something wrong. We had blood work done too, and on our boy, to make sure it couldn’t happen again. He is super bright, funny, fast, and smart. Most people don’t notice anything unless they see his brace or comment on how he “must be a lefty”. I hear you, momma! We are in the same boat ❤

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  4. You and Ryan are amazing parents and Dean is such a happy little boy!! It’s been so wonderful to see him grow up in the past 15 months and I am so proud of him every time I get to see him do something new! Can’t wait to see all that Dean is going to accomplish and all the obstacles he’s going to overcome. Love you guys!

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  5. Made me cry at work Lauren! I don’t know your little man but I am so happy that he is doing well and made it through. You are way stronger than I ever could be. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Ryan and Lauren: I want you to know that I appreciate your sharing your story. Each child we are presented with is here for a purpose. Dean is just a special star and has a job to do and w
    He will do it with grace. You both are so supportive of this “Star” and if anything can be done you will do it. I keep you all in my prayers and so support you and will help you in any way you need. I know my life is in the twilight years but am still strong enough to lend you a hand. Much love for all.

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  7. That was so amazingly written. I would also love for everyone to know that regardless of what you are up against you always looked for a silver lining, a way to make it through. Going to school full time and student teaching, planning an out of state wedding while you were ill! All while making a positive impact on those first graders!! God knows you are one tough cookie. Dean is blessed with one amazing momma!!!

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  8. This is awesome Lo! Such a great thing to share your story, I am exited we all get to go on this journey with you. You are going to inspire so many other families.

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  9. I’m so happy I stumbled upon your blog. A similar story happened to us when my daughter was born last year. I still struggle to accept that we will never know the exact cause of her bleed, but hold so much guilt that it was something I did. I feel comforted by your story and your words. Your son is gorgeous and he is undoubtedly a fighter. God bless!

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  10. We are in the same situation, my baby girl has a stroke in utero too, she is 4 months now and I’m very concerned about her future. The stroke was in the right side, so, her left arm is affected. For the moment I have one thing that is bothering me, we don’t have ‘eye contact’ and she doesn’t follow any toy. Our ophthalmologist said that we have to wait 😦

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      1. It happened at 33 weeks. One night, I realize that my baby doesn’t move in my belly. Next morning I went to emergency doctor and after he made an ecografic exam, he sent me home saying that am too stressed and that’s why I don’t find ‘quality time’ to feel my baby. I was stunned because this is my second pregnancy (my first girl have 2 years now). Towards the evening my baby just started to move.
        A week later, we were to our current doctor and she saw that my baby had an hemorrhagic brain and also dilated ventricules. Of course, we made an utero mri where the stroke was confirmed.
        After her birth, Lois had two brain surgeries.
        Now, we are doing therapy to reduce the left hemiparesis. We hope for the best.

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  11. Hi. I am an 31 year old mother from Sweden, I found your instagram when i search for hemiplegia. 8 weeks ago I gave birth to a beautiful boy, unfortunately he sufferd a stroke only 1h old so now we are living with so many feelings and questions. I am glad to se that you and other families share your story , it helps to see that we are not alone and that these children make such awesome progress. It has been a few hard weeks but I am starting to see a brighter future for my baby boy💚 Wish you all the best!/Elin

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