I didn’t know babies could have a stroke. Isaiah’s Journey

On 13 September, 2011, we were blessed with a perfect baby boy – and a not so perfect birth story. At 41 weeks I was finally induced. The birth was stressful, his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and his shoulder was stuck. Once the head is out, I was told, there is a window of about 5 minutes in which the baby needs to be born or there can be difficulties. Since I had decided against drugs, the only way to get him out was via vacuum. He was tired and fussy after after all this but the doctor said we had a healthy baby. Well, it all changed within the next 24 hours. I noticed he didn’t want to nurse much through the night but rather snack and cuddle, but other than that he seemed fine. In the morning, I tried to feed him again and the same thing happened. He then got fussy again and I thought he may have another headache from the birth experience so I called the nurse to give him his dose of Tylenol. As she was scanning his medicine I looked down and noticed his face had turned blue. He had stopped breathing so he was taken to the NICU immediately, where they got him to breathe again. However, he stopped breathing a second time and developed seizures. After what felt like eternity, the doctor came to talk to us. Isaiah wouldn’t breathe on his own so they intubated him. He suspected an infection. Several tests were being run and Isaiah was scheduled for an EEG and an MRI, which revealed that he actually had suffered a stroke. I knew adults could have a stroke, even young ones, but never would I have thought that an infant could have a stroke. Doing research, I learned that it is more common than I thought.


It’s been 7 months since then, and Isaiah has come a long way. He learned how to suck again, regained control over the right side of his body and we’ve corrected his preference of looking to the right. He passed his hearing test and the EEG at 2 months came back normal. At 4 months we noticed he would keep his right hand clenched in a fist. Remembering my grandmother having the same problem after her stroke, we instinctively worked on opening his right hand as much as possible and encouraging him to use it more. With the help of his physical therapist we have gotten him to being able to use both hands, however he will always have that left preference. His therapist is convinced that if we keep up the work, people won’t be able to notice he ever had problems. Obviously we’re still at the beginning of Isaiah’s journey he’s been a true fighter through it all!