Brody Had a Stroke Before He was Born – He’s a survivor!

In Utero Stroke SurvivorOur son, Brody, had a stroke before he was born. This is often called an in-utero stroke or a perinatal stroke. We’re sharing our story to encourage other families and increase awareness of pediatric stroke. We’re also running for the entire month of May and asking friends and family to make donations to CHASA in honor of Brody. – The Watts Family

Challenges and Therapy

Brody did not roll over until he was 10 months old. He laid like a lump on a log while his twin sister practically ran circles around him. It was hard, as parents, to watch & be happy with her progressing development and realize how fast he was falling behind. Throughout therapy we’ve worked on pulling to stand, standing alone, walking, jumping, stretching-stretching-and-more-stretching of his left arm/elbow/shoulder and right leg/ankle/toes. He wore braces on his feet from one to two years of age to help him learn to walk and we spent many many evenings outside with him dragging his feet along our sidewalks with the use of a baby walker. His baby “walking shoes” both have holes rubbed through the toes where he had difficulty picking up his feet to walk. His trunk was severely weak and continues to be, so each diaper change consisted of 5-10 sit ups. You would think he would have the strongest abs in the world! 🙂

Brody stayed frustrated with not being able to communicate and would hit things or bang his head so we taught him sign-language when he was around a year old, so he could tell us the major things he wanted (milk, more, all done, etc., but cookie was his favorite!)

Teaching him to do anything with his left hand has been a true test of patience. He’s had difficulty using eating utensils, trying to hold a crayon, pick up objects, and his grip strength has continued to be very weak. He has had excessive drooling, but I think we’ve almost nipped this (he’s getting ready to turn three). His therapist compares his mouth to that of a puppet. He has very low tone in his jaws and tongue so this has made chewing and swallowing very difficult for him over his life and he often gets choked.

He currently cannot walk up the stairs unassisted leading with his right foot because he isn’t strong enough to pick up his weight. The same goes for walking down leading with left foot because all the weight is on the right foot.

It Takes a Family

Our family has become obsessed with turning every activity we do into therapy for Brody. It’s hard for me, as a mom, not to feel guilty at times because Brody has required so much of my attention during therapies and all the time I’ve devoted to helping him with tasks that the other kids do with such ease. However, I have been blessed with some pretty amazing and loving children! They have been more than wonderful helping Brody along the way. Our older two kids love to build Brody obstacle courses to crawl over/around/through and are his loudest cheerleaders when he accomplishes a new task, like jumping, that most take for granted.

His twin sister has been the best therapy for him, though. He’s had to work hard to try to keep up with – or get away from – her the past couple years. They started in a two-day per week Pre-school program in August 2011 to provide Brody with a structured social environment so we could see how he would adapt. Their teacher said that for the most part Brody is keeping up, but if he’s not, his big sister (by two minutes), watches out for him and will go back to help him, whether it’s finding a chair to sit in or helping him with the motions to a song.

Brody has developed by leaps and bounds over the past almost three years and learned to overcompensate for the weak areas of his body. Today, it is hard for the untrained eye to notice a delay in his every day life. I thank God for Brody just the way he is. He has opened my eyes to so many things we all take for granted daily. I am so blessed to be his mother and learn about life through him- your children really do teach you what life is all about.

Help Brody’s Family Reach Their Fundraising Goal

Donate in honor of Brody.

Read more about the Watts family run.

Read about Brody’s latest success.