Sunday, February 25, 2018

Days of Kai: A Stroke.

I think I’m finally ready to talk about our first weeks with Kai. For a while, even after we had brought our happy baby home, thinking about what he had gone through made me extremely sad. Talking about it was even worse. I don't think I've ever been such a cry baby lol. It was truly probably one of the most heartbreaking times I have ever experienced. But that's what moms do I guess. Hurt when their baby is hurt. Kai has made me love in a way I never understood until now. I know I know, it sounds soooo cliche, which is why I don’t expect those who haven't had children yet to understand. I honestly never did. But it really is incredible.

Before we jump in, I’d just like to say that other than the unfortunate amount of hair he's lost since birth, Kai is doing great haha! No need to worry. He is progressing extremely well and is the happiest little baby :) except for when he’s hungry. Hah :)

The day after Kai was born, Jerry and I dropped him off at the hospital nursery and went to a breastfeeding class. In one of the slides, the instructor talked about seizures; what to look for, how to identify them, and what to do. Jerry and I were thinking the same thing. Right before the class, we noticed Kai doing something what seemed like a possible seizure. But how would we know for sure? And why would our baby have a seizure? As first time parents, we had no idea what’s “normal” baby movements and what's not. So we kept the thought in the back of our minds, but honestly figured it was nothing to worry about. After the class, we picked up our sweet baby from the nursery and went back to our room. The three of us back together again, yay!

A few moments into relaxing in our cozy little hospital room, it started again. The little “seizure-like” movements. They’re repetitive, rhythmic movements affecting one or multiple parts of the body. Movements that you can't suppress. We called the nurse but unfortunately it had stopped by the time she got to our room. Once she left, he started doing them again. This time the nurse was able to see what we were concerned about, and back to the nursery she took him. At this point I was so confused. What's happening? What seemed like something so minor was suddenly becoming more and more serious. How can something be wrong with our perfect little baby?

While in the nursery, Kai had another seizure. Until this point they were very short, averaging anywhere from 1-3 minutes. This one lasted for twelve. Twelve whole minutes! Can you imagine how long that felt? I remember sitting there next to my baby, feeling so helpless as he lay there crying. The seizure continued to control his little body and all I could do was rub his hand, hoping he knew that his mama was right there next to him. Then finally, once the seizure had finally stopped, things began to escalate quickly. Within minutes we were in the NICU. Why was my full term, healthy baby in the NICU?

Here is where I’d like to say that the doctors and nurses were absolutely amazing! I'm so thankful for them. They were so quick and efficient with everything. But seeing your baby cry because of the needles and prodding is not fun. It’s sorta the worst thing ever actually.

Now by this point, Kai hadn’t eaten for about 4 hours and newborns eat about every hour if not more. He had an IV so he was definitely getting the nutrients and fluids he needed but of course, my mama heart was telling me that he needed me. All I wanted was to hold and feed my baby.

"Can we hold him please?"
"Maybe later tonight or tomorrow."

The next step was to perform multiple tests to see why the seizures were occurring, and to rule out anything infectious and life threatening. He was also put on Phenobarbital, which is a very strong drug that suppresses seizures. The results of these test wouldn't come back to us for a while but the doctors seemed hopeful that his seizures weren't caused by anything life threatening. At 8:30 pm that evening, we were finally allowed to hold Kai again. A short 25 minutes but we loved every second of it. 

The next day, Kai went in for an MRI. The doctors still hadn't found a probable cause for his seizures so the MRI was the next step. Jerry and I strongly felt that everything would be okay. We were hopeful that the MRI would come back completely normal, and that the seizures were a temporary blip in Kai's first days. But unfortunately, as you know, we were wrong. The doctors told us that Kai had suffered a stroke in the left hemisphere of his brain. Why and how is unknown, but they've chalked it up to "possibly something from the placenta." 

We don’t know what caused the stroke?? Something from the placenta?! Definitely not something I wanted to hear. Was it something I did? Was it something I didn't do? Was it because I had tripped the previous week? Countless reasons started running through my mind. But the wonderful doctor looked at me and said, "It's nothing you did, sometimes babies have strokes and we don't know why." This gave me some peace but naturally, I still wondered if there was something different I could have done for Kai. 

It took me some time to accept that Kai had a stroke and to move on from it. A part of me thought, "Why me? Why my baby?" But my amazing mom helped me remember that none of that mattered because we love him no matter what. And it's true! We are so lucky to have him in our lives. Kai has been developing so well and has been the biggest champ through it all. He's our little fighter baby. We think that the stroke actually gave him superpowers :)

I guess that's the bulk of what our first days with Kai were like. While in the NICU, I kept a journal of our everyday shenanigans and I plan on blogging those as well in the near future. We'll see how much this baby lets me get done. But for now, here's a couple of fun photos of Kai. He's quite the character.

a little jokester from the start :) this is how he felt about the stroke. lol

Here he is today at almost 13 weeks. Happy as can be.


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