Dx Intracerebral Hemorrhage and Hydrocephaly: Brody Success Story
Little Brody is born 17 weeks early and given a 5% chance of survival
Born at 23 weeks of gestation, his parents were told he had only a 5% chance of survival. This pregnancy was a huge surprise to Mother and Father. Mother was told by her doctors that she would never conceive.
Brody was conceived three months after the loss of father’s youngest brother due to a tragic car accident. Because mother had been told she could never have a baby she was frightened and in disbelief during the first few months wondering if her body was really capable of sustaining this pregnancy.
The ultrasound at 6th week confirmed that it was a viable pregnancy and there was a heartbeat present. As months went by, there were no excruciating pains, no sickness, no loss of appetite. The main focus was to witness the incredible miracle of the birth of the baby.
On the morning Mother was scheduled to fly to New York City to speak at a conference, mother instead had to go to the hospital because of heavy bleeding. Contractions started and persisted despite the medication to stop them. Then the water broke and steroid shots were given to help mature the baby’s lungs since it was clear the baby was about to be born. The baby was starting to go into distress and an emergency C-section was planned. Doctors gave baby Brody a 5% chance of survival. It simply was too early for the baby to arrive and to be able to survive.
One more check before the operation revealed that mother was dilated enough so that the baby could be delivered naturally. He weighed only 1 lb 2 oz., and was 12 inches in length. He was immediately placed in a plastic bag to keep him warm. Little breaths of air were pumped into is lungs through a neo-puff machine, as his lungs were not developed enough and he would not be able to breathe on his own. In the critical 72 hours following the delivery, the need for oxygen and the best way to deliver it became the biggest challenge. Brody somehow met this challenge.
Brody’s Difficult Journey
On the third day, Brody’s blood count dropped significantly. The neuro ultrasound showed that he had a bilateral, grade IV hemorrhage in the ventricles and was developing hydrocephaly.
Mother writes: “We were led to believe that we might only have a few days left with him as he was too tiny to operate on.”
Brody received surfactant for respiratory distress and was first placed on the oscillator ventilation machine where he was doing 20% of the breathing and the machine the other 80%. After 11 days, a conventional ventilator took over the task of providing him with oxygen for the next 39 days. At the same time, he had steroids and a nasal cannula until he could breathe room air on his own.
The Healing Power of Mother’s Love
“It was day eleven and the most anticipated day I had prayed for, a chance to hold my miracle son (Kangaroo Care). I spent hours on end from that day on doing the one thing that was within my control, and that was to provide Brody with the number one healing treatment, skin-to-skin contact.”
Mother says “During his 148 days in intensive care Brody was a true warrior.”
Seizure activity in the first few days of life was treated with Phenobarbital. His high sugar count of over 1,000 lasted 3 weeks due to an underdeveloped pancreas. Three blood transfusions, as well as a platelet transfusion in the first couple of months, were administered due to anemia caused by the prematurity.
Weeks turned to months, and Mother says “Brody showed what a true warrior looks like through his 148 days in the NICU. He endured a total of five surgeries: for his brain, his eyes, his cleft lip, and bilateral hernias.”
Father and mother spent 3 to 5 hours doing “Kangaroo Care” each shift. They were very involved in his bedside care at night with his bath and bedtime routine and holding him. Mother spent 12 to 14 hours daily in the NICU with her son. He started in the unit for children in critical condition, then moved to a “pod” then eventually the area where mother could stay overnight. She then became the primary care-giver without the need for nurses.
Brody’s Confusing Diagnosis
“There were so many unknowns and statistics that were shared every day. Doctors were not sure from one day to the next which direction Brody’s journey would take, and they definitely were uncertain of Brody’s future.”
“With over fifteen diagnoses and a multitude of symptoms that Brody would face during the NICU journey, and the issues once Brody was home, one thing was sure, “We didn’t come this far, just to come this far, there is no reason why we need to stop now.”
What Parents Gained after Attending the What To Do Course
Parents attended the What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child course after Brody’s pediatrician told them about the course.
Mother writes: “From the moment Brody was born until the moment we attended the course, the words, ‘My son is brain-injured’ never escaped our mouths. Not because we were ashamed, but solely based on the lack of awareness of what brain injury really means.”
“Brain-injured children have just as much potential, if not more, than that of well children. This course has given our son the other 95% chance through increased opportunity to grow the brain, instead of merely that 5% chance of survival we were given at first.”
Brody’s Pathway to Wellness
At 19 months of age, when Brody’s parents attended the course, he was able to understand a handful of words and couplets, and could recognize some familiar pictures. He could roll over but he was not able to move forward. His overall rate of growth neurologically was only 39% of normal.
At his first visit to The Institutes, six weeks later, and after his parents had begun to apply what they had learned in the course, Brody was able to follow instructions, and he had begun to move forward using an inclined floor. He had been presented with almost 200 reading words and was greatly enjoying learning to read. His neurological rate of growth had increased to 62% of average.
Brody’s home program became more advanced. His new program included oxygen enrichment, the opportunity to crawl on the flat floor, learning to read phrases, using a Choice Board to improve his communication, and a strong nutritional program to enhance his general health and growth.
Free at last – Brody can crawl all over the house
Brody had his second visit at 27 months. He exceeded all the goals set for him six months earlier. He had advanced in all areas. His number one problem was still in the area of mobility but now he was able to crawl 55 meters daily on the flat floor without needing an incline anymore. He could also crawl 4 meters in less than 4 minutes.
He could now go anywhere in his house on his own to find the things he needed or wanted -this earned him a Crawling Victory.
Intellectually, Brody continued to excel in his ability to read and express his needs using both his speech and a Choice Board. He now could use at least 12 words and half dozen couplets, such as “Good boy” and even “I did it!”. When he has more complex ideas and opinions to express that his still immature breathing will not support, Brody uses a Choice Board so that mother and father know what he needs or wants.
Brody lives to read books. He has seen 800 words, 317 phrases and sentences, and 40 homemade books. His little books now are fairly sophisticated with the content more designed for a seven or eight-year-old than a baby.
Brody advanced 7.87 months neurologically in 6.3 months. His growth rate is now 126% of average.
Mother says, “Since starting the program eight months ago, Brody has made the most growth and reached more milestones than he had before that time. We are beyond thrilled with the effort he puts forth every single day. He has achieved Reading, Language and Crawling Victories in the last six months on the program.”
Mother’s Advice to Parents Considering Taking the Course
“Healing from a traumatic event leads to new strength and joy as each day passes, making our determination even more powerful than before.”
“Our children show us every day that brain injury is a journey to be experienced and that their future is beyond possible, which lies within our hearts and hands.”
“Brody showed us from day one that he was determined to make his mark on this world, and so is your son or a daughter.”
“Let’s give them every opportunity to shine in the spotlight, because miracles happen every day!”