When Levi was born in May of 2009, he was pretty much on the brink of losing his battle with life. To make a long story short, he suffered oxygen deprivation, so as a precaution doctors cooled his body temperature down a few degrees to prevent any swelling of the brain. The first few days were quite stressful as he was also having seizures while he was hooked up to all these crazy machines. The staff at Children’s Hospital were amazing though. So skilled and pleasant and tireless under extreme conditions. Not wanting to give us any false hope, they encouraged us to take each day one at a time as they continued to monitor his progress.
Amanda and I were constantly at his bedside. Family and friends came by for support. After a few days the seizures stopped and they slowly warmed him back up took and him off all the machines. Six days later, on our way we went. Truly amazing! I would even go as far as to call it a miracle. But I gotta say, it was hard to say goodbye to all the other parents who weren’t going home anytime soon with their children, some of them having been in intensive care for several months already.
We were asked to participate in a study with 45 other children who had a similar birth experience. Basically, they want to follow-up on Levi’s progress over as many as 7 years with a few MRI’s, neurological testing and physiological assessment. From what I understand, the researchers would like to be able to offer up a quicker prognosis when a child is born with a brain injury.
We had one of our follow-up appointments yesterday morning. I was with new baby Travis in the waiting room at the hospital observing all the children with varying degrees of mental and physical challenges. I got to talking with the cutest little 6-year-old boy in a wheelchair. He was asking about the baby and had a really sweet disposition. After a while his mother came over and asked me if baby Travis had Spina Bifida too. I explained that I was actually here with my other son who was part of a study, and we were just killing time. I immediately felt something similar to the phenomenon of survivor’s guilt as I saw the look on her face change ever so slightly. I really felt for her at that moment, but I know that she and that little guy are going to be just fine. He didn’t strike me as having any limitations for living a happy, productive life.
I’m happy to report that it’s been nothing but good news for Levi at all of these follow-up appointments. We discovered recently he has mild hearing loss in the higher range, but the neurologist assured us that it is in no way related to his birth trauma. Intellectually and physically, he appears to be truckin’ along at the same pace as all the other kids his age! A huge thank-you to everyone at Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia!
Love you Levi!