None of the stories or pictures on these pages may be used without the express written permission of the Pediatric Stroke Network and/or the parents of these children. These stories are copyrighted by the intellectual property law. All stories are original submissions written by parents.

Connor's Story

    My pregnancy was rather uneventful, other than the overwhelming excitement for the birth of our first child.  I'd had some mild swelling(adema) and had gained over 50 lbs indicating that I'd had some preliminary symptoms of preeclampsia. With this, our physician decided that induction was probably the best option to protect both myself and the baby.

    December 11, 1997 I was put in the hospital to receive mesoprostal on my cervix overnight and was to be induced the next morning, December 12, 1997 (my due date).  My husband, Ryan and I were so excited and couldn't wait to meet our baby.

    At 11:45 pm, the mesoprostal through me into hard labor and the excitement we both had turned into nervousness.  Labor progressed fairly well all through the night and into the morning hours on the 12th.  Around 7:00 am, I stalled at 7 cm and did not progress any further for hours. Connor went into fetal distress with decelerations in his heart to the 80's for several minutes. The nurses were a little concerned, began oxygen and an internal monitor. Pitocin was started and shortly after Connor dropped to the 60's for another several minutes.  Since I wasn't progressing the physicians got everyone ready for a Cesarean section at around 11:45 am.  Shortly thereafter, 11:56 am, Connor Bradley was born.

    Connor was rather bruised and swollen after the whole labor experience.  It was determined that due to cephalopelvic disproportion he was unable to fit through my pelvis even though he was only 6 pounds, 4 ounces and 18 1/2 inches.  Connor's apgar scores were 8 and 9 showing no sign of anything wrong.

    Ryan and I decided to leave the hospital after 2 days and couldn't wait to get our son home for Christmas celebrations. I had this sinking feeling that something was just not right and that something was to happen to our son.   I kept putting the feeling off telling myself that all new mothers have this feeling and that I was being paranoid.  I never told anyone about this feeling.

    On December 16th after being home 2 full days a nurse from our health insurance company called and asked if she could come by at 12:00 pm to check on breast feeding, take the baby's stats and answer questions. I really didn't feel like dealing with anyone that day but decided to have her over anyway.  When she showed up at 12:00 pm, I was having a difficult time breast feeding. Connor was very lethargic and I couldn't get him to open his eyes and wake up. Ryan and I just believed he was very tired.  We had him in our arms while the nurse was talking with us, took him upstairs to get weight and height measurements and noticed he was turning completely blue.  The nurse taught us some quick CPR and told us it was probably mucous in his airway.  She called our physician and told him that our son was turning blue every couple minutes for about 20 seconds each. We rushed our son to the pediatrician (with him turning blue in the car the way there) and they called the EMTs.  Shortly thereafter we were in the ambulance headed for the local children's hospital.

    About the time we got to the hospital I was exhausted from all the walking and running and hysteria and had to be put in a wheel chair.  The C-section was just 4 days prior and I was sore!   The physician intubated our son with the theory that we'd just keep him intubated until we found out what the problem was.  The ER doctor assumed seizures but didn't know why.  We decided to stay with our son at the hospital that night but had no idea what we were in for the first night.

    The ER doctor started our son on Phenobarbital the first night and Connor was to have multiple tests done the next day.  Mistakenly, the physician gave our son a loading dose of 10x the correct amount, almost losing our son and putting him into a coma.   At 2:30 am the doctor came into the sleep room and told us not to bother trying to go see our son at that time because he had overdosed him and wasn't able to control his heart rate and blood pressure.

    He had lines in his belly button to his heart, in his arm, head, hand, etc.... Our son was on so many IV's it was heart wrenching.  His Heart rate had been down in the 40's several times and he was put on dopamine and epinephrine to control these due to the overdose.  The doctor didn't think he was going to make it.  We stayed up all night worrying and crying and praying our son would live after all he'd been through.

    The next day our son was much better. The pheno levels were still way above critical levels and he was in a coma so no tests could be done on him until he came out of the coma.  He was having liquid charcoal put through his nose tube every 3 hours to try and get the medication levels down.  Connor's magnesium, carnitine, calcium, and cortisol levels all dropped due to the Phenobarbital levels.

    After about 1 week of the coma and the 23rd of December the neurologist was finally able to do the MRI which indicated a stroke caused by a blood clot in the left middle cerebral artery.  There was major brain damage due to the clot the neurologist told us.  We were devastated.  We didn't know what to expect, what to tell our family (the first grandchild on both sides)  I felt
that I'd disappointed my husband and my family by having a child with brain damage. The feelings you have at the moment the doctor tells you your child has brain damage are indescribable. I began investigating everything and anyone.

    We prodded the neurologist for future expectations which he pretty much refused to give us, telling us the brain works in amazing ways.  He did tell us that the damaged area controls motor skills on the right side and the speech area.  I was relieved and began to relax a little.  I didn't care and either did my husband, we still had our little boy who had been through so much.

    December 24, 1997, Connor was taken off the ventilator and we were able to hold him for the first time since the 16th.  I was so excited. He took to breast feeding right away again and was doing great.  December 30th, we took him home on an apnea monitor.

    Connor is now 17 months old. He began walking at 15 months after the physicians and therapists predicted him to walk between 18 and 24 months old. Connor crawled on all fours at 12 months. His speech seems to be a little behind. He says words like tee, for tree; daaa for dog, sit, etc... but some words are harded than others. Connor is beginning to run now but definitely has a little limp with the right leg.  His right arm is the most affected. He uses it but can't get it to cooperate and do what he'd like it to do so he gets frustrated at times.


    He is currently testing at 18-24 months with his left hand fine motor skills and is age appropriate for gross motor skills. Cognitively he is "normal". Connor attends physical therapy one time a week at Shriner's hospital, one time a month at a local hospital and one time a month through early intervention at our home. He sees an occupational therapist two times a month at Shriner's hospital, one time a month at a local hospital and one time a week through early intervention. He just began seeing a speech therapist for intervention only 2 times a month.


    Connor's EEG's are still showing seizures so he is on Tegretol at this time. The neurologist believes that his seizures will eventually stop but for now, we are perfectly happy with him on the medication.  (the seizures are what caused him to stop breathing in his first few days and can do that with newborns).

    Connor is such a happy little one. He makes everyone around him understand what miracles are and we are so fortunate to have him in our life.

Tammy, Ryan & Connor

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This page last updated 12/31/2001