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.

Mackenzie's Story

    Our daughter Mackenzie Maris was born on December 20, 1999 at a healthy 8 pounds, 13 ounces by cesarean section (scheduled C-section due to large baby).  Her apgars were 7 and 8 respectively, but did need to be under an oxygen hood for an hour after her birth due to fluid in her lungs.  The day after her birth, I noticed a rhythmic jerking of her right arm.  I thought this was just "baby twitches" and blew it off.  I noticed her leg beginning to do the same thing and mentioned it to a nurse.  She also said this was nothing.  Finally, after several more episodes, I alerted the doctor. He told me that she was having seizures.  I was floored.

    I went from having this totally healthy baby girl to being told that my child was having seizures and would need testing done.  The CT scan and blood work initially came back negative.  However, upon a second review of the CT scan, a small murky area was noticed in her brain.  She was rushed to a nearby NICU.  In the mean time, I was just recovering from major surgery and very exhausted.  My life had just been completely turned upside down.   My doctor discharged me to be with my daughter at the other hospital.

    When my husband and I arrived there, she was screaming bloody murder.  They were attempting to give her a spinal tap (they were doing this to rule out meningitis), but were unsuccessful.  They gave her a loading dose of Phenobarbital which made her sleep through the night soundly.  The next day, she was given an MRI and EEG. Finally at 8:00 that night, the pediatric neurologist arrived to make a diagnosis.  We were told that Mackenzie had suffered a stroke in-utero sometime during the final weeks of my pregnancy.  The doctor theorized that the blood in my placenta clotted.  The clots shot up into her brain through the umbilical cord and caused 2 small infarctions (small strokes) in her brain.  Fortunately, her prognosis is excellent.  We were told that the worst case scenario would be that her right hand fine motor skills could be affected.  However, she is now 4 months old and shows no weakness in that hand.  She has not had a seizure since she was in the NICU and put on Phenobarbital.  She is a healthy 16 pounder right now and is alert and smiling all the time.  We are so thrilled that she has done so well and are thankful every day to have her as our baby.   As each day goes by and I see how well she is doing, the pain of what happened to her is beginning to go away.


    We will probably never know why this happened as most stroke victims are told.  I was tested for several clotting factors and antibodies that may have caused my blood to clot and they all came back negative.    It is hard not knowing why and I find that to be very frustrating.  The older I get, the more I have begun to realize that this is life - obstacles that we have to face and overcome.  We aren't always given the reasons why and maybe, just maybe, we aren't meant to know.

-Laura (28 years old) and Mike (33) from New Hampshire
Daughters Madison (2.5) and Mackenzie (4 months)

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This page last updated 12/31/2001