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Nathans Story


    Doug and I found out that we were going to have a baby on July 3rd, the day before my 35th birthday. Having been told that I probably wouldnt be able to conceive, we were in total shock! The pregnancy went pretty well. Since I was of advanced maternal age (dont you love that), we had an amniocentesis to be sure everything was okay with the baby. At that point we found out we were having a boy! Doug was so thrilled; hed have a little fishing partner! The nursery was ready before New Years Eve, and we were anxiously awaiting Nathans arrival; my due date was March 4, 2001.

   By the end of December my blood pressure was increasing slightly. My job was very stressful so the doctor had me take a couple of weeks off to see if my blood pressure stabilized. It did, and I was able to work part-time until mid February when it was time to start my maternity leave. I was so sure that Nathan would be early because I was so big! Well, March 4th came and went and still we waited. On Sunday, March 11th, I got the feeling that something was wrong. Nathan had always been pretty active in the womb, but on this day he was moving non-stop. By late afternoon I decided to call the OB/GYN because I was really scared. The doctor on call seemed a little annoyed that I called him to say the baby was active. He said that I only should worry if the baby is still, and since Im already scheduled for a non-stress test the next day that I should just relax. On Monday, I had the non-stress test performed and everything seemed normal. That evening, I finally went into labor.

    We arrived at the hospital around midnight, and I was only slightly dilated. By morning the doctor came in to check me and to break my water. At that point they saw I had mar conium in my water, and since I wasnt progressing very quickly they decided to do a C-Section. At 9:53 am on March 13, 2001 Nathan Douglas Greene was born. He was 19 inches long and 5 pounds 11 ounces. His apgar scores were 8 and 9, but then the doctor noticed that Nathan was twitching; he was having focal seizures. Since we delivered in a smaller hospital, they decided he needed to be transferred to Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). We were in a daze; how could this be happening? I didnt even get to hold Nathan since he was transported via ambulance within 2 hours of his birth. CHOP was about an hour away, so they said they would call us when he arrived. Doug decided to stay with me since I couldnt even get out of bed; I certainly couldnt travel. Once at CHOP they pumped Nathan full of Phenobarbital and Dilantin, and performed a CT Scan. They called us that evening to say that he had restricted blood flow to his brain, but they were going to run an MRI to get a more definitive answer. They told us that Nathan was sleeping from all the medications, so instead of coming down that night we decided that Doug and his parents would leave first thing in the morning to visit Nathan and find out the prognosis. The Neurologist performed the MRI and found that Nathan had a bi-lateral stroke. We had never heard of a stroke in utero, so we had no idea what this meant for the future. However, when Doug met with several of Nathans doctors their message was not definitive but it was positive; they gave us hope that Nathan could recover.

    I was released from the hospital the next day, and we immediately drove to CHOP. I was devastated when I saw Nathan hooked up to all the monitors, I.V.s and other machines. He was so tiny and he had so many tubes in him. He was breathing on his own but because of the high doses of Phenobarbital, he was fed through a tube and was also given oxygen. Test after test after test was performed, including another MRI, which showed that the stroke occurred within 72 hours of birth; probably the day I felt him moving so much (one lesson I learned from this is to always listen to my instincts). We spent everyday with Nathan, just holding him and talking to him. He was not very responsive which really scared us. I would pump breast milk for him, and each day he was taking a little more. After about a week we were able to bottle-feed him. The hospital had a speech therapist assist us, as they didnt know if Nathan would be able to eat on his own. They didnt need to be concerned; he took the bottle right away!

    Nathan was hospitalized for 2 weeks, and during that time the doctors tried to stay positive telling us that many children that have strokes in utero recover as the brain of an infant has remarkable abilities. They also tried to prepare us to deal with possible deficits. All of this was so overwhelming; we met with numerous doctors, therapists and specialist, but no one could tell us what caused the stroke or how it would affect Nathans future. We couldnt help but to worry and wonder after so many doctors and therapists examined Nathan. They couldnt tell us if he would be able to walk, talk or even continue to eat on his own. All we could do was pray and ask all of our family and friends to do the same.

    We were finally able to bring him home, and hes been thriving ever since. Shortly after coming home we met with our local Early Intervention team and at 4 months of age we began physical therapy. Nathan is now 9 months old and still meets with the physical therapist twice a month and she is happy with his progress.  

     Nathans Neurologist relocated to a different state, so we did some research and found a new doctor who has a special interest in stroke survivors. We recently met with his new doctor, and after examining Nathan and testing his skills, he feels as though Nathan is performing at his appropriate age level for both motor skills and cognitive development. We received this news shortly before Christmas, and we truly felt as though Christmas came early for us. We couldnt have heard a better report from the doctor.

    We continue to work with Nathan daily by practicing his physical therapy exercises, by reading to him, and showing him how much we love him. Nathan has a very sunny personality and smiles and laughs all the time. He is rarely cranky or cries, and can bring joy to most everyone that he encounters.

    We are so fortunate to have Nathan in our lives, and regardless of any deficits that he may show in the future; I think that he will be able to overcome all obstacles. Im sure that all of the prayer that he received from our family, friends, co-workers and even strangers has helped him tremendously. We are so luck to have so many caring people in our lives, and most of all we are so fortunate to have Nathan with us.

Jackie and Doug Greene





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This page created on 1/04/2002
This page last updated 1/04/2002