Sunday, May 13, 2012


Two weeks old
I regret it’s taken over a year to get around to this. When Jasper was in the Children’s NICU as a newborn, I remember telling a friend, “I’m going to start a blog...” A stupid thing to say, when Jasper was but a week old and his neurologists were trying to find the formula that would stop his seizures, and I was trying to absorb all that had happened in the short time since his birth. I stayed at the hospital right there with him, mostly by myself, keeping vigil at his bedside, praying for someone to please heal him, please heal my baby’s brain. When I would’ve had the time to begin a blog then, or since, I do not know.

Two days old
Jasper was born February 13, 2011. Jasper experienced an infant stroke at birth. The stroke primarily affected the occipital lobe - or vision center - of his brain. At nine days old, he was diagnosed with acute cortical blindness. In addition, “flashes” of stroke had affected other areas of his brain. The attending physician told me it was unknown how this might play out in Jasper’s development. He gave an analogy. The stroke was like dark clouds lurking on the horizon. Those clouds could either develop into a vicious storm, or they could pass by, leaving instead a beautiful sunny day. He asked me what I do when told there’s a 50-50 chance of rain. I responded, I don’t take those percentages seriously until they’re well over 50.

I brought Jasper home when he was just shy of two weeks old. Prior to Jasper, I had about 5 minutes’ worth of experience with babies in the course of my lifetime. I was already nervous at the thought of bringing home my newborn, let alone one who’d had a stroke and was having seizures (these details were not part of my birth plan). In addition to the usual newborn duties of a rigorous feeding schedule, diaper changes, baths, I was busy administering three different anti-seizure meds in the morning and evening (a task that brought tears to my eyes in those early weeks), learning to use the nasogastric tube feeder, and still processing the phrase, infant stroke. 

It wasn’t until a few weeks after Jasper and I were home that the words of my prenatal yoga instructor came back to me. I had done a lot of yoga during pregnancy - the only time in my life I’d been able to stay off my bike long enough to commit to it. I loved how yoga underscored the connection, intimacy, and sense of oneness of my pregnancy. And at the end of every class, our instructor would say, “...You are the exact right parent for this child.” 

It took a while to figure it out, but in time I realized, she was right.

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