This is one of those families that feel like old friends when they come in for updated pictures. Luke and Chelsea have been customers since they said their "I do's" almost 8 years ago. I got my hands on both Corbin and Paisley when they were brand spanking new, and I love watching them grow. This is the Nostrom family from rural Humboldt. Luke is an Electrician for Tjaden Electric and helps his family with farming and Chelsea is an Insurance agent at Town & Country Insurance. Corbin is 6 and no surprise, loves farming, also hunting, fishing, riding his 4-wheeler and dirt bike, wrestling, and t-ball. A couple new things for him, he raced his dirt bike at the fair last summer and joined Clover Kids, he is hoping to take a calf to the fair this summer. Paisley is 3, going on 4 in April, is in her first year of preschool at King's Kids. She is in dance and absolutely loves it. They are hoping her awesome personality shines through and she's not to shy at recital. She is also a true farm kid and has a weird obsession with bugs. She also likes to help out on the farm. She is a girly girl but doesn't like to wear dresses, she does however like fancy shoes, purses and baby dolls.
They live southwest of town on Luke's grandparent's acreage, they have been there almost 6 years and love it. they can't imagine raising their kids living anywhere else. As a family their favorite activities involve all things outdoors. They love camping and joke in the summer that they spend more time in their camper than in their house. They enjoy fishing whether is summer or winter, swimming, kayaking, 4-wheeling, you name it. Give them mother nature and each other and they're happy. No wonder I like them so much :).
When a family is going to be featured on the blog I always ask for any fun facts or brags about their family. Chelsea sent me a heart wrenching story about the first few days of Paisley's life. While I typically write these things in my own words and cut and edit things this time I decided to leave it in Mom's own words. As crazy as it is, this is not my first client to experience this situation. When you see the odds at the end of her story you will understand what a miracle this girl is...
I had a normal pregnancy up until I was about 34 weeks, I went in for the routine last ultrasound before getting to meet our sweet girl! We were trying to decide if we wanted a 5/1/15 or 5/5/15 baby as I would be having a C-section…May day or Cinco de Mayo baby! After that appointment the doctor called and said that I needed to come back in for a non-stress test because my amniotic fluid was lower than normal. I went in for the test and they hooked me up to some machines and monitored Paisley’s heart rate and movements for an hour. We passed the first test but because my fluid was low I was going to have to go back Mondays and Fridays for ultrasounds and non-stress tests and Wednesdays for non-stress tests. After the 2nd week of testing my fluid still was low and I was sent home on bedrest for the weekend and was told to drink as much as I could to try to help increase my fluid and they would recheck me Monday to see where I was at. Monday came and my fluid was still low, but they didn’t want to take Paisley at 36 weeks so the kept me overnight and hooked me up to an IV and pumped me full of fluids, luckily the next morning when we had our ultrasound I had retained enough fluid that I was able to go home on bedrest, but still had to continue non-stress tests and ultrasounds the rest of the week to keep an eye on things.
Monday April 20th came and I went in for another ultrasound and found that my fluid had dropped and they made the decision that it was time to do the C-section. At 37 weeks we were scheduled for the C-section at 5 pm and Paisley was born at 5:09 and she weighed 7lbs 2oz and was just perfect! I remember being so worried with having so many issues with my fluid being low that something might be wrong with little Miss Paisley, but she was just perfect! Our family of 4 was complete, the next 2 days seemed normal and we were talking about getting discharged to go home Wednesday. In the 2 days after Paisley was born I had noticed that she was clenching her fist tightly and would bring her shoulder up as if she was shrugging on one side, it was something that she was seeming to do a lot and when we mentioned it to the nurses they weren’t sure what it was and wanted to watch her. They didn’t’ seem concerned but I had the “mom instinct” and knew it wasn’t normal. We had the doctor come in and watch it happen and she said she wanted to make some phone calls and would get back to us.
The next time we saw the doctor we learned that Paisley was having seizures and was going to be transported to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines and the ambulance was on their way to come get her. They had to start an IV in her little arm to start giving her anti-seizure medicine, what seemed like hours had passed and the ambulance finally arrived they confirmed that it was seizures that Paisley was having. They asked us a bunch of questions and went over the consents with us and were preparing her to go in the ambulance, I was given the choice to ride along with her but knowing I just had a C-section they suggested I ride down with Luke. We followed the ambulance and it was the longest 2 hours of my life-knowing my 3 day old baby was in the ambulance and I didn’t have any idea what was going on-my poor husband having to “get it together” and be the strong one and drive while I was a complete mess!
Once we arrived in Des Moines they already had Paisley in a room filled with doctors and nurses, they wanted to perform multiple tests to try to determine what was causing her to have seizures. The first test was a spinal tap, I couldn’t bring myself to stay in the room and watch them poke and prod her knowing I couldn’t hold her or do anything to make her pain go away. Luckily we had company down the hall, Paisley’s cousin Caelynn was born just 5 hours after her and was needing some help after she was born and was life flighted to Blank’s so we hung out with them until they were done poking Paisley. Most of the tests they did right away showed nothing so they wanted to do an MRI-we had an awesome nurse who was able to get her in that night around 9:30 hoping that we might have some results by morning. In the mean time she was still having seizures and the meds they were giving her weren’t making them stop. Luke and I went to bed that night in a small room they had upstairs in the hospital and I came down around midnight and the nurse was in our room sitting on a stool trying to calm Paisley down she decided it was time to try a different option with meds and the doctors agreed. Finally around midnight she had had stopped having seizures with a new meds. It was such a relief to know they found something to stop them from happening.
Unfortunately the first medicine they gave her had major side effects on Paisley and she slept for the next 4 days. They had to place a feeding tube in her nose so she could eat and they continued to do more tests, she had an Echo and EKG to check her heart and EEG to check her brain for seizure activity. When all the tests were finally complete we finally had some news as to what may have caused Paisley’s seizures, they discovered on the MRI that she had had a stroke while I was pregnant with her. They could tell it was before she was born, but couldn’t determine at what point she had it. Paisley has permanent brain damage on the left side of her brain in all 3 lobes, once you lose brain mass due to a stroke it can never recover and work again. The good news is the brain is amazing and has the capabilities to learn and store things in other places and help make up for the lost mass.
Finally on Sunday Paisley started to wake up and become more alert after the original meds wore off and we were able to hold her again and start feeding her with a bottle. She had a few tests to pass before we would be released on Tuesday to go home. Life at home was scary at first because we weren’t sure how things would look for Paisley’s future, but with lots of love and support from family, AEA and our doctors we knew that she would overcome each hurdle she encountered. The hardest part for me was the fact that they couldn’t tell me exactly what would be affected because of her brain damage, so I was constantly worrying about what might or could go wrong. We had monthly meetings with AEA and developmental specialists along with many other doctor appointments and within her first year she was able to come off her seizure medicine with no issues and passed all of her developmental milestones with flying colors.
Today she is a sassy 3 (almost 4) year old who if we didn’t tell you, you would never know she had a stroke before she was born. She is doing great in her first year of preschool and dance. We are very fortunate that she hasn’t had any residual side effects from her stroke, but we know that we still have to take it 1 day at a time and wait and see.
Until this happened to us, I had no idea an unborn baby or a child could have a stroke, we count our many blessings on how fortunate we have been!
This is a website with amazing info about pediatric strokes. http://pediatricstrokewarriors.org/index.html
Estimates reflect that stroke occurs in infants younger than 1 month of age roughly 1 out of every 2000 live births. With the risk of stroke from age 1 month to 19 years, being 5 per 100,000 children.