Friday, July 10, 2009


Meet Avery.

Avery is our youngest son.

He's blond haired, blue-eyed, squishy in more places than I can count, and has completed his first year of life.

He has two middle names, Voreneus Sidney.

When Avery was near the age of seven months (a little before a little after), I noticed his almost complete use of his left hand. I was so excited, a lefty! Finally one of us will be using their right brain. Over time, Avery continued to use his left hand, leaving his right usually dangling at his side. After experimenting with toys, nuks, small items, I realized he wasn't using his right hand at all. He wasn't trying to get up on his hands and knees, he wasn't crawling, and rolling from stomach to back and back to stomach was a chore.

When I brought this to the pediatrician's attention, Avery was referred to the neurology department at Children's Hospital. After a series of questions, poking, prodding, pushing, and shoving, the neurologist sat down and gave me the news.

Avery, more than likely, suffered a stroke in utero. The portion of the brain that controls the right side of his body doesn't seem to be working. With therapy, he can retrain his brain to start sending signals to that side. It's the brain area that isn't working, the right side itself is just missing the commands. There is a roadblock set up in his brain that is keeping the signals from crossing over. This has yet to be confirmed by an MRI (Avery was scheduled to get one in June, but has been suffering with a summer cold that absolutely REFUSES to go away enough so that he can be sedated), but the neuro is almost positive that this is what has happened. He has classic symptoms to a classic case. She also told me that it wasn't my fault. Nothing I did while pregnant caused the stroke to happen. It just happened (I looked it up...there is no known just happens). I was told to not (stop) beat myself up for realizing there was a problem with Avery so late because up until the seventh month or so, most of babies movements are involuntary muscle jerks which make it seem like the baby is using both sides of the body.

Here is what we can expect from our bright eyed bushy boy.

He will skip the crawling stage more likely (since he is over a year and not crawling...more likely than not). However, he hasn't let this get in the way of his exploration. Avery's method of travel includes rolling, pushing his legs (both of them...seems the right side of his body will mimic what the left side is doing) to reposition his body so he can roll where he chooses, and scooting around on his rear. The scooting, which consists of him being in an upright sitting position is basically him scooting across the floor using his buns of steel, his legs, and feet. I'll get a video of it up here someday. It's the funniest thing I've seen a kid do sans none! It's hysterical. The good doctor says that with therapy, he will regain the use of the right side of his body again, but that his mental learning will be slower than the rest of the kids his age.

Boy, that was a hard one for me to swallow. I think I was handling myself pretty darn good up until that part. Had a hard time not crying at this point. I think I did. And not because I was shamed at having a child with a possible learning disability. Don't even go there. Having worked with children with disabilities, I know first hand how tough it is for them, the ones that truly have a learning disability. That particular road will be a hard one for him. Maybe I did cry a bit in self pity, but my heart was breaking in advance for the struggles my son would have to endure in the future.

Him? How does he feel?

He thinks its cake.


  1. I'm so glad you've gotten some answers! He's so adorable :)

  2. What a beautiful little man! I have a friend whose grandson suffered a stroke in utero. He's about 8 or 9 now and it wasn't until he was a couple years old that they figured it out. He's had his issues but he's doing well now. I totally understand your concerns for the struggles Avery is bound to face but with a mom like you and the support system he'll have, I think he'll do well, too. Besdies, HE doesn't know he's got issues.....he'll just live!

  3. he's so cute. that's such a sad story. I understand the worry of the struggles he'll face. those are your struggles too.

  4. First - thanks for sharing pics of this obviously sweet and happy little guy. Gorgeous goes without saying, but maybe I'll say it anyway.

    With the proper interventions he should fare very well. Brain research has been so hot in the last decade or two - we've made advances so rapidly it's been hard to keep up.

    I'm going to second Sandy on his luckiness to have a mom like you and a strong support system.

    Also, his full name is so awesome I'll be saying it all day. All of your kids have awesome names.

  5. What a perfect little angel you have!! He is TOO cute. I love him in that cute but huge santa hat.

    God chose the perfect mother for such a treasure of a child.


  6. You have a beautiful son! What great photos. Avery may have more struggles than some other kids, but he doesn't look like that is going to slow him down one bit! :o)

  7. What. A. Cutie! Can I come over and play with him? He's adorable!
    I am sure that whatever life throws at him he is going to get through it with the help of his fabulous, capable, supportive parents. (And an awesome name.)
    Thanks for sharing this and please keep us posted.

  8. Trust me when I tell you, it is absolutely amazing what a couple of great therapists can do with a baby/toddler/child! Both my two little grandkids here are autistic and both of them are doing great, thanks to having had therapy since they were 20 months and 18 months, respectively. Kurtis -the younger child -is now three but had some physical issues and in addition to the behavior and speech therapists, he also had an occupational therapist work with him. And the therapists only came to the house for an hour each week per therapist! It never ceases to amaze me how much both of these kids has learned, how far they have come and how this has changed the expectations for them for the future too. We have a great agency here that handles assigning all the therapists as well as TSS aides for the kids and none of these things have cost us a penny to acquire either which is really super cause no way could Mandy and Bill afford all these services for the children otherwise. Since they discovered Avery's issues this early, and the specialist is confident that they can "retrain" his brain to accept the commands, it sounds to me like a very good outcome is on the way for him! And he will do just fine and dandy! And all before you even realize it too, I bet. Have faith and think positive thoughts then forge ahead.

  9. Oh, Alex, he truly is beautiful!! I'm sitting here all teary eyed and goose bumpy from reading your story. It's sad, because I know I would be so worried about the struggles he will go through too, but YOU ARE AWESOME and he will be fine! How can he not? Look at that face! So cute. I wanna squeeze him. Can I give him a squeeze? Maybe you can squeeze him for me. : )

  10. wow! I've never heard of such a thing. Sounds like he's got a great support group--and he is so adorable

  11. He is toooo Cute, He looks like a fighter though so hang in there, My Prayers are with you and your family. He is truly beautiful!

  12. What a lovely, happy-looking little man he is! :)
    Best of luck to you with the next steps!

  13. Avery is so very, very cute! :)

    I'm glad you know what the problem is, that's the first step in working your way through it.

    I have seen other babies scoot on their bottoms before - it is very funny!

    Good luck, and I look forward to hearing other stories from you about his progress.

  14. I know this sounds like an echo but it is also true!! Avery is sooooo cute!!! I hope my baby is half as cute as him!!

    He is going to go through life just fine. Like others have already said, there is plenty of help out there. But most importantly, he has a great mom and a great family behind him!!!

    I wish I could give him (and you!!) a big hug. Get Wes to give you guys a big hugs for me, will you?!?! (Please Wes!!)

    I can't wait for the scooting video!!!!

  15. What a touching had me a bit welled up. And the photos are so precious. Good luck in all that is ahead.

  16. First..(sniff) and (((hugs))) to you and to sweet Avery. He's adorable. He will be fine. You are a strong woman that has survived hardships that might crumble most. Avery, while still so young is able to learn your strength and add it to his own. Plus it helps loads to have a bunch of older siblings that aid and assist him in case anybody decides to bug him when he gets older. ;)

  17. He's so cute! I hope the therapy helps!

  18. Gosh Alex, what to say.
    First, Avery is just adaorable, a total boy that looks like he could charm you to no end!
    Secondly, I know that even with therapy and all that can be done, it breaks a momma's heart, we want everything we can for our babies.
    You are so wonderful, I know you will help him find his way........good momma's do that!

  19. I only recently found your blog - and haven't commented here before, but I sure want to now.

    I have a friend who had a son weeks after my own daughter was born. He - like Avery - was a very normal little guy, and they only discovered something was wrong with him when he was around 8 months old - up until then he'd been doing what other babies do, but now they noticed he wouldn't sit and crawl as much as other babies.

    He was diagnosed with a small brain haemorage -probably during birth - and the parents were very upset. What would ever become of him?

    Since then he has grown, and he is now a very cute 6 year old, and is adored by everybody. He has his difficulties, but also a very mild temper and almost always a big smile on his face.
    He learnt to walk and talk - and do all the other things children do, only he was 1 or 2 years behind. He too has learning difficulties, but has started in a special school, and eventually he'll learn to read and write, only later than usual. I belive he'll be doing just fine in the future as well!

    Off course you'll feel despair at times - but don't despair too much.
    Your boy seems very happy - and I think you should focus on that.
    He will have learn to get by with his little "difficulties", but as long as he has a loving family supporting him I'm sure he will do just fine.
    Best wishes! FP