A little back history about our Tanner Vaughn, Tanner was born at 39 weeks and 4 days, via C-section. His Apgar score was 9 and 10, he was born 7lbs 2oz 21 inches long…PERFECT. Two days after birth he was transported to the Children’s hospital due to a weak suck and swallow and spent 2 weeks in the NICU, he received EEG’s, MRI’s all his metabolics were tested along with hearing and vision, again… PERFECT. He was discharged with having GIRD, severe acid reflux. Fast-forward some time, Tanner started rolling at five months, he was a happy healthy little boy, but I realized that reaching his milestones had come to a halt.
He started with developmental therapy through our Birth to Three program in November 2014, at this time Tanner wasn’t doing much, he would lay on his back and enjoy his surroundings but was unable to explore. Tanner had a follow up MRI in December, this was to follow up with his MRI at birth just as precaution. Due to it being the Holiday season we had to wait till the middle of January to receive the results.
I remember going into the neurologist and waiting thinking it would be an in and out kind of visit, never in a million years was I prepared for what they were going to say. The neurologist pulled up his MRI, showed and explained to me the extremely slight thinning of part of his white matter on his left side right under his occipital lobe saying that the damage happened literally right before birth or during birth, but to get an exact time would be difficult, emphasizing it was nothing that I did. I gave her this look as if to say "So what exactly happened", she looked and said Tanner took a stroke.
A STROKE, a baby took a stroke… is this even possible. Honestly, up to this point I had cried, thinking what does this mean? Will he take strokes throughout his life, will he walk, will he talk, how he will do in school, and the other thousands of question that begin to form in your mind. Of course, as the mother, you blame yourself, even though all the specialists are telling you, " it’s just one of those things that happen", is that even allowed as a response, we all want our crystal balls so we can see exactly what the future holds for our babies. To top it off, his neurologist explained to me, that most strokes happen due to a clot, Tanner’s however was not, their thinking is either his blood pressure went to high or an issue with my placenta, either way, we will never have an exact answer.
Straight after receiving his diagnosis which in medical terms is a Neonatal Cerebral Infarction, we went for more testing, I received a genetic test and Tanner received a blood clotting test, and an EEG all which thankfully came back normal.
That day I remember coming home sitting, and crying, but the crying surprisingly didn’t last long. I made calls to my family, as we live away from home, and I explained everything we found out that day. Then I looked into my living room and there were my two beautiful boys laughing, and something clicked, just like everything in life, you have two options, you either play the victim or you be your own hero. This has been my mantra throughout my whole life. I could sit here and cry and feel bad for myself or I can find knowledge and let it become my power. Every parent knows their child/children have the ability to make a difference in this world, however I knew this was Tanners mission, our family’s mission. Not only educating about the medical aspect, but also showing people that a diagnosis doesn’t have to end dreams that you once had for your child, yet open doors for them to inspire others. I wasn’t going to sit and feel bad for myself, because I am not ashamed of Tanner, I don’t’ feel bad for Tanner and in no way shape or form is Tanner ever a burden to this family, he is our heart and soul.
So, in February we added PT to our team, In May we added OT and speech, and in July of 2015 we added outpatient OT and PT as well. In total Tanner has 6 therapies a week. Our family has built a team of therapists and specialist to help push Tanner so he can become the very best version of himself. This little boy, through hard work and dedication has become quite the inspiration around here. In less than a year, in some cases 6 months, Tanner has gone from barely rolling to now working on walking!
With all the support being shown for Tanner I designed this shirt for all of us to wear in support of not only Tanner, but all of our Pediatric Stroke Warriors out there, these children are beyond amazing and are nothing short of a miracle, they are the true definition of hero.
I ask all of Tanner’s team, to purchase a shirt and wear it with pride and help advocate the importance of early intervention and raising strong amazing children, give them their voice to be inspirations and true Warriors. We are all a part of something bigger than a diagnosis, and together our children will have the strength to make a true difference!
You can see the TEAMTANMAN design at https://www.booster.com/teamtanman