In my darkest moment -- 24 hours after my son, Luc, was born and 12 hours after he first turned blue in my arms -- I sat on a worn sofa between my husband, Mike, and the hospital chaplain. Mike was crying, the chaplain was praying, and I was feeling utterly, nauseatingly helpless.
I had never felt such shock, such numbing fear. My vision was blurred, my hearing seemed muffled, and I couldn't comprehend what was happening in the intensive care unit. Was that nurse really pumping air into Luc's lungs while his beautiful body stiffened with seizures? Did I really hear the doctor say "spinal tap," "CT scan," and "possible brain damage?" Why was my healthy son -- who was born full-term at just over 7 pounds, after an uncomplicated pregnancy -- in the same unit as fragile preemies?
After praying for an answer for three endless days and nights, we received one. Unfortunately, that answer came in the form of an MRI image. On the left half of Luc's brain scan, what looked like a large black hole seared through his otherwise healthy gray matter. Our newborn son had suffered a stroke. One-sixth of his neurons had been destroyed, and his body reacted by having seizures.
Mike and I were dumbfounded. A baby can have a stroke? One of my first thoughts was whether I caused this. But most of all I wondered what this meant for Luc.