Thursday, June 27th, 2013
Here’s something that may be hard for others to understand about parenting a child with special needs. I can’t imagine having a kid other than the one I got. I adore Max. I worship him. I think he’s an amazing child. Although I was devastated when he first got a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, now I accept. Max’s CP is part of who he is.
But if I could have prevented his cerebral palsy at birth, I would have. And so whenever I hear about promising treatments for cerebral palsy, I feel a mix of sadness for Max, and happiness that other babies will be spared the condition. That was my reaction when I read about a breakthrough procedure that spared an Australian baby girl from brain damage, the cause of CP.
After Mila McGeachie had a breach birth that left the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, doctors cooled her body down to 33 degrees to prevent brain damage. They kept her iced for three days, then gradually warmed her up to 37 degrees. Now 10 weeks old, her mom says she is a “normal baby.”
The cooling treatment—called therapeutic hypothermia—slows down the metabolism, and allows the brain to recover. Experts say that for every six babies who receives it, one will be will be prevented from developing CP or dying, and that more research is needed to help more babies. This same treatment is proving promising for adult stroke victims.
I think back to the hospital where Max was born, when a resident said to me and my husband, somberly, “Your baby is having seizures.” Oh, how I wish we could go back in time. It hurts to think about it. And yet, I am to excited to know that this treatment will surely save other children from cerebral palsy.
Image of three ice cubes via ShutterstockAdd a Comment