Life After Stroke: Federico

A chair in a waiting room. This is what I remember about the moment when, during the ultrasound of the eighth month, the doctor told us that "something was wrong". I remember the legs that were plotting and that chair, where I could not sit, waiting for the doctor to write the report and call us again in the study. 

After the first diagnosis, many other chairs were held in other waiting rooms. Before, during the last weeks of pregnancy, then after the birth of Frederick. 

Those last weeks of pregnancy weighed me like a boulder on my stomach, because my baby had been sick in my belly, because I, his mother, had not been able to protect him. Now what's going to happen? What problems would our baby have? The fear mingled with the desire to know, on the one hand I wanted to always keep it inside me, to avoid knowing, to avoid to make it grow with some problems, but on the other I wanted to hold him to me and apologize....

Childbirth was a real nightmare: an attempt at natural childbirth but much, too, medicalized, with too many wires that monitored him and me, too many doctors who entered and came out of the room, too much pain. At a certain point, Frederick turned his head and did not seem more intent to go out. Maybe he had enough of that too. One could not risk that he had other sufferings during childbirth, so the gynecologist decided to do an emergency caesarean.

After birth, I was made to see Frederick for a few moments, before hospitalied him in the ICU to check what damage had left the stroke. I managed to see him only 24 hours later, 24 hours of suffering for Caesarean section and for the lack of my little puppy to tighten. But there was dad with him, at all times when visiting times allowed him. When I managed to hold it in my arms I cried with happiness. For a moment I stopped thinking about "what would have been". After three very long days, Frederick was finally able to come to the room with me, but the doctors ' visits and the various analyses he had to do kept him away from me for too long. And when she was with me she cried, crying so much. And I didn't know how to do it. How to handle anxiety, the fear of being mom for the first time and the dread of not knowing what child would be, what problems he would have had. What if his crying was a pain that I didn't understand? 

When we finally got home, Federico kept crying. And me with him. Luckily there were check-ups, who were reassuring us because he was growing well. And then there was the MRI, done at two months, that allowed the doctors to understand what problems he would have in the future. We were told that the area of the brain hit by the stroke had caused a hemiplegia on the left side, i.e. it would have problems in the movement of the left area of the body. And then maybe epilepsy, language problems, vision problems, cognitive problems and attention.

The neurologist was raised by the MRI report, but we were confused and afraid. But we relied on his experience and we did all that he advised us. 

And so we started making him do physiotherapy, twice a week, 20 minutes by highway from home. At three and a half months we have undertaken a path of physiotherapy that goes on even now, at 4 years, changing three therapists because of the complicated organization of ASL. 

Being a parent of a child that should be followed in every gesture is challenging, physically and especially mentally. A little late but I realized that I needed a vent valve too, and then I started a path from a psychologist, suspended for lack of time, but that I should resume shortly, because really important. And I started working again, with less enthusiasm than before, zero career opportunities, a little mobbing... But I just want to leave the house, think of something else for a few hours, talk about frivolities to the coffee maker and return home more charge. Managing everything is really complicated, but the mom and dad of a child who survived a stroke gain some extra power. The first is to tidy up priorities in life. and enjoy every single moment, even the morning ones together to go and return from physiotherapy, that the ' healthy ' children can not have, because at that time they are already in school. 

Although Frederick now gives us confidence, because we know that with the right amount of will and teaching we help him to find his way to autonomy, we continue to think what is best for him, and our life has changed, we have changed. We know that as a family we can invest a hurricane, but we wrap ourselves in a hug and survive. 

Alessandra