Karter was born on 6/26/16 via emergency C section after I, his mother Tiffany, experienced a spontaneous fetal maternal hemorrhage. Other than decreased fetal movement that day, there were no signs or symptoms that he was in distress. As a result of this rare type of bleed, Karter suffered a massive Hypoxic (lack of oxygen) Ischemic (loss of blood) Encephalopathy (affecting the brain) injury. This is otherwise known as an HIE injury.
After 4 days in the NICU, the team of doctors gave us no other choice but to remove life support. They explained his brain injury was too severe to have any quality of life. We were told he would never be able to suck, swallow, breathe, see, hear, walk, or talk on his own. It was beyond devastating. On July 1, 2016 we removed life support, and we braced ourselves to say goodbye forever. To everyone's surprise Karter survived 2 days in the NICU after life support was removed, so they sent us home on hospice. It was an excruciatingly painful and agonizing time.
Karter continued to fight for his life during the next weeks, and thanks to our decision to readmit him to the hospital, his life was saved. The first year of his life was a giant roller coaster, not knowing if Karter would live to see his first birthday.
Not only did Karter survive, but he is thriving and progressing at his own rate. Of course his injury has left him with several challenges. He has been officially diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, microcephaly (secondary to the HIE injury), has a g-tube, is considered non-mobile/non-verbal and has seizures. While he is globally delayed in every sense of the word, these labels do not define him. He has the sweetest, silliest personality and most infectious smile! And, most importantly, he brings us joy, gratitude, and perspective of what’s important.
See his caringbridge link for the full story of the first year:
This video recaps Karter's journey with his HIE injury. Follow us on instagram to see more content like this!
Karter’s birth injury and subsequent diagnoses left us with shattered hearts, mountains of fear, and insurmountable doubt about how we would “do” this life. From the moment he was born it felt as though we were hit by a giant F5 tornado, with no resources to clean up our disaster. How could we ever recover? What does this mean for our child’s life? Our family’s future? At times it seemed the grief clouds would never clear.
But we are here to tell you, with time, the storm does subside. The rain lets up. Real sunshine will appear again. And, although the weather will always be unpredictable, you CAN navigate it. Albeit difficult, you WILL figure this out. And if you’re on our site, I can promise you that we are here to help in any way we can along the way. You are NOT alone. We see you. We are WITH you.