For mom and dad, the birth of Brooklyn marked a joyous moment, the beginning of an exciting chapter.
Within a week of her birth, everything changed. Scott says his baby girl began acting “funny.” She was screaming and throwing up. Nothing they could do would calm her. They took Brooklyn to South Health Campus and within hours she was taken to the Emergency Department at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. It was there a nurse noticed that Brooklyn was making repetitive motions with the right side of her body, but not the left. It was a CT scan that showed little Brooklyn was experiencing an excessive brain bleed. Her heart rate began to drop, so experts rushed her to the Operating Room where they intubated her. Little Brooklyn spent several days in the PICU before she was transferred to Unit 3.
But that was just the beginning for Brooklyn and her parents because Brooklyn was diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a condition in which spinal fluid builds up in the brain, causing dangerous pressure. It can enlarge a baby’s head and lead to serious complications.
Thankfully, Scott and Meagan had a world-class neurosurgical team in Brooklyn’s corner. The team quickly mobilized to ease the pressure on baby Brooklyn by surgically draining the fluid from her head. Still just a baby, Brooklyn needed round-the-clock care while her body recovered from that surgery. She spent seven weeks in hospital until she was strong enough for the next surgery: The placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, or VP shunt, which acts like a valve to relieve pressure on the brain caused by excess fluid, which is redirected to the patient’s stomach. It would be another week before Brooklyn would see her home again.
They’re back home now and settling into a new normal, which includes regular monitoring by experts at the hospital. It is unknown what – if any – long-term effects there are from Brooklyn’s initial acute injury – time will tell. In the meantime, Brooklyn will continue to be followed by neurology, and her shunt will have to be replaced at some point down the road. Scott says they are taking it one day at a time, getting into routine, and are just grateful they have the Alberta Children’s Hospital to rely on. “It’s a relief to know we have such experienced surgeons here who are really wonderful at their jobs,” says Scott.
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