Brooklynn Garth, my little girl, was born at 31 weeks, weighing just 3lbs and 3oz. Although born early, Brooklyn came into this world healthy and strong. Her blood work and head scans were perfect, and she only stayed on oxygen for a short time. Those were the happiest moments of my life, seeing my baby girl breathing on her own, maintaining a peaceful heart rate. I stayed by Brooklynn’s side every minute, holding her close to my heart and talking to her. While in the NICU, kangaroo time was our favorite. I made sure I kept her warm and close to me. I could tell she was so at peace in my arms, as I constantly kept an eye on her heart machine.
Brooklynn had come so far and I was determined to bring her home. I knew I would need to stay close to my baby girl and help her grow stronger – which she did. Her feedings increased while still on a feeding tube and she was now able to interact with me, using her eyes and different body movements. It was absolutely amazing!
That is until, suddenly, my Brooklynn took a turn for the worst. I remembering walking into the NICU, not even reaching Brooklynn’s POD, to find my baby fighting for breath. Her chest was in the air and I could see she was only barely breathing. Immediately, I broke down. I didn’t understand how this had happened. I had a healthy girl one minute and the next she was fighting for her life. How could this be?
My Brooklynn almost died on me. It was the most devastating and terrifying time of my life. The doctors immediately hooked her back up to the machines she had been on. At this point, Brooklynn was on 3 different antibiotics and pain medications. Her heart rate was all over the place, machines were breathing for her, and she wasn’t able to respond to me like she was before. All I could do was pray to God and talk to her.
It took 4 days for the lab to find the root cause – E. coli in her blood stream. They began treating the strain immediately and by the grace of God, Brooklynn began responding to the treatment. My baby came back to life and was strong as ever. Brooklynn was now able to emphatically respond to everything and anything, which was breathtaking for me. Coming out the other side, Brooklynn began to reveal more of her personality. I was thrilled, knowing then she was going to become the wonderful child she is today — a strong, ambitious, conservative and passionate little girl, whom I am so proud of.
The second head scan revealed that my Brooklynn was developing a small brain hemorrhage. They said this is one reasons Brooklynn is so unique. She has Cerebral Palsy.
Brooklynn’s condition has made it hard for her to walk for 3 and 1/2 years. She started therapy at 14 months. Since, she’s received Botox injections and serial casting to help with the muscle tightness she suffers from. However, in her situation, these procedures are only temporary solutions. The lack of results led me to make the incredibly difficult decision to schedule a major spinal nerve ending surgery called Dorsal Rhizotomy. It was the absolute hardest decision I had ever had to make. I was terrified for my little girl. A third head scan was conducted before the surgery, and nothing else negative was found.
Thankfully, the procedure was a success. My Brooklynn can now move her legs, feet and toes! She can stand with both heels on the ground, balancing in one spot! She now walks around likes she’s in charge and is a happy and spirited little girl. I have many people to thank for her success, Siskin Children’s Institute being on the top of that list.
Siskin is one of the best things that has happened to Brooklynn and me. SCI helped my child gain her independence. The whole staff is familiar with Brooklynn’s disability and have helped me learn how to better support her. One therapist on site even walked me through the Dorsal Rhizotomy procedure. She helped me understand and become comfortable with the idea of Brooklynn going through with the procedure, despite my fears.
The Lord has blessed my life with Siskin Children’s Institute, where their staff work endlessly supporting Brooklynn. The Institute has filled me with hope, seeing other children growing and learning with one another. It keeps me smiling. I can’t begin to express what an amazing place Siskin Children Institute is for children with special needs. My Brooklynn is now able to communicate well with her peers and teachers! I am so proud of what she has accomplished despite all she has endured and so thankful to Siskin for helping her along the way.
--Tiara, Brooklynn's Mother