CNS Trains a New Mom - and Patient - How to Care for Her Baby

CNS Trains a New Mom - and Patient - How to Care for Her Baby

In honor of Mother’s Day, we share the incredible case of Nicole, a young mother, who was admitted to CNS’ residential program after suffering a stroke seven months into her pregnancy. On June 18th 2017, 31-year-old Nicole started feeling chest pains while at her sister’s house in Midland, Texas, as she was celebrating Father’s Day with her husband and two young boys. She was soon rushed to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. “I remember telling my husband that my head hurt. I was in and out of consciousness. Then my speech started to slur, and that’s all I can remember,” says Nicole.

She had suffered a stroke due to pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy condition that causes high blood pressure and organ damage. As a result, Nicole had to deliver her baby prematurely. The little girl weighed just 2 pounds, 9 ounces. After her newborn was released from the neonatal intensive care unit in Odessa, Texas, Nicole made the five hour journey to CNS’ Dallas location to receive stroke treatment. Texas NeuroRehab Center in Austin referred Nicole to CNS.

On August 24th, Nicole’s journey with CNS began. “She arrived in a wheelchair, unable to walk, and struggling to speak, with limited movement in her right arm,” Says Amanda Cambra, Regional Marketing Director in Texas, and one of the people to initially meet with Nicole.

“She was a unique case,” Amanda remembers. “She needed to relearn how to care for her new baby.”

Over the next two months, Nicole’s occupational therapy involved caring for a child by practicing with a training baby doll. “My therapist helped me relearn how to dress a baby, change diapers, prepare a bottle and feed a young child,” said Nicole. “I even practiced walking with the training baby, using a front baby carrier strapped to my body.”

“She learned how to compensate, as she could not use her right hand,” said Brittnie Wells, Nicole’s Case Manager.

“The residential portion of the program was also vital,” Brittnie continues. “When Nicole arrived, she needed moderate assistance for daily routines such as showering, dressing, toileting, doing laundry and cooking. We addressed this with weight bearing and range of motion exercises to re-educate the extremity.”

Nicole remembers how CNS helped her relearn the essential daily tasks she needed to know. “They helped me practice everything I would have to do to care for my family,” she said.

Her biggest milestones, however, were learning to walk again and improving her speech.

Today, Nicole is back with her family in Midland. She can walk with a cane, speak, and care for her 10 month old baby and two other children, with minimal help.

“I can do almost everything,” says Nicole. “I still have trouble moving my right hand, but I’m working on it.”