What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Each year in the United States alone, medical treatment is sought for an estimated 1,400-1,600 babies who have been shaken. Don’t let your child become just another statistic! Tell everyone who cares for your child “Never shake a baby!”

Friday, April 8, 2011

Jackson's Story

Another little who is a survivor of Shaken Baby Syndrome, a hero in so many ways.

Jackson Alexander Greer was born September 21st, 2009. He was a beautiful, healthy 6lbs. 15oz. boy. Jackson was always a great baby, a mama's boy from day 1. We did have troubles finding a formula that would work with his digestive system. Jackson only cried during diaper change, wanting to be held, or if he had a stomach ache. All those can be easily taken care of, patience is the key to having children. I went back to work when Jackson was 6 weeks old. One of my friends was opening her own daycare and wanted to watch my boys to get started. She had 2 kids of her own. She never once told me she couldn't handle Jackson. She always said he was a good baby along with his brother James. On December 8, 2009 Brandi had sent me a few text messages at work saying Jackson had fallen off the bed. She said she was changing him, reached over to grab a wipe, James pulled on the blanket, and Jackson rolled off the bed. The thing I didn't understand was why didn't she see that happening? Jackson supposedly landed on his stomach and cried for about 30 minutes then he was fine. I'm one of those paranoid moms so I left work and rushed Jackson to the pediatrician. Dr. Porter of Idaho Falls Pediatrics was the one checking Jackson over. To tell you the truth he made me feel like an idiot for bringing him in there. I told him the story and he looked at me with this dumb founded face, and asked why I brought him in? HE'S 3 MONTHS OLD AND FELL OFF A BED! I asked him to please check him out, so he felt his neck and his ribs and said he was fine. He then sent us on our way. Not once did it cross my mind that someone I trusted would shake my defenseless baby. That's something you only hear on the news. After that incident Jackson started to get more and fussier. He also wasn't gaining weight. On December 16th Jackson started throwing up his whole bottle; none of it would stay down. So the next day I took him right in and once again Dr. Porter looked at him. His original doctor was Smith who was always busy. He told me he had acid reflex, which that was wrong I later found out. He actually had a concussion. He prescribed some medicine for Jackson and told me to give the medicine a couple of days. The medicine kind of seemed like it was working, but he was still fussy, throwing up somewhat, and he had diarrhea. When I called to ask about it the nurse told me that was normal. The last day Brandi watched him was December 23rd. I was getting off at 8 pm and would be leaving for California. We went to go see Jason's family, the father of my kids. When i got to her house she already had Jackson in his car seat asleep. I left to go meet Jason at his house so we could start driving. Before we got to Twin Falls I asked Jason to please pull over I needed to check on Jackson he wasn't fussing at all. I pulled him out of his car seat and he had spit up with what looked like his brown medicine on him. So i changed him and talked to him, but he was acting strange. So we got back in the car and started driving again. I called my mother telling her about it, but she said maybe he was car sick? Before we got to Elko Nevada I had pulled Jackson out of his car seat and just held him. He wasn't eating or fussing. We got a hotel room, called Brandi to see if she noticed anything different, and also called the on call nurse. The on call nurse told me to try giving him 2 ounces of water, and Brandi didn't answer. I slept off and on through the night with Jackson laying right next to me and right on my chest. About 4 am Christmas Eve he started twitching on his right side. I was really freaked out so called the on call nurse once again, and she told me she would have to look at him to know what the twitching was. Brandi finally called me in the morning, but she said she noticed nothing and started to cry about her marital problems. I told her I would talk to her later, and kept calling the pediatrician. I never could get a hold of anyone, so I took a quick shower, and that's when they called. So I called them back but I got no one once again. I told Jason I just wanted to get him to a good hospital. So we started on our way again. From Elko to the top of Donner Pass I held Jackson the whole time. I was so worried I didn't want to put him down. He wasn't eating, babbling, and his right side would twitch. During the time I kept in touch with my mother, Jason's mother, my sister, and my best friend. I did get Jackson to drink 3 ounces of pedialyte and sprite mixed together. We had reached Elk Grove, California, where Jason's grandmother lived. We dropped off James and Jason's older sister. We then went to the emergency room. Jackson was so white and frail it was the worst I have seen my baby. When I got him in the E.R. they took his weight and I explained everything. He weighed 8 lbs, defiantly not normal for a 3 1/2 month old. We went into another room, explained everything 2 more times, and that's when Jackson had another twitching moment. The twitching was a seizure. He had another seizure and died right there in front of me. Everything happened so fast after that, so many doctors and nurses were running around. We went to another room where they started to work on Jackson. I couldn't stay since they were putting in a ventilator, so they put Jason and I in a little tiny room away from my baby. Wrong thing to do for a mama who loves her children. I started calling my little brother begging him to go wake up our parents to tell them Jackson stopped breathing. I couldn't handle it anymore so I went by Jackson's room. A nurse stood there with me and talked to try to calm me down. I finally got to go see my baby, but I had to leave so they could go to a cat scan. They then transferred him to U.C. Davis Hospital in Sacramento.

I never left his side. He had 4 doctors when we got to ICU, but not one thought he was going to make it. We got there at midnight Christmas day. I cried and cried and just held my little man's hand. I slept on a bed next to him. Later that day I left to go shower and see James. I ate dinner but wanted to leave the whole time. I watched James open some Christmas presents, and after that I left to go back. I took Jackson his stocking and glow worm I had gotten him for Christmas. I never wanted to leave him. I was a complete mess I couldn't finish my sentences and just cried.

On the 25th I did ask the doctor if it was shaken baby syndrome. He explained to me that his little brain was so bruised and so much blood was in his little head that his soft spot was no longer soft. it was hard as a rock and bulging out. I called my family right away to let them know. My sister flew out to put my head back on straight and to be there with me. Thank God I had her at that time; I would have never got everything straight. Words cannot express how thankful I am to her. On the 26th I had to make a decision to either put a tube in Jackson's head to drain the blood or not. Of course I chose the tube. So much blood came out of his little head. I couldn't hold him for a whole week because of the ventilator. He was sedated during that time, but I still told him all the time he was so strong and could make it through this. I would sing to him, tell him stories, talk about the future, and tell him how much I loved him. So many tests were done on him during that time, but we had to do it. January 2nd was the first day I got to hold him again; they had taken out the ventilator. That was the most wonderful feeling in the world I didn't want to put him down, but of course had to. We finally got to come home January 15th which was relief. A week after that I got Jackson to hold his own head up and he started moving his right side. A mother’s love does a lot of healing on its own. Our stay in the hospital Jackson got a great formula that helped him, Similac Alimentum, and he had to relearn how to eat. He couldn't move his right side and no longer could hold his head up. A respiratory and occupational therapist would come to see Jackson everyday. The occupational was to work on his eating with a bottle, no longer a feeding tube. We had many meetings with doctors to check on Jackson's progress and to make sure we understood everything. We learned that Jackson was shook the first time on the 8th of December that's when he got a fractured shoulder. The throwing up was a concussion, not acid reflex, and the last time he was shook was the last day she watched him, the 23rd. His little body couldn't take it anymore so he slowly started to die on me. She shook him so hard his brain was bruised from hitting his skull and his brain stem had been damaged. He does have permanent brain and stem damage to this day, but you would really never know. The doctors weren't sure if he would ever crawl, walk, or be able to talk, but he has proved he is a miracle. He is so strong and I'm so proud of him. He is the sweetest little man and has a gorgeous smile. Jackson goes to therapy twice a week for 2 hours each day. He has occupational and speech therapy, which has helped tremendously. He did have a balance issue, but that was due to the brain stem damage. His right eye now goes lazy so he wears a patch one hour a day along with trying to get him to wear glasses. I've seen such an improvement on him, that I thank God every day to letting me keep my miracle baby. He is currently 7 months behind on speech, but he will catch right up. He is so smart. For me it has been a challenge in life, but I stay strong for my kids. I do have nightmares of Brandi coming to my house and shaking Jackson again. I get paranoid a lot and only trust few to watch him or any of my kids. I do cry to this day, but its only because just the thought that I almost lost my baby just kills me. I just try not to dwell on the past, look towards a nice healthy future with my children, and give my babies hugs and kisses every day. I've also talked to other mothers of children who have either been survivors or victims of shaken baby syndrome. Everyone needs to know more and more about SBS than what they do. People just need to realize babies cry because that's their way of talking, and to just walk away if you can’t handle the crying anymore. Children are the most important to our future. So please pass the knowledge around to not shake a baby. It is murder and should have more punishment than what it does.

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