Because of her stroke, her doctor told her she was
unlikely to have a baby. Then she got pregnant a month
after telling husband Tim that she couldn’t. That was 2008.
“Oops and yippee for us,” she said. Because of the
stroke, her pregnancy was considered high risk, and she
was transferred to a different hospital in the city. Son
“Jason got chylothorax in my belly at about five months.
We had to go for 3-D ultrasounds three times a week to see
how he was doing. If he wasn’t breathing on any given day,
they would have taken him right then,” she said.
After the stroke, she had challenges with edema
(swelling), which she controlled by watching her weight.
But when she got pregnant, she had to wear compression
stockings for several months: “That was like getting a
sausage into its casing. Five weeks before the due date,
I got wicked bad pre-eclampsia: I was septic, toxic and
very sick.” When they were examining her for that, her
doctors discovered that she had been having contractions
but didn’t know it because her ability to feel pain on the
right side is affected. They were able to take baby Jason
by C-section. He stayed in the NICU for 12 days; Rachel
stayed in the hospital for four days. Both baby and
mother did great at home.
She considers the stroke a gift: “If I hadn’t been sent to a
high-risk practice because of my stroke, Jason’s chylothorax
might have gone undetected,” Rachel said. “And then what,
sickness? Death? But thanks to my stroke, we both are here
and happy! I credit my stroke with that.”
Editor’s Note: For more of Rachel’s story, visit her blog.
Lisha and Michael Norris
When Lisha Norris, 50, of Riverside, California, had
a stroke on August 1, 2011, initially it was described to
her and husband Michael as minor, but a blood clot to a
small area of her brain stem had major consequences —
For weeks in the hospital, the 26-year veteran
correctional officer had no movement at all; a
tracheotomy allowed her to breathe. One eye was
shut. Lisha was in ICU for 60 days and then in an
acute rehab for 100 days. Through those efforts she
gradually developed very limited movement on the
right side of her body, neck, her right index finger and
faint movement in her right ankle and toes when given
commands from the doctor.
Lisha was discharged for home in January 2012, and
Michael, who also worked in the California Department
of Corrections, tried to continue working while he
took care of his wife of only two years. But after nine
months, he retired to be Lisha’s full-time caregiver.
Recently, Michael has gotten additional assistance
by having a nurse there 24 hours a day, as well as
two Certified Nursing Assistants who work part time.
“Sometimes I feel like I can’t come up for air because
there is always so much to be done,” Michael said.
Survivor Lisha Norris