Jessie's Story

By Desiree Black

Tell us your story.

On June 19, 2007, I got a phone call that would change my life as I knew it. When I got home, there were police cars, fire trucks, and an ambulance in front of my house. My husband met me at the front door and told me that I couldn't go inside, that my nine month old daughter Jessie was unresponsive and blue.

That is a feeling that I will never forget. The paramedics told us that she had gone into a diabetic shock. Up to this point, our daughter had been perfectly healthy, but diabetes was prominent in both of our families. We were told that they were going to airlift Jessie to Children's Hospital in Seattle.

After a very long night of doctors, nurses, and family, my husband and I were called into the room to meet with the Neurosurgeon that had been put in charge of Jessie's case. He told us that she had had a stroke that concentrated in the cerebellum, and that she had lost 80% of it. He told us that the pressure was building and that he believed she would need to have a decompression surgery. The resident and the intern stated we should do it right away.

My husband asked Dr. Ojemann, the neurosurgeon, what his gut instinct said. We were told his gut said to wait. So we waited. Jessie crashed during the night. The next morning, Dr. Ojemann came in and said we needed to get her into surgery right away. Five hours later, we were called into a little room where we found out that our little girl had made it through the surgery, but she was still in a coma. He said she should wake up in about five to seven days. Two days later, she started waking up. Five days after surgery, we were moved out of PICU. Everyone called her the miracle baby.

We found out that no one expected her to live through that first night. We were told that she could have problems with everything from her ability to walk, to her fine motor skills not developing due to her cerebellum dying. Three weeks after being given less than a 1% chance of recovery, she came home.

What does Children's mean to you, your child and your family?

Children's Hospital and all of the doctor's and nurses and support staff were our life support in a time of our lives where our world crashed down around us. If not for the care and knowledge that all of the staff who worked on Jessie's case, our little miracle would not be with us today. She has beaten the odds that the stroke has thrown at her.

She is walking, starting to talk and she has her fine motor skills, all of which we were told may not happen. The follow up treatment she received was as top-notch as the initial care she received. When she went in for her follow up with Dr. Ojemann, he got to see first hand what his miraculous work can do. She has come farther in the last eight months than we were told she would over the course of several years. Last month, at her hemoc and neurosurgery appointments, she was discharged from hemoc, and only has to see neurosurgery every six months.

The staff at Children's gave my daughter a second chance at life, when the odds told us otherwise. For that, myself, my husband, and Jessie's 2 older brothers, will forever be thankful. Dr. Ojemann is someone that we will always be indebted to, and one that we will never forget. At her last visit, I asked Dr. Ojemann if they ever figured out what caused the stroke in an otherwise healthy, normal baby. He said we may never know, but it appears that she may just have survived SIDS.