Please welcome 2 year old Asher and his parents Shannon & Christina Ridley of Waterford, MI to the family!!!!
Our two year old son, Asher, suffered an anoxic brain injury after open heart surgery. Although our sweet Asher faced some challenges, born ten weeks premature, preliminary heart surgery at 5 pounds and 5 weeks in the NICU, he was a happy baby doing typical things at his own pace. He loved bath time, rolling on the floor and eating finger foods in his high chair.
In November 2015, his life changed. Asher was 13 months old when he had a second heart surgery to repair a congenital heart condition called tetralogy of fallot, a combination of four related heart defects.
He was very unstable during and after the surgery and his only chance to pull through was being placed on a machine called ECMO that allows the heart and lungs to rest and recover.
While being connected to the ECMO circuit, Asher went into cardiac arrest but was quickly resuscitated. After three days on a ventilator and the ECMO, he exhibited signs of seizure.
Multiple tests confirmed that Asher suffered a loss of oxygen to his entire brain. He would be severely affected developmentally and cognitively. As you may imagine, we were stunned and reeling with emotion.
We spent five weeks in the hospital. Two weeks were intensive rehabilitation, but it was just too much for him; he was too weak after the major trauma to his heart and brain.
We brought him home and reality set in. Our previous life and anticipation of a healthy, strong baby boy had vanished.
He was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. He was limp, could not support his head or body, could no longer talk, and required a feeding tube. He cried or slept.
We took a few months to recover emotionally, adjust to one income, learn to do life with a special needs child and, most importantly, develop a plan to help our Asher heal, grow and live a happy life.
Our hope returned. He began in-home physical, occupational and speech therapy multiple times a week.
The continued therapies are bringing many improvements including increased movement in his limbs and significant verbal expression.