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Parker's Story

My sweet little boy, Parker Thomas, was born on April 28, 1998. He joins big brother, Connor who was born on June 17, 1995. Connor was a very difficult delivery...3 hours of pushing with vacuum assistance resulting in shoulder dystocia to his left side. He weighed 9 lbs, 9 oz. When he was born, the docs just said they wanted to watch his left arm. I had no idea why. (I only found out about the shoulder dystocia when I read PARKER'S birth records...the first entry said, "History of Shoulder Dystocia") Today, he is ambidextrous...using his left arm to write and throw a ball, among other things.

When I became pregnant with Parker, from day one I told my new OB to consider C-Section because my first delivery was so hard on Connor. She seemed to think I was being silly. Anyway, with this pregnancy I had gestational diabetes again, only this time I had to take insulin once a day. They monitored the baby's size and said he wouldn't be over 8.5 lbs. They induced labor the day after my due date and Parker came out weighing 9 lbs 12 oz. Neither my husband nor I will ever forget how that doctor pulled and twisted Parker's head. We both worried that he wouldn't survive at all.

Parker suffered a right brachial plexus injury leaving his arm and hand totally paralyzed. He had his first surgery at TCH on October 21, 1998 to work on nerves C5-C7. None of these were avulsed. However, C8 and T1 were. For the next few months we discussed our options with Dr. Nath at TCH. He brought up the idea of a nerve transplant and on April 21, 1999, one week before Parker's first birthday, Parker underwent this surgery.

What they did was take the sural nerve from Parker's daddy one week before the surgery was scheduled. Then, they spliced the C7 nerve from Parker's UNAFFECTED arm and attached Daddy's nerve to it and ran Daddy's nerve across Parker's chest to the C8 and T1 of his AFFECTED arm. What they expect to happen now, is that Parker's C7 will grow across Daddy's nerve, which is acting as a scaffolding, and attach itself to the C8 and T1 nerves. This should then make his hand begin to work! Because a transplant is involved, Parker has to be on immunosuppressant medication...but only for 6 months to 1 year. Just until his own nerve grows across to the affected nerves and starts making his hand work. Then he will be removed from the immunosuppressants and Daddy's nerve will just disintegrate and be absorbed. I live for the day when I see those chubby fingers start to wiggle.

You sure would never know Parker had ever gone through such trauma in his short life! He is the smiliest little guy and he never has a bad day! He was never able to crawl, but he does "scoot" and he started walking at 9 months! He is an amazing little boy and a true blessing to everyone who knows him.

If you wish to contact us, my name is Pam, "Daddy's" name is Chad and you can email us here.

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