Friday, March 15, 2019

KoolKapes for Cool Kids

A couple of years ago, I introduced you to Koolway Sports - a company that designs and manufactures outerwear for people with disabilities, enabling them to achieve their maximum level of independence in all aspects of life. (You can see my previous posts HERE and HERE).

Brennen has outgrown his KoolKoat, which we enjoyed for several seasons and many winter adventures, and we have passed it on to a family who is now enjoying it with their own little boy.

This year, we are excited to try out the Koolway KoolKape! With a water-resistant outer shell and a warm layer of fleece inside, the KoolKape is practical, functional, and it looks really good! We struggle with dressing Brennen at times, so the ability to pull a cape on over his head in one smooth motion is a blessing. There are adjustable toggles on the sleeves to adjust for sleeve length and tightness, and a hood that can be removed or tucked under his headrest when not in use. 

We will be happy to put away our heavy coats and boots after what has seemed like an endless winter here in Newfoundand. Temperatures are finally beginning to rise above the deep freeze that we have been in, and +1 and +3 degrees is starting to feel a lot like spring! We were happy to see the sun yesterday, so Brennen and I took a leisurely walk around the grounds of Government House. The KoolKape is perfect for this type of weather, and Brennen was cozy and warm, and super comfy for our afternoon out and about.


Walking around yesterday with Brennen, enjoying the sunshine and blue skies, I felt reassured with every step that spring might be right around the corner. I think everyone just feels better when the weather is good, and I am all for feeling better! There is a sort of energy that is reborn in the city each spring, with people outside, parks and playgrounds full of kids and families. People seem happier when they are not rushing around with their heads down trying to block the cold sleet and wind from their eyes. I know I talk a lot about how we love spending time outside together as a family, I feel like a broken record, but my excitement is hard to contain at times when life feels good.. and yesterday was good! Hopefully this is the start of more beautiful spring-like weather!

Check out the KoolKape and other adaptive outerwear at Koolway Sports!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Tulip Tales: Trent

You guys! I am excited to share a new Tulip Tale with you all today, and I have several more in the works! This series really is my favourite thing about my blog. I just love being able to share the stories of these remarkable children and families. I read them over and over because they are all unique and all so important. I am continually encouraged and challenged to share my own personal story - to share a glimpse through the window of special needs parenting, but it is in reading the stories of other parents that I find comfort and learn so much.

Trent Gerald James Vincent was born on December 4th, 2012, in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. His Mom, Abby shares his story.
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With a seemingly healthy pregnancy, I gave birth just one day before my due date and was sent home with a "perfectly healthy" baby boy. We had no reason to think there was anything wrong.. until there was.


When I look back on the day of my delivery, I remember the overwhelming rush of love and pride along with a sudden worry of knowing that something was just not right. I remember being shunned during my labour pains for being "a baby having a baby". At just 15 years of age and about to deliver a baby of my own, I felt that I was not being taken seriously. When I was 9 cm dilated, my body began to push and I knew it was time for Trent to make his arrival. The next thing I knew, I was getting an epidural to relax me as we waited for the doctor to finish up a meeting. This was 14 hours after first arriving at the hospital so naturally my body was drained and I had fallen asleep. The doctor finally arrived and said it was time for me to start pushing. I was tired, weak and though I tried as hard as I could, the baby was just not moving. With the help of the doctor's foot on the hospital bed and a vacuum extraction, with a few tugs he was out. He did not cry. He was blue, grey and lifeless. He did not suck from a bottle and did not make a sound. I felt in my heart that there was something wrong but I kept being told that he was perfectly healthy and that we were "lucky" because he was a very content and quiet baby. With that, we were released from the hospital. 

As the days went on there was still no improvement. I remember the long nights trying to feed Trent his bottles - it would take multiple hours just to get two ounces into him, and he spent ninety percent of the day sleeping. He did not cry when he was hungry or had a dirty diaper, he simply slept. Being a worried first time mom, I set alarms to feed Trent regularly, making sure he would not go hungry or dehydrated. 


When he was two months old, I was feeding Trent his bottle when I felt him become more lethargic than usual. I immediately took the bottle from his mouth and tried to get some movement out of him. He wasn't responding. He turned completely blue and was lifeless. I jumped up and screamed to my fiancé and we rushed to the hospital with our baby in my arms. I was hysterical. I could feel my little boy fading away from me. We were told that he had choked on his milk and that he has acid reflux, but my motherly instincts kicked in and I demanded they do more testing before sending us back home. 

After an EEG, the doctor came running back to the room in a panic. His brain scan showed seizure activity and we were airlifted to the Janeway Children's Hospital within the hour. The most terrifying moment in my life was the day we were told our little boy would be in a vegetative state and there was nothing they could do to help him. They told us that we should prepare ourselves for the worst. Trent was diagnosed with epilepsy and global developmental delay. After spending a few months at the Janeway doing more testing and talking to specialists about our new life with Trent, we were once again sent home, feeling defeated and even more confused as to how this could happen to my little baby. 


Trent has brought us closer as a family. We only want the best for him, to make sure he has as much support and love that he needs and we are determined to push through every obstacle together. Trent is a wonderful big brother to his two year old brother, Jack, and as you can see, there is a lot of love shared between them!


Beating the odds, Trent is now six years old and is still our pride and joy. He is such a happy, content and loving little boy. He continues to brighten our world and teach us the true meaning of life each and every day! Although the past six years have been a struggle from multiple therapy appointments, doctors appointments, ISSP meetings, checkups, numerous phone calls, and the constant battle for inclusion services, I can not imagine life without him. We face new obstacles every day as he grows and gets bigger, but we do so with a smile. Our main goal is to give our son the best life possible, as he has made our lives so full. Who knew someone so small could impact and brighten your life in such a drastic way! I am so thankful to be his Mom!


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Thank you so much, Abby for sharing your son's story! He is such a beautiful boy, and reminds me so much of my own son, Brennen. I remember how hard it was in those early days, shortly after Brennen was born. I just knew in my gut that something was wrong, but no one took me seriously either, and like you, I remember feeling so helpless and so alone and I would never, ever want to go back to that place. It is difficult to imagine, when you are in the thick of such a trying time, that things are going to work out and that you will find any sense of peace. It is amazing what we as mothers are capable of. Our strength and resilience are unwavering, fueled by our intense love for our children. Over the past fourteen years, I have learned a lot about myself as a mother. I have also learned a lot about grief and acceptance, the awareness they can bring, along with a distinct gratitude for the life we are living.

Abby, I am happy to see that you have a loving family around you for support, but know that if you ever need someone to talk to, I am here.  

* If you would like to be featured on Tulip Tales, please email me at: juliebrocklehurst@hotmail.com