Preface – Know the story of Aline, who suffered a very serious stroke during pregnancy, had the baby and today, does not talk, does not walk and needs help for everything. Risks of accidents like these can increase in pregnancy. Learn how to prevent
It was 7:16 pm on a Friday, June 21, 2013, when nursing technician Aline Zavarizzi Lucatto, then 32 and pregnant with 5 ½ months of her first child, felt a severe headache “as never before sense before “. Seconds after commenting on the pain with a colleague, Aline fainted and convulsed. She had just suffered a hemorrhagic stroke – one of the most serious, with a high mortality rate and most that leads to disability in United States according to the Ministry of Health.
The nursing technician worked in the neonatal ICU of the Caism (Integrated Care Center for Women’s Health) of the Unicamp hospital in Campinas, in the interior of São Paulo, and was on call that night. The site is a reference in high-risk pregnancies. As soon as she was cleared on the floor of the ICU, Aline was immediately rescued by an intensive care physician, who was less than ten feet away.
She was intubated and taken to surgery to try to stop the bleeding and reduce sequelae. The operation took more than 7 hours and doctors needed to remove Aline’s skull cap (the top part of the brain) to reduce intracranial pressure and try to keep brain activity intact. Her condition was very serious. “The doctors did everything to save my daughter’s life. She was the priority at that moment. The pregnancy was left to a second stage, “says Nelcy Zavarizzi Lucatto, 59, Aline’s mother.”She was only saved because she was inside a UTI. Otherwise, she and my grandson would have died. “
Only the next day, after a CT scan, Nelcy learned that the baby had also survived and was healthy. Aline was in an induced coma, breathing by apparatus, and gestation would be carried forward. But after more than two months between the ICU and the fourth, doctors were no longer able to control Aline’s blood pressure fluctuations. “On that day, they called an emergency meeting to decide what to do,” says the mother.
At that moment, the baby was taking risks and it was necessary to give birth as soon as possible. However, there was no vacant neonatal ICU bed for the newborn at the Caism and the doctors feared that Aline would not resist a transfer trip to another hospital. After a full day of uncertainty, a vacancy emerged late in the evening and Guilherme was born there on August 28, with almost eight months of gestation and weighing just over 1.6 kg. He went straight to the ICU, where he stayed for two more months to gain weight and strengthen him.
Aline resisted delivery and was discharged on Sept. 17, almost three months after her stroke. The stroke has affected your motor system and speech: it is totally dependent on help, does not talk and does not walk, but understands absolutely everything that happens around you.
Her parents set up an ICU in the home to welcome her daughter and start intensive care. At first, she was nourished by a nose tube, had a tracheostomy to breathe, and needed physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and daily massages.
The friends collected money and bought an orthostatic board so that Aline could do vertical rehabilitation exercises – which helps strengthen the muscles and balance. The family also has a kind of “cage” built by her father to do exercises using the Therasuit method, in which she wears a pullover garment that stays attached to the cage allowing her to make movements that strengthen specific muscles and also help in equilibrium.
After a year and two months of intensive treatment, Nelcy was able to take her daughter’s feeding tube and the tracheostomy. Today, Aline is able to chew and swallow solid food alone and is no longer dependent on an artificial respirator. Your heart rate is compared to that of an athlete. Follow a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, soups and milk. She can also communicate with her eyes through a table of words nailed to the wall of her bedroom. She can make small sentences by answering the questions with different blinks.
Speech therapy sessions are aimed at speech rehabilitation and also at improving swallowing. In occupational therapy exercises, she is already able to fit parts into their respective forms. So much for someone who, from the start, is battling against statistics.
“I never lose hope. Aline might be dead, but she’s fighting here day after day. No doctor tells me anything about her future, it’s all very indefinite. The trigger for stroke, unfortunately, was the pregnancy she had so much dreamed of. But my grandson has always been very much wanted and cannot feel guilty about it, “says Nelcy, her eyes watering.
Guilherme currently lives with her father, who moved away from Aline two and a half years after she suffered the stroke. The boy, who is 3 years and 8 months old today, visits his mother on Wednesdays at night and on Sundays. Guilherme knows that Aline is his mother, but still does not understand very well what happened. “I show photos of her mother before and he asks me why before she smiled and now she does not smile anymore. It’s very difficult, “says the grandmother. Aline also knows when it is her son’s day to visit her and, according to Nelcy, she is anxious all day.