Woman shares story of post-partum stroke, total recovery from ea - WSMV Channel 4

Woman shares story of postpartum stroke, total recovery from early treatment

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Michael and Casey Tenpenny just welcomed their first child, Axl. (WSMV) Michael and Casey Tenpenny just welcomed their first child, Axl. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A new mother says she was at the right place at the right time for a reason. Just days after having her first child, she collapsed at the hospital with a scary diagnosis.

"You wouldn't believe how ready we are for this little boy to come home," said Casey Tenpenny of Gallatin, cradling her five-day-old son.

Police officer Michael and EMT Casey Tenpenny just welcomed their first child, Axl.

"He's the best thing that could've happened in the world," said Casey. "He's my blessing."

Michael said the name's after hard rock front man Axl Rose.

"That's what Michael says," laughed Casey. "That's not what mommy says. He's his own little rock star. He's our little miracle baby."

These last few hours in a hospital room are the end of a scary five days.

After his birth at Sumner Regional, Axl was brought to the Vanderbilt NICU for breathing issues.

"I had stepped out of the room to brush my teeth," said Casey. "I wasn't feeling well."

Casey said she collapsed in the hallway with the staff and Michael, a licensed paramedic, rushing over.

"He noticed that my face was drooping," she said. "When I went to raise my arm to wave at him, I couldn't. My left arm wouldn't work. I could hear the slur in my speech."

"She had paralysis to the left arm." said Michael.

"I knew the entire time we were dealing with a stroke," Casey continued, looking down at Axl. "He was all I was thinking about. Being in the medical field, I know all about what happens after stroke and the challenges you're facing if you survive it. I just wanted to be there for him."

Casey was already right there at Vanderbilt and was rushed to the emergency room.

"It was a clot," she said. "I was in the best place possible, in the best hands possible. My husband was there. I knew my God was going to protect me."

Dr. Mark Baker said they gave an IV medication called TPA for the clot and then tried something else.

"We can go up and take that clot out of her brain blood vessels," said Baker, who went on to say they do sometimes encounter postpartum strokes. "We decided that it was the right move to go up and take that clot out."

"They were going into my femoral artery, and they were just going to pluck the clot off," Casey continued. "Since then, I've made a full recovery within 24 hours. It took a total of two hours from onset of stroke to recovery from surgery. If it'd taken any longer than that, I'd have trouble moving my left arm."

"Her weaknesses have entirely dissolved," said Baker. "She no longer has any speech deficits."

Dr. Matthew Fusco said what was key was that early detection and treatment.

"Someone could have a devastating stroke that effects the rest of their life or they could walk out two days later completely normal," he said. "You can have face weakness and arm weakness or some sort of altered mental status. If you present symptoms and don't get to the hospital in eight to twelve hours, options are no longer available. The stroke is completed. She's young and healthy, so that allows her to recover as well as possible, but the time is really the biggest thing."

"I've been waiting for this feeling for a long time," said Casey, cradling Axl with Michael sitting beside her.

Casey said she doesn't know if Axl will grow up to be a hard rock front man himself.

"He's got the hair," she said. "We've got that going for us."

She'll be around to find out.

"It's completely a miracle that we're both okay and going to be able to be together for a long time," Casey said.

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