Cognitive Age: 3
Therapies: Occupational, physical, music, speech, aquatic, feeding therapy
Schooling: Preschool two days a week
Siblings: Zach (15), Ashlyn (13), Mady (11), Nate (8)
Parents: Angie and Wil Bradshaw
Kabuki Symptoms: Hyperinsulinism, seizures, bilateral hip dysplasia, kidney disorder (collecting system outside his kidney), several kidney stones, tube fed (will eat a few things by mouth), craniosynostosis.
Oliver's Story: Much like her previous pregnancies, Angie threw up all day every day when she was pregnant with Oliver. It was discovered that he would have kidney and heart problems while she was pregnant, so she was getting an ultrasound every week and stress test twice a week. It wasn't an easy pregnancy, to say the least!
When she was 31 weeks and 6 days pregnant, Angie went into labor. Her doctor admitted her to the hospital and gave her shots to help develop Oliver's lungs. The labor wasn't stopping, and Oliver's heart rate was dropping, so a C-Section was performed. Oliver was taken straight to the NICU, not just because he was premature, but also because of his heart and kidneys. Upon arrival in the NICU, bloodwork was done. Oliver's glucose level was 10, which is extremely low. The doctors gave him bolus medicine, but his levels would not come up. Within the next 24 hours, Ollie was transferred to a children's hospital.
Ollie spent two and a half months in the NICU, where his biggest struggle was keeping his sugar stable. Since then, he has had many surgeries including a cranial vault reconstruction for craniosynostosis, G-tube placement, ear tubes placed, granulation tissue scraped off of ear tubes (twice), hernia repair, testicle drop surgery, tubes placed in his eye tear ducts, a stent placed outside his kidney, and several exploratory surgeries to look at his kidneys. The doctors are still unsure today what the problem with his kidneys is.
Angie says, "He was born with such a fighting spirit and that is what has carried him through the multiple surgeries and procedures he has had." And it's likely what keeps him going every day. He has tons of appointments where his parents continue to advocate for him and be his voice, and he has various therapy appointments four days a week. Aside from the typical OT, PT and Speech therapies, Oliver also gets feeding, music and aquatic therapies.
He came into the Bradshaw's lives earlier than anticipated, proving that everything is on his timeline. But he came fighting and ready to show the world everything he's made of! As an aside, I had the pleasure of meeting this beautiful family in Cleveland this year. Ollie is one of a kind, and every bit as rotten as he is cute! Not to mention that he has some of the best curls ever. As Angie says, "This cute boy has brought so much joy and he puts a smile on the face of everyone he meets."
Oliver’s Favorites: "Jumping on a trampoline, he loves to dance, music, playing with his siblings."
Oliver's Relationship with his siblings: "Oliver loves his siblings and they adore him. His siblings can help with growth hormone shots, blood sugar checks, and tube feeds. Oliver is thriving because of the amazing helpers his siblings are."
Advice for Kabuki families: "Take this journey 1 step at a time, try to enjoy every little milestone and not stress about the things your child can't do yet. Remember that you are your child's advocate. You know your child. Breathe."
Advice for parents of “typical” children: "All they want is to be included just like everyone else."
How Oliver has impacted the family: "Oliver's quick arrival into this world taught us to find joy in our journey. We laugh through the crazy and love unconditionally. Family is our greatest blessing and Oliver completed our family."
Angie and Wil already had their hands full with four kids when Oliver came into their lives. Somehow, they've managed to balance not just having five kids, but having one with extra needs and different abilities. They've done a beautiful job with all of their kids, and they continue to be Oliver's voice and ensure that he gets everything he needs. While I'm sure the kids bicker, all siblings do, you wouldn't know it by the smiles on their faces. It's clear that no matter what happens, the Bradshaw family has a tight bond, cemented by the adorably handsome Ollie.