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More than a year has passed since mom suffered stroke after delivering baby

IU Health Methodist Hospital

More than a year has passed since mom suffered stroke after delivering baby

Cradling her newborn was a major feat for Sarah Grace Richardson. Two days after giving birth to a healthy baby, she suffered a debilitating stroke. Now, Richardson, 25, is busy keeping up with two active boys.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

It was at the height of a pandemic that the world was still trying to understand. In the hospital, there were visitor restrictions, and some outpatient health care workers took on new assignments to help with the burgeoning inpatient load.

One of those inpatients was a new mom, who had enjoyed a healthy life – running and focusing on keeping fit. She had no family history of strokes. But two days after delivering her second son, Sarah Grace Richardson ended up in ICU at IU Health Methodist Hospital. She was 24 and she had suffered a stroke.

More than a year later, Richardson shares that she is celebrating what she calls “a miracle.” She credits her “cheerleading squad” for helping her get through one of the toughest recoveries of her life – without family. Those squad members included Critical Care Nurse Madeline Cottrell, Occupational Therapist Emily Metz, and Physical Therapist Abby Marley. Not only was she missing her newborn son, Everett – born April 18, 2020, she was also missing her firstborn son, Bear, and her husband, Thomas.

It took weeks to get Richardson to a place where she could leave the hospital and continue with rehabilitation at an outside facility. She had to relearned to talk, walk, and use her arms again.

Now, Richardson says the miracle continues. Her family recently celebrated Bear’s third birthday, and Everett, has advanced from a cuddling infant to an active toddler. Five months ago Richardson began driving again, she has been off of blood thinners since the beginning of the year. Her recent scans showed no clots. After undergoing infusions, she said she has not experienced any bleeding or anemia.

I feel like a normal human again. I have tons of energy and have been living each day to the fullest,” said Richardson. She enjoys daily family walks and has begun introducing preschool activities to Bear.

“My wonderful husband set up my easel and arranged a little workspace for me, so I’ve been painting again,” said Richardson. She also enjoys baking and working in her flowerbeds.

“All of these little things are such a blessing to me, and I can honestly say that I feel overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Richardson. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the fact that I had a stroke. It used to be a slightly traumatic reflection, but now it’s just a daily remembrance that reaffirms how precious life is and how amazing God is. I find myself saying ‘yes’ to spontaneous adventures and outings with loved ones far more frequently. I am no longer letting lack of self- confidence prevent me from attempting projects that I’ve always wanted to try.”

Previous coverage:

Mother, 24, gave birth to a son, and two days later suffered a stroke - If Sarah-Grace Richardson could give any advice to mothers it would be this: “Listen to your body and be proactive.”

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Stroke

A condition where a blood clot or broken blood vessel interrupts the blood flow to the brain, resulting in brain cell loss, and loss of cognitive (thinking) and physical function.