My husband Ryan and I met in college in 2004.  I was an engineering major and Ryan was a biology major.  We met when I was his physics lab TA.  We got married in December of 2006 after graduation.  Ryan was accepted into dental school at the University of Louisville and I took a job with a national construction company.  We moved to Southern Indiana, just outside of Louisville, Kentucky and this is where we have lived since 2007.  I enjoy riding my horse and competing in barrel racing and my husband loves to hunt and fish.  Ryan decided to continue his education after dental school and is in a residency program to become a prosthodontist.  We are Christians that believe the Bible is the true word of God and we are saved by God’s gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our beautiful twin girls were born in July of 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  Catherine “Cate” and Charlotte “Charlie” were 11 weeks premature.  They had what is called twin to twin transfusion syndrome.  Cate was getting too much food and Charlie was not getting enough.  The doctor caught it in time and during a regular checkup we walked straight to the hospital and didn’t leave until after they were born.  Cate was 3lbs 11oz and Charlie was 1lb 15oz at birth.  Charlie was fairly healthy during her 8 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) but Cate was not so fortunate.  The first 3 days of Cate’s life were touch and go and we thought that we might lose her.  But Cate is a fighter!  After being intubated and having two chest tubes put in she came through and began to improve.  On day 3 of her life we learned that she had a brain bleed and damage.  Before she left the NICU at 10 weeks of age we got her official diagnoses of a Grade IV bilateral bleed with PVL (periventricular leukamoalacia), a severe brain injury.  Finally, 74 days after our girls were born we had them both home.  It was wonderful!

We were told that Cate would have many limitations due to her brain injury.  However no doctor could help us.  We were told we needed to wait and see how she did.  There would be physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine, orthopedic surgery, and possibly brain surgery in her future.  We are blessed to have a supportive family and Grandpi Willian (Ryan’s maternal grandfather). He read an article 35 years ago in a magazine about a group in Philadelphia that works with brain injured children and their kids were making amazing accomplishments.  This group is called The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential.  Cate is currently in their intensive treatment program and I have quit my job to stay at home with both girls and do Cate’s program every day.

Cate is doing so well that her doctors, family, friends and Ryan and I are amazed.  I am writing this blog to help other parents who have a brain injured child, parents who want to have an intellectual and physically superb child, and to keep all of our family and friends updated on Cate and Charlie’s journey.  I am not a doctor or therapist so please understand that when I write about Cate’s medical or developmental journey it is written from a mother’s perspective.  Remember, all children are different even if they have the same diagnosis.

Enjoy the journey with us.


Catherine Lewis

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