Day 274: MRI

Today was Madison’s first MRI. Her doctors and neurologist asked us to get one done to have a baseline image of her brain and spine and to also rule out any other possible reasons both physically and chemically to explain the challenges she has, and to confirm a cp diagnosis. The wait list at Sick Kids for an MRI through anesthesia was 6-8 months so we opted to try a different route. We wanted to try an MRI through sleep deprivation and melatonin. The wait list for that option was 6 weeks so we thought we would give it a try.

This morning we had to wake Madison up at 6 am and she was not allowed to sleep until her MRI at 9:45 pm.  We knew this would take a team of people to help us keep her awake all day so we scheduled shifts. The first to help was Grandma Ambos and then Nadia and Nate brought over lunch and stayed for a play followed by a dinner visit at Nana and Papa Gregoire’s and then finally a play at Aunt Emily’s. We tried to break up the day with her seeing different people and doing different things to stay awake and it worked! She managed to stay awake for 16.5 hours.

Here is a video of a very sleep deprived 2 year old who is so tired she is hyper and a little bit crazy.

When we got to the hospital they informed us that they were behind and we would have to keep her awake for an additional 1.5 hours. Nana and Papa Gregoire and Aunt Emily were with us so they helped keep Madison entertained and awake. She also was entertained by new books from Nana and stickers from Pam. All of our secret weapons worked great!


When they were 30 minutes away from being ready to start they gave Madison a pure dose of melatonin and we started our bedtime routine with her in a quiet room. We read books, sang songs and gave her a bottle of milk all in the dark. She eventually fell asleep and we walked her into the MRI room. She was sound asleep until the technician tried to place ear buds and headphones on her. She woke up screaming right away because of the feeling of something in her ears. We then did her bedtime routine again and after another 20 minutes tried again…same thing- wide awake screaming. The technician said we could try another ear protector made of sponges  and that we would only have another 15 minutes to try one more time as there were kids needing to be seen from the OR. We did her whole bedtime routine one final time,  placed her on the MRI bed with sponges around her head and she stayed asleep! The technician quickly put a heavy blanket on her with weights on either side,  strapped her to the bed, put a strap and cage over her head and away she went into the MRI tube. Daddy was able to stay in the room with her and stayed close by incase she woke up. Seeing her in the MRI tube and strapped down with equipment all over her was one of the hardest and most stressful moments of being a parent thus far. Knowing that she could wake up at any moment and be terrified with everythung happenning was very stressful. Mommy couldn’t stay in the room to protect baby #2. Madison slept for an entire hour- the exact amount of time needed to image her brain and spine…and then she woke up screaming. Before pulling her out of the tube the technician confirmed with the doctor over the phone that all images were suitable to their needs and they were! They were able to get everything!


We are so proud of our little peanut! We can’t believe it worked without having to put her under. After the few times of waking up and screaming we really thought we would have to go home and try back in 6 months.  But they have everything they need and we should have all the results before Christmas! Thank you so so so much to everyone who helped us today to make this a successful experience for Madison and to everyone who was thinking of her today we thank you too!

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