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Valley Mom Grateful for Mother’s Day after Recovering from Stroke While Pregnant


A Valley mother is grateful to be alive and for her healthy baby after suffering a critical stroke while 13 weeks pregnant.

Amanda Ippel’s stroke, which occurred the week before Mother’s Day in 2012, robbed her of her ability to walk, use her left arm, and all the skills so vital to raising a young family. Ippel was carefully monitored by doctors after her stroke and throughout her pregnancy. After delivering a full term and healthy baby boy, she began intensive neuro-rehabilitation at Barrow Neurological Institute to regain many of the skills and functions the stroke had taken away.

Ippel spent more than a year in physical, cognitive and occupational therapy as well as neuropsychology at Barrow. Now, she has graduated from a nearly 40-hour a week, uniquely-designed brain injury rehab program at Barrow’s Center for Transitional Neuro-Rehabilitation (CTN), which helps patients with severe brain injuries transition back into society.

Before neuro-rehab at CTN, Ippel, who has five children with her husband Ben, was unable to do simple parenting tasks such as dressing her newborn and attending to her other children’s needs. Now that’s she completed the program, she’s regained many of these abilities and even recently had her driver’s license reinstated.

“The stroke was like a sledgehammer being taken to my brain and to my life,” says Ippel. “My first priority was the health of my baby, and after he was safely delivered, my next priority was regaining the function I lost so that I could be a good mother to my children.”

Ippel’s neuropsychologist Dr. Pamela Klonoff, clinical director of CTN at Barrow, which is part of Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, worked closely with Ippel throughout her recovery and praises Ippel for her steadfast determination and hard work to regain the many of the skills she lost as a result of the stroke.

“Our advanced brain injury program at Barrow is incredibly intensive and our patients have to be very committed to their therapies in order to successfully reintegrate back into their lives,” says Dr. Klonoff. “Amanda was one of those patients who never gave up and consistently worked hard so that she could be the best mother to her children. I am so proud of her.”

Ippel is looking forward to celebrating Mother’s Day this year by reflecting on her long journey through recovery and her second chance at motherhood.

“My brain was broken after my stroke and I had to fight tooth and nail to get back to a level in which I could effectively raise my children,” says Ippel. “Mother’s Day 2012 could have been my last and the holiday is very special to me because I have my family and they are my life. I am so grateful to have the second chance to be a mom and I will never take motherhood for granted.” - Barrow

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