‘My dad got very angry at me for crying. I was a tiny, 5-week-old baby. He shook me, threw me against a wall.’: Survivor of shaken baby syndrome’s powerful account so ‘other babies won’t have to go through this too’

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“If I could talk, I would tell you…

When I was a tiny 5-week-old baby on October 24, 2009, my biological dad became angry at me for crying. He shook me violently and threw me against a wall. As a result, I had a serious brain injury, retinal bleeding in both eyes (leaving me legally blind), a broken clavicle and swelling and bruises to my face. I spent almost a month in the intensive care unit – I was very sick. The doctors told my family I would need a lot of special care the rest of my life.

Baby in PICU with shaken baby syndrome
Courtesy Diane Fowler

My dad was in big trouble for hurting me and was sentenced to prison for 32 years. It came out that I had been shaken many times before he really hurt me. DHS placed me in foster care because my biological mom was not taking good care of me after I was injured – not very good care at all. I lived with a new family, but things weren’t so good there either. I wasn’t gaining weight and my day care was very concerned about me – a lot of people were, I guess. When DHS finally came to take me to another home, I was found on the floor laying in animal waste. I didn’t like it very much there.

This time I went to a really nice family but only until a permanent home was found for me. In January 2011, I had a new home to go to. The Fowler’s house. My new mommy seemed very excited to meet me. She held me a lot and gave me lots of hugs and kisses. So did my new dad. I had two new brothers and two new sisters. I felt safe and loved in my new home right away. I was very sick the first few months at my new home, but my family never left me alone when I had to go to the hospital. One day I choked because of the bad reflux I have. I then had a seizure not long after I choked, and I stopped breathing. My mom had to do CPR on me, and I remember my mommy crying so hard at the hospital. I had to fly in an airplane to a big hospital and stay there until I was all better. My mom was with me the whole time.

Young boy who had seizure lays in hospital bed while foster mom holds his hand
Courtesy Diane Fowler

The doctors told my new family I probably wouldn’t live very much longer but that didn’t stop them from loving me. Slowly I got better and was actually making a lot of progress- I surprised my doctors. I started going to a special daycare while mommy and daddy worked. I get all of my therapies at my new daycare. I take speech, physical, occupational and vision therapy several times each week. I got stronger and grew bigger and even healthier. I was getting sick less often and spent less time in the hospital.

Oh yeah, my mom still kisses me and tells me I am her brave boy everyday – that makes me very happy. My mom told me I can do all kinds of things – she told me to be patient and never ever give up. I really love my mom and dad and family – they simply loved me back to life.

In March 2013, I became a Fowler forever. I was so happy, and I know my mom and dad were too. I have a forever family and am so excited.

I still require a lot of care. I have cerebral palsy because of the lack of oxygen from when I was injured. I can’t do anything for myself. My arms and legs don’t work like they are supposed to. I have such bad reflux I choke almost every day. Sometimes just a little bit, and other times I get so choked I get very scared. My mom and dad are so nice to help me, and it doesn’t scare me as bad when they hold my hand and say sweet things to me. I have a special tube that feeds me through my stomach. I have to be hooked up to a feeding pump about 16 hours each day. I am legally blind, but I love to look at the light. I hurt a lot from painful spasms mostly in my legs. I take a lot of medicine several times a day to help me. That’s a lot for a little guy like me to deal with every day. Don’t you agree?

Young boy with shaken baby syndrome stands in therapy in front of foam circle while therapist holds him at his waist
Courtesy Diane Fowler

But, I still enjoy life just in different ways. I love to giggle at funny sounds. I love to have people talk to me and play with me. I was 6 years old when my mom wrote this for me and now, I am doing better than ever. I will always be injured because of what my bio dad did to me, but I try very hard to accomplish new things all the time.

I wish I could do more and be like other kids, but I can’t because of a terrible thing called Shaken Baby Syndrome. I wish adults would learn from what happened to me and other babies and kids would not have to go through this too. My Uncle Larry and Aunt Danielle wanted to do something very special for me to prevent more babies and kids suffering like I do. Uncle Larry went before legislature and is responsible for getting Carter’s Law passed in Arkansas. One aspect of this law will educate others on the dangers of SBS and normal crying periods for babies.

Mother holds adopted son with shaken baby syndrome with her brother and Arkansas congressman
Courtesy Diane Fowler

My mom is trying hard to make people aware of the dangers of shaking a baby.

Did you know that it takes as little as 3 seconds to injure a baby forever or they can even die from this? That is pretty scary. Please SHARE this and help us educate people on SBS. Thank you very much.

I am Carter, a SURVIVOR of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Love and Hugs, Carter.”

Young boy with shaken baby syndrome sits smiling in wheelchair holding pinwheel
Courtesy Diane Fowler

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Diane Fowler, 54, of Arkansas. Follow Carter’s journey on Facebook hereSubmit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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Read more inspiring stories of shaken baby survivors:

‘I realized I had missed 20 calls from my mom. The night before, her father picked her up and took her home with him. I arrived at the ER very confused. All I remember was her yelling and crying.’

‘He asked me if he could murder the baby now. His father had been alone with him for 2 hours and everything had been fine.’

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