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My Story - How I came to write...

Meet Oliver

Author's toddler son at play park

By Brandi and Tyler Harrington

When our son was born seven weeks early via an emergency C-section, he was given a horrifying 1% chance of survival. 

When they cut the umbilical cord, he turned blue immediately. He struggled to breathe and the swelling in his body restricted his blood flow. Seattle Children’s was his only hope, so our preemie baby traveled north from Tacoma, Washington, in an ambulance under lights and sirens.

The journey was just beginning

family at Hospital

Once at Seattle Children’s, we learned Oliver had a mass in his right lung the size of an adult fist. Oliver was placed on a ventilator in the (NICU) so his care team could stabilize him and look for solutions. On Oliver’s fifth day of life, he needed immediate surgery to remove the lung mass. However, he couldn’t be taken to the operating room because the machines that were keeping him alive couldn’t be moved. So they brought the operating room to Oliver, with at least 15 carts of equipment and many people arriving to support a surgery right at his bedside. We understood the operation was a last-ditch effort, but without it he would suffocate. The staff gave us updates and helped us understand what was happening. We felt like we were a part of every decision about our son’s care.


After surgeons removed the rare fist-sized tumor, Oliver started improving right away. Two days later, we finally got to hold our baby.  And his progress continued – within a week, he was taken off the ventilator and took his first breaths on his own. When Oliver was 16 days old, less than two weeks after his surgery, it was safe to transport him back to our hospital in Tacoma. And our dream of taking Oliver home finally came true when he was 4 weeks old – still nearly three weeks before his expected due date.

How I came to write children's books

all kids and brandi

Fast-forward three years, Oliver was diagnosed with epilepsy and cerebral palsy as a result of the lack of oxygen caused by the tumor.  By his fifth birthday, we struggled to find children’s literature to support our son and teach our family and community about the beautiful complexities a disability brings. Out of a need for words and "kid language," I wrote Wiggles and Shakes: Bennett Learns about Epilepsy. And that was just the beginning.

Even though Oliver faced dismal odds at birth, his hospital teams spared no resource to save his life. We are forever grateful. We wish we could write a thank-you card to every person who helped save our son's life. Since that would be impossible, in return, a portion of these book’s proceeds will be donated to our local hospitals, clinics, and organizations that have helped (and continue to help!) our family thrive.

Thank you for reading our story and supporting this book project. It continues to provide much healing and hope for our family.

Check out our latest books here: Author's Bookstore

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