Episode 02: Thomas and Cassie – living with quadriplegic cerebral palsy

I first met Cassie when we were both pregnant. I asked a panicky question about nuchal measurements in a Huggies mothers’ forum and she was one of the people who replied. At the time she was in hospital on bed rest at around 24 weeks pregnant.

We started emailing and soon both our journeys started to get complicated and hard. Cassie was dealing with very different things from me, but we bonded over a shared experience of adjustment and grief. While we were doing different things and dealing with varying circumstances, we were honest with each other about our fears, or disappointments, our grief. I cried as I read her emails, and as I typed my own.

Cassie is a fantastic person, a great nurse, and a wonderful mother, and I am so amazingly proud to have her on the show and to share her and her husband Antony’s story.

Cassie’s son, Thomas, has quadriplegic cerebral palsy. In this episode she speaks with beautiful honesty about her experience and how her feelings have developed over time.

Here’s some pictures to help you see her lovely family. Thomas is the younger brother to his lovely sister, Charlotte.

The first photo taken of Thomas. Cassie mentions this photo in the episode. Thomas was intubated and fighting for his life.

The first photo taken of Thomas. Cassie mentions this photo in the episode. Thomas was intubated and fighting for his life.

Despite a rocky start, it wasn't long before Thomas was breathing for himself.

Despite a rocky start, it wasn’t long before Thomas was breathing for himself.

Thomas showing off his sitting and motor skills.

Thomas showing off his sitting and motor skills.



Listen to the episode here, or subscribe through itunes here: The One in a Million Baby – Tessa Prebble or through Stitcher Radio. If you like what you hear, leave a review!

You can follow Thomas’s journey through his facebook page, Follow Thomas.

Thanks again to Grayson Gilmour for his music from his album Infinite Life!


You can buy his album on iTunes and through his website.

And thank you to Enelia from Abacus Finch for the beautiful logo design.

10 thoughts on “Episode 02: Thomas and Cassie – living with quadriplegic cerebral palsy

  1. Bridget

    Beautiful Cassie, near the end where you talk about being proud of Thomas gave me tears. Thomas is such a handsome little guy. Thank you Tessa for delivering another heartfelt poscast. I’m glad you posted it early because I lack patience too!!

    1. Cassie

      It surprised me, I came home from night shift this morning ready to tuck up in to bed and although I’d already heard it, I stayed up to listen again in “real time.” The feedback so far has been so positive and apparently a little tear inducing. I think a lot of people can relate to parts of it, even just the toll parenting takes on the relationship, stressors with pregnancy and birth etc. I’m glad I could put my story out there

      1. Oneinamillion Post author

        I’m so glad you have got positive feedback. If you get any negative stuff send them my way! 🙂
        I listened to the episode properly yesterday while I was putting make up on. I had to stop a couple of times because I was getting teary. It’s so powerful even after I’ve listened to it over and over editing it. I know it was hard to record, so thank you, Cassie!

  2. lydiaunicorn

    Honestly the first part was hard to listen to, Cassie. I didn’t feel quite the same way about my daughter, although I did have some dark thoughts. But I really, deeply appreciate that you were so honest and so brave to share those things because I know you are not the only mom who has felt that way. Your story will help others feel less alone in what is probably the loneliest time of their lives. And then to hear about your transformation as a mother in the second half – I am in awe! I found myself nodding at the things you were saying because they are the conclusions that our family has come to as well – mostly that people experiencing disability can have satisfying and meaningful lives, and that they deserve the chance to be happy just like everyone. Thank you so much Cassie and Tessa. Wonderful.

    1. Oneinamillion Post author

      I think that’s the important thing. Not everyone will deal with things in the same way or have the same thoughts, but to know that it’s normal to feel the way you feel is so important.

    2. skubala1804

      I know what you mean LydiaUnicorn, through work I’ve seen a variety of responses to similar situations – you get the parents who seem to completely embrace the situation, those who are just too devastated to process and people like myself who are just looking for a way to escape it. I think all of the responses are normal, none better or worse, just different. I guess in hindsight I acknowledge that before Thomas I was narrow minded about disability. Being a part of this new community I have learnt to open my eyes a little wider.

      1. Oneinamillion Post author

        I totally agree. All of those reactions exist and they are all normal, we just don’t talk about them enough. So when you have the reaction to want to escape, as I did too, it feels like you are the only one who has felt that way.

  3. dewart5

    Tessa and Cassie, this was a gripping account. You talked about Thomas and the serious issues that you faced at the start of his life. Cassie, you are a brave, caring person. What you were able to be so honest about will be a huge help for others facing the realisation of having a child with so much unknown and uncertain. Well done both of you, and your family Cassie. Lovely to see those photos of a sweet little boy and hear of his progress at the end of the podcast.

  4. me+hub+3

    Wow!!! What an amazing episode. I have followed Cassies story from when she was pregnant. Wonderful to hear how they are going now. It is such an honest and real account of what many parent feel when things don’t go to plan. Just so pleased that you are doing this Tessa. It really does help other parent to validate and realise that they are not alone and that it’s okay to have the terrible thoughts. It does not make you a terrible person. I feel it is a grieving process of all the things you thought life would be taken away from you with no choices. It does take time to process and then come out the other side. Some manage to come out the other side with no help and others need help to sort things out. Both ways is just a way each of us deals with things. Just wonderful that now people can hear about others experience and not be alone.

    Wonderful powerful episode. Thank you both Tessa and Cassie.

  5. ennydots

    Cassie – your story hits close to home. My 24+3 premmie has a PVL with dystonic CP. While our experience was different, the roller coaster of emotions sounds similar. Over 12 years after our journey started and the most amazing similarity we share with you is a boy with a twinkle in his eye who has shown us that it’s not your job or your earnings that determine the worth of your life, it’s the people you touch and the love you bring. Our NICU nurses got us through our 7 month stay – it’s one time in life where I’ve truly appreciated being ignorant – your description of the disparity between your knowledge and your husband’s was insightful. I hope Thomas is thriving along with you all.

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