STORIES FROM THE NICU: MADDALYN

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I woke up about 10am from the long night before. Swelling was worse to my surprise and something told me to check my blood pressure. It was 167/115. Thinking this old blood pressure machine was broken I went on with my day, getting ready to go see my grandpa, just to get the call he just passed. I cried and had an overwhelming urge to want to go to town, to Walmart and take my blood pressure there just to see. It was 176/121. I called the doctor when into the hospital where they tried for hours to get my blood pressure down instead it rose to 184/122. I was admitted for hospital bed rest so they could monitor me, the baby, and give me medications to try to get my blood pressure under control and to start steroids to help lung development.
I was told after multiple tests that if I made it to 34 weeks gestation they would deliver me then. They said a baby born at 34 weeks has the same chances of survival as a term baby so that’s what they were shorting for.
My husband, my kids, my parents, and friends and family visited me to keep me company over the next several days. The doctors struggled to keep my blood pressure in “exceptable ranges” but baby was happy and not acting up. They actually put seizure pads on the rails of my bed because they feared I would seizure with my blood pressure that high.

7/12/17 the day of my grandpas funeral. I was devastated that I could t be at my grandpas funeral. I hurt because I couldn’t be there for my grandma and the rest of my family. This was a hard and long day for me. They finally gave me some relaxers to help me relax because with how I was worked up my blood pressure was getting really bad again. I woke up at about 1am having issues breathing. I had to sit straight up and take deep breaths to breath. I had the worse nurse that night. She just kept telling me to relax that my oxygen levels were find and that it was all in my head. I asked for an inhaler as I have sports induced asthma. Took forever finally got one it didn’t help. She gave me another sleeping pill said I just need to relax that I was over tired and my head is just playing with me. The sleeping pill didn’t work I still sat straight up in bed because if I laid back I couldn’t breathe. 8am 7/13/17 rounds. My doctor took one look at me and said your having that baby today. She said I didn’t look good and was appalled I went all night like that. The new nurse jumped into action once she saw me as well. Got me breathing treatments and said my lungs were filling with fluid because the swelling had no where else to go from my blood pressure being so high. She called my husband who hurried to get to me and meet my parents at the hospital and they took my other 5 kiddos. 


I was peeped for my first ever c section because they didn’t think I could breathe through labor. At 1030am Maddalyn was born at 31.6 gestation 3lbs 11oz 15.75” long. I saw her for just a glimpse as they rushed her to the NICU. I went to recovery where they gave me lasics to get the extra fluid of of me. The nurse emptied that catheter collection thing 6 times! I could feel myself breathing easier and swelling starting to go down. All I wanted at that point was to see and get an update on my baby. Which they didn’t have, and I wasn’t stable enough to go see her. I was sent a picture of her which broke my heart but I was told she was doing great. She was breathing on her own but they were giving her the forced air to be on the safe side. 330 I was able to go see her. I wanted nothing more then to hold her and they let me. But I was only allowed 30 min visits because I was still being closely monitored. So it wasn’t for long. I’d go back get checked and go back down to the NICU. 
7/14/17 they took her off of the forced air and just had her on oxygen and just started giving her donors milk through the NG tube. She was jaundice and they had her under the lights.
I stayed by her as much as I could. I pumped and pumped with no luck. Tried all kind of supplements and kept trying. I hated I couldn’t feed her but thankful for the donated milk. 
She only ever had 1 Brady. And was making progress daily. She was the least worried about baby in the NICU and they coined her a super preemie! They said she was a fighter and was ready to go… funny because that described my grandpa I just lost to the T! She was insistent that she wanted to take feedings by mouth and they very hesitantly let her as they don’t let them start til 35-36 weeks. She latched on and constantly was taking 1/2 her feedings. She just had to build up the stamina to finish. Couple days went by and she would finish her bottles for me and only me. At this point I was still struggling with pumping and she was getting half and half. She had to finish all feedings for 48 hours to be able to go home. She stayed in the NICU 3 weeks on the dot. Our NICU stay was stressful and it was a scary place. But all in all we had a very uneventful stay in the NICU. She was a rockstar and knew she had 5 older Siblings to catch up to. My older 4 kids went on vacation with my parents so we had less to worry about leaving our 2yo son with us. He was the only one who hadn’t been able to see her because he was two young to go into the NICU. The day she was discharged he was so excited. When he first saw her in her car seat he scooped up the car seat and carried her all the way out to the car. He was a very proud big brother. 
I am convinced my grandpa knew it was time to go so he could watch over Maddalyn and I. I miss my grandpa but I see so much of his personality in her and for that I’m thankful! I loved our NICU nurses and doctors! I am thankful for them and for my doctors who finally got me all figured out and off all medications. I’m also thankful for the Ronald McDonald House for keeping me close to my baby girl! Maddalyn is a happy healthy 1 yo now! She is our little fighter, our little miracle, and our little sassy thing!
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