This is Madison, my beautiful 5 1/2 month old daughter. She's our little angel, our miracle baby. When I was about 22 weeks pregnant, my bloodwork came back abnormal. After an emergency ultrasound, the doctors discovered that she had gastroschisis, a condition in which the intestines did not retract back into her abdomen after they had finished forming outside of her little body.
From then on, I had to go in for ultrasounds, growth scans, and non-stress tests (NSTs) twice a week, every week until delivery. I was ordered by my OB to quit my job so I could stay at home and rest. I was also hospitalized on and off for the next few months because of low amniotic fluid levels, decelerations in her heartrate, and increased swelling in her exposed bowel.
At 35 weeks and 2 days, I went in for a routine appointment, and during the ultrasound, the doctors noticed what they thought was a loop in her bowel that had dilated to four times its width, compared to two days earlier. After the doctors discussed options with the pediatric surgeon, they told me, "Today's the day." I called my husband and he rushed over to the hospital.
Even though it wasn't part of our birth plan, I decided to go with a C-section so we could get her out and the surgeons could do whatever they had to do. She was born on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 2:20 PM, weighing 4 lbs 11 oz. My husband was able to go down to the NICU to be with her, while the surgeons finished with me. As it turned out, it wasn't an intestinal loop that looked dilated in the ultrasound. Her intestines, gall bladder, ovaries, and stomach were all exposed, but our wonderful pediatric surgeon was able to place most of it back into her little tummy. At three days old, Maddy had major abdominal surgery to place the rest of her intestines back into her abdomen.
After four long weeks in the NICU, with a few setbacks, we were finally able to bring her home on June 9th. Today, her scar looks like an outtie bellybutton, she's a smiling, laughing baby girl, and the doctors call her the "poster child for gastroschisis."
Sorry for the novel, but I wanted to share why our Madison is so incredibly special to us. On to the pictures!