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Meet Chattanooga Ambassador Family Marcus, DarWaynia and Madisyn Dunson
It was Veteran’s Day, Friday, November 11, 2016. I woke up very tired and sluggish, and I was late for work. I knew it was going to be a busy day, so I pushed myself to get moving. I arrived at work, and saw the drive thru line was wrapped around the building at Krispy Kreme. I parked my car, went inside, and started helping. I had a fundraising customer who had purchased 200 dozen doughnuts, so like any other day, I went outside to help her load her vehicle. What was typically an easy task for me, was much more challenging that day. I was tired, and my heart was racing. I apologized to the customer for moving slowly; I guess being six months pregnant was catching up to me! I finished with the customer, went inside, sat down, and asked one of the employees for a large glass of water. I then drank a second glass, but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. I called my husband to ask him to pick me up, then laid my head down on my desk while I waited for him.
After trying to reach both my General Practitioner and OB/GYN, we decided to go to the Parkridge ER. From there, everything became a whirlwind. It was determined my normally perfect blood pressure had skyrocketed to 183/103. I was told I was at stroke level. I was later diagnosed with preeclampsia; therefore, I would have to remain in the hospital on bed rest until my baby was delivered. It was November, and our baby was due in February.
Exactly one week later, on November 18th, at 25 weeks, God said it was time for baby Madisyn to arrive. She weighed only 1 lb. and 2 oz., and was 11.6” long. I only saw her for a brief moment during delivery before she was taken to NICU. I was in shock that she was here so early and I was in a lot of pain.
Walking in to the NICU the next day was like walking into a whole new world. I was looking at a tiny baby hooked up to several pieces of equipment. There were tubes, IV’s, and tape everywhere. She had purple eye covers on her eyes, and her bed had a blue light for jaundice. It was simply heartbreaking.
Each day I would listen as doctors, nurses, and specialists gave reports I didn’t fully understand. Regardless, I listened, and I learned. Every day I cried. Every day I prayed. I even asked God why? I blamed myself and my health as reasons why I gave birth early. My second home became the NICU where I spent every single day for three months. I never gave up.
There were so many victories and so many challenges in the NICU. For instance, the first time she opened her eyes, the multitude of blood transfusions due to low blood, dealing with a collapsed lung, and watching her fragile chest compress due to her breathing tube coming out. Having a baby in the NICU was a roller coaster of emotions.
It wasn’t until December 2nd that I shared my first picture of Madisyn on social media. This was the first time I felt comfortable sharing with our friends that she had been born so early. Before then, I hadn’t been ready for all the questions, and I had been terrified she wouldn’t make it. By then her father and I had seen so much improvement in her, and I was ready to share our miracle.
December 13th was the first time I was able to experience skin on skin with our baby. I was a nervous wreck. It took three nurses to carefully put Madisyn my arms. The feeling I had holding her was like floating on clouds in Heaven. I knew God was smiling at us! We celebrated Madisyn’s one month and two month birthdays in the NICU. Once she came off the Cpap and went to the nasal cannula we noticed she looks just like her daddy. One of our biggest blessings was on her three month birthday, we celebrated by bringing her home!
We still face challenges and victories on a daily basis. Having a micro preemie baby introduces you to a whole new world. The men and women of the NICU are God’s Angels. I loved their consistency in what they would tell me. They made me feel safe and comforted in knowing they were caring for my child. They motivated me. They reminded me daily – it’s a roller coaster ride, and yes it was. But Madisyn Dunson is our miracle baby, and she is so worth it. To God be the Glory!