After a normal pregnancy- easy even- nothing prepared us for what would happen. On Christmas Eve day, during a scheduled check-up and ultrasound, Missy's water broke. We were quickly on our way to the hospital to get checked... only to hear that these babies were on their way. At 31 weeks 6 days gestation. Fast forward 3 hours. Baby A and Baby B, as they were so lovingly called because we hadn't quite decided on names, were born 8 weeks early and rushed to the Children's Saint Paul NICU for medical assessment and admittance.
Madden and Joseph spent 45 days in the NICU before we were able to bring them home. In that time, we were faced with the many challenges of premature birth. In addition to the support we received from our family and friends, there was an incredible staff surrounding us as we navigated parenthood in this unexpected way.
We had a good first year. Then, once again, the unexpected happened. After a normal day of 13-month-old playing, Joe woke from a nap in respiratory distress. Missy called 911. Emergency responders flooded our house, and Joe and Brandon were taken by ambulance to Children’s Saint Paul ER. He was diagnosed with breath holding.
Then in April 2016, Joe suffered further respiratory distress and became unresponsive; he required another ambulance ride to Children’s Saint Paul ER and was admitted to the PICU with a diagnosis of respiratory failure. He required a 10-day hospitalization to support his breathing while fighting off a virus.
In June 2016, Joe underwent a laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy exploratory procedure to determine a cause to his ongoing breathing symptoms. The ENT doctor found visible compression on his trachea, and rushed him into to a CT scan for further assessment. The doctor presented us with an unfathomable diagnosis: Joe had a congenital heart defect- a double aortic arch- and would require heart surgery.
Joe had heart surgery on July 6, 2016, and recovered in the CVCC heart unit at Children’s Minneapolis for four days under exceptional care.
And once again, in November 2016, we called 911 and were transported to Children's Saint Paul ER as Madden suffered a febrile seizure related to a fast spike in fever associated with hand foot mouth disease. After numerous tests, he was sent home that evening with medications to manage any future episodes (that thankfully never transpired).
And this is why we've decided to walk. Because of our experiences, facing our new stage of life in the most unplanned way and facing serious illness and a heart condition requiring surgery, we walk to remember how fortunate we are to have a top medical facility so close to our home; to thank the staff who cared for our boys; to honor the small but mighty tenacity Madden and Joe showed us in those first few weeks of life; to praise the incredible research and training that lead to a diagnosis and surgical treatment for Joe; to be reminded of our own strength and resilience; to provide hope for other families facing similar circumstances; and most of all, to celebrate our happy, healthy, vibrant boys.
We ask for your support. Please consider donating to help us celebrate how far we've come from the day Madden and Joe were born, and to help provide others with that same opportunity.