From out of no where,
A force to be reckoned with.
That was Margaret.
Margaret, aka Maggie Alice, came into this world with a bang. A BIG bang. At the end of a normal pregnancy she was taken from my body during an emergency cesarean. I was having the normal monitors strapped on for child birth and ten minutes later I was knocked out cold. I didn't even get to tell the Sailor I loved him. The last thing I remember is the scalpel touching my lower abdomen and hearing the doctor lady say, "Tell me when, tell me when, tell me wh....". Then I was waking up in the O.R. waiting for ex-rays, to make sure nothing was left inside upon closing me up. This all happened at 8pm on a Sunday night.
During the night the medical staff realized something was wrong with Margaret. Her heart rate was only 49 b/min when it should have been closer to 110-120 b/min. Being in a small town they took EKG's and other readings of hers and sent them to the neighboring town which has a heart center. They called back and said it was too much for them and they were sending the readings to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital (an hour away). They called our doctor and said they would be there in 2 hours to get her and transfer her to their facility. They were here and gone in less than 3 hours with the Sailor in hot pursuit behind their ambulance, leaving me behind with my sister to check out and follow. Approximately 18 hours after a cesarean I stood up and walked out (more like hunched over and hobbled, but you get the point) of the hospital on my way to my baby.
It turns out that Margaret had what was called Long QT syndrome. Basically the bottom of the heart, after squeezing closed, takes too long to open back up for the next heart beat therefore throwing off the rhythm of the heart. This is why Margaret's heart rate was so low. Her condition was the worst the world had ever seen and also was present in the youngest person on record (at the time). Is this curable? No. Is it manageable? Yes.
At Three days old Margaret had a pacemaker installed. Combined with a two heart medications, the pacemaker allowed Margaret to live a normal life only restricting her from physical contact sports. At 23 days old, after a few medical setbacks common with surgeries on newborns, she was finally released from the hospital to come home. Once at home our lives settled into a normal family routine, only differing in that we had to give Margaret medicine every 8 hours. Life was good again. We had our baby and everyone was in love with her.
At 8 months old Margaret had a seizure which landed her back at DeVos for another surgery. This time to replace the pacemaker with a combination pacemaker/ICD. (which she was too small for at birth). After only 4 days this time we were able to bring Margaret home again.
Life went on as normal as possible. Margaret was an outgoing busy body of a baby. Very independent and loving. Always causing mischief with her older sisters and truly believing that she was the queen of the house and ruled all that she could see, and all those she knew. She didn't understand that she was supposed to avoid physical impact and in turn was the most daring baby I knew. She would climb anything and jump from anywhere just to have fun. Instead of keeping up with the older girls they were having to keep up with her, constantly saving her from impact with one thing or another, usually the floor.
Margaret was the happiest baby ever. She always cooperated with the doctors and the many tests they preformed on a regular basis .Complaining about nothing outside of getting her way and wanting more food.
Just like a true hurricane, Margaret came into our lives with such force and abandonment, rocking us all with her amazing self and bowling us over in her take no prisoners attitude, only to leave us just as quickly as she came.
Nine days after Margaret's second birthday her heart decided it had had enough and for whatever reason her ICD did not detect that she wasn't responding to her pacemaker. Again, just like a true hurricane Margaret left us quickly and in her wake she left irreparable destruction & devastation. Leaving us with memories that will last us all for more than a lifetime.
Two and a half years later the memory of her still lives vividly in my heart and my mind. The pain is still there and the love is too. Just like a hurricane she will be forever in our memories, not just the pain and destruction but also the beauty & sheer magnitude that was Margaret.
I didn't really want to write all this much but a friend told me I "MUST write the background story...it's part of YOUR healing." I took his advice and tried to keep it short and to the point. As you can tell I wasn't exactly successful at that. Oh well, to leave a part out of Margaret's story would be like not broadcasting the actual storm, and only reporting that it was coming and this is what it left behind. I hope I didn't depress anyone (sorry Terri for another tear jerker). My intent was only to show how Margaret was like a hurricane in my life. I'm also sorry that I missed the deadline for the contest, but in my defense I have been swamped with this remodeling of our house and just lost track of which day it was. Oh well, such is life.
If you'd like to see those who DID make the dead line you can just follow this link to Karl's Korner and check out everyone else's entry(ies). Good luck to all of you not late for the party, and thanks to everyone for making it this far in my post.
Love ♥ Huggs
*** the photograph by Martin Kucera has been altered by me.