For Michelle Mascus, loving baby Madison comes
very easy. I’ve always loved children and I’ve always
wanted a baby of my own. But the journey from pregnancy to delivery
was very hard. I do know that a lot of cardiologists don’t
feel like pregnancy should occur if you have Marfan’s. Marfan’s syndrome is a disease of connective
tissue and the elasticity of the connective tissue.
The particular concerns in pregnancy relate to cardiovascular concerns. Dr. Lauren Dungy-Poythress is a maternal-fetal
medicine specialist. She was part of the elite team that made sure
both Michelle and baby could withstand the demands that pregnancy places on mom’s heart.
Because of Michelle’s Marfan’s, they had planned all along to deliver Madison at 34 weeks.
But at 31 weeks, doctors discovered mom’s amniotic fluid was low.
They also noticed the baby’s heart rate was dropping as Michelle experienced contractions.
So the bundle of joy would have to arrive even earlier.
It was careful coordination of care by a team of specialists. There’s a team for the baby, a team for the
mom, and then a team in the event that we needed to do some urgent cardiac surgery. So, inside The Indiana Heart Hospital, a neonatologist,
cardiologist, ob/gyn, anesthesiologist, maternal-fetal medicine specialist were all hands on deck. That was overwhelming, but it was comforting
to know that I had all those people in there. While the delivery certainly wasn’t routine,
it went smoothly. Madison arrived healthy, weighing three pounds
and one ounce. She’s a testament to teamwork. For me, it was like watching a football play
that when the pass was thrown, that the receiver met the ball right at the right time.
It was awesome. When everybody blocks at the right time… Michelle and Madison are inspirations to those
living with Marfan’s who question whether motherhood is even possible. I just feel like every woman, if she wants
to, should have the chance to have a baby of her own. Baby Madison remains at the neonatal intensive
care unit at Community Hospital North, which is next door to The Indiana Heart Hospital.
She’ll likely stay there until her actual due date, which is November 22, just to make
sure that she keeps gaining weight and learns to eat on her own.