Maddox’s megawatt smile, electric blue eyes and spike of downy white-blonde hair on top of his head provide no clues about the scare he gave his parents, Ann and Matt, on the first day of his life.
An uncomplicated C-section brought Maddox into the world at around 8 a.m. on a Friday. After a busy day with visitors, a nurse brought Maddox to Ann’s room for a midnight feeding, then back to the nursery to take his temperature, but she had trouble inserting the rectal thermometer. The opening that should have been there, wasn’t.
The family’s long-time physician, Dr. Kristine Knudten, arranged for Maddox to be transported to Minneapolis Children’s by ambulance the next morning.
“We wondered if his intestinal system hadn’t developed. Was it a problem just at the opening or farther up?” explained Ann. She stayed behind at GRHS to receive the postpartum care she needed while Matt went to Children’s with Maddox.
Thus began the longest Saturday of Ann’s life. “I was alone. I’d just given birth, so I was emotional. But I can’t put into words the kindness I encountered that weekend at GRHS. From the doctors and nurses to the support staff, everyone connected with my care showed so much concern for me and my family,” she explains.
Both Dr. Knudten and the surgeon who performed her C-section came by to see her. At one point in the afternoon, the housekeeper came in to tidy Ann’s room. “Even she had a warm smile, caring words and a hug to give,” Ann remembers. “I really needed that hug. It told me that everything was going to be okay.”
By Sunday morning, Ann was preparing for discharge and little Maddox was being prepared for an exploratory procedure. A nurse on duty in another part of the hospital came to say goodbye. A nursing assistant told her about going through a similar experience. “They were all so understanding and wanted to help as much as they could,” Ann says.
While Ann was signing her discharge papers, Matt, tearful with relief, called to say that Maddox’s procedure was over. A thin membrane had been covering the opening to Maddox’s very-intact intestinal system, and doctors had removed it. “I start crying, the nurse standing next to me started crying,” Ann says. “There was just a flood of relief.”
“All I needed was care for my physical needs, but I got so much more,” she says.