In 2012, my wife Jamie Matheny was diagnosed with preeclampsia while 32 weeks pregnant with our first child. Her blood pressure started to rise, her ankles swelled, and she released a significant amount of protein in her urine. Once this was known, she was transported via ambulance from Calvert Memorial Hospital to John Hopkins Bayview. She was medicated for two days. Then on December 13, 2012, Kylie Marie Matheny was born weighing 2lbs. 14oz. She was in the NICU for 33 days with only one significant episode. One morning, we had to authorize a spinal tap at 3am because Kylie wasn’t doing well. It was an extremely stressful and trying time for us. We lived two hours away and had to work out the logistics of getting breast milk to the NICU. Friends housed us some nights. The Hopkins Children’s House accommodated us others.
Kylie turns two on Saturday, and she is doing great. We enrolled her in the infants and toddler program when she came home. She’s exceeded expectations in all assessment areas. We always wanted two children but were uncertain of the risk due to Jamie’s preeclampsia. Various physicians had different opinions. One said the risk was 10-20%, and we decided to give it another try. After Jamie got pregnant, a high risk doctor stated the probability of her preeclampsia returning was around 60%.
Jamie started showing signs of preeclampsia again. She had high blood pressure, slightly elevated signs of protein in her urine, no swelling. She was put on bed rest, a special diet and was closely monitored. A checkup yielded that Jamie’s biophysical and cord doppler were abnormal, and the baby was not moving. Jamie’s OB determined immediately that the baby had to be delivered via emergency cesarean as the baby was in fetal distress. Once we arrived at Hopkins Bayview, Jamie was immediately rushed to the Operating Room. There, she developed eclampsia as her blood pressure levels spiked to 220/110. I was in the OR with her. Gavin was delivered, and Jamie’s blood pressure levels dropped immediately. She had a seizure, which lasted roughly 40 seconds while she was still being operated on. She eventually stabilized and the operation completed. She was monitored in the ICU that evening. Gavin had a hard time breathing on his own. He too had blood pressure and malnourishment issues. He was taken to the NICU, intubated and stabilized. Ironically, Gavin Michael Matheny was born on November 17, 2014 -- World Prematurity Day ☺. He weighed 1lb. 15oz. His gestational age was 26w2d +/- 1w6d.
Gavin is doing great now at Hopkins Bayview! He started feedings and just got off of antibiotics. He lost an ounce but just gained one back. He’s a fighter and makes us very proud. I’m extremely proud of my beautiful wife who stayed very strong throughout this process. She thinks that she’s somehow to blame, and I reassure her daily that is not the case. I thought I was going to lose her and my son, all at the same time, there in that operating room. The feeling is very weird the second time around. You know what to do or how to react but you still don’t know what to expect. You live day to day, and you’re thankful for every moment within that day.