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  • Writer's pictureDavid Stanley

The Stories Behind the Babies 1: Madison

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

In June 2020 The Music Man Project released a video for my new song 'Have You Ever Stopped to Think'. It featured beautiful photographs of our musicians as babies. In this series of blogs, I delve behind the pictures to reveal the stories behind the babies...

Here is Madison's story, told by her mum...

Madi was born at term plus 10 days. She was a lovely size at 8lb 7oz. My pregnancy was uneventful, so we opted for a home birth. The labour was pretty uneventful, lasting about 8 hours from start to finish. Everything was going to plan until the last 20 minutes when Madi’s cord got pressed between me and her and she was starved of oxygen for about 40 minutes.

Madi was a blue baby and was resuscitated at the end of our bed. The ambulance arrived within 3 minutes of being called, when Madi and her Dad (without shoes!) headed to the hospital. I stayed at home allowing the 3rd stage of labour to take its course and then followed in a separate ambulance not knowing if Madi was alive.

After an hour of life Madi started to have uncontrollable, almost permanent seizures. When I joined Madi and her Dad, her seizures were so bad that we were told to prepare for the worst and that the next 48 hours were critical – they would see Madi survive (or not). They tried everything at Southend Hospital to stop the seizures, but they just kept on coming.

Southend took advice from The Hammersmith and Fulham Hospital/Queen Charlottes, who prescribed a drug so specialised that only they could administer it. At day 2 Madi was incubated and sedated and transferred by ambulance (with blue lights – she has always liked lights!) via Addenbrookes. specialised ambulance transfer team.

At Day 3, Madi was given her first MRI which showed severe brain damage but a lot of it was still in the state that it could go either way – repair itself or not….

They also started Madi on a strong drug called Lidocaine that had to be in and out of her system within 24 hours. This stopped the seizures but left Madi in a coma-like state for the new few days, still incubated and unable to breathe by herself. We sat and waited (we read Swallows and Amazon’s by Arthur Ransom to Madi during this time). At this point Madi had tubes attached to her head, her hands, her feet, her tummy button, as well as various monitoring bits, and of course the help with her breathing.

Cuddles and kisses had to wait, Madi was too poorly.

At around day 6 or 7 with some of the other drugs now leaving Madi’s system, she started to come round and started to fight. The red-headed baby started to show her true grit and determination.

Around day 8 Madi could breathe by herself and she looked less fragile, with just the need for oxygen nose pegs. They were much less intimidating and Madi started to be fed by a nasal gastric tube.

Day 9 was the second MRI. I remember being taken into a room with the brain specialist and the consultant in charge who confirmed that Madi’s brain damage had actually got worse, not better. They went through all the details, but I just remember them saying that she would never smile. They also said she would be unlikely to breathe without help, drink, eat, sit unaided, speak, walk, see or hear. So the journey started…

On day 10 we were transferred back to Southend Hospital and taught how to cope with a new-born and the particular challenges we would encounter.

On day 14 we were sent home with Madi taking most of her feeds via a bottle. Feeding every 2 hours, massive vomits per feed, lots of crying (by Madi and us) and without oxygen. It wasn’t easy.

On around day 21 we said goodbye to the feeding tube as Madi was able to take her feeds via a bottle. Weaning was on and off and eventually by 2 ½ years old we had to agree to a gastrostomy. This actually proved to be a plus not a minus as it allowed other things to be worked on.

At around 3 months Madi was smiling and giggling. Oh, the joy! Even now at almost 17 Madi’s smiles and giggles melt my heart even on the darkest of days.

The hospital were correct about most of the other bits. Madi can’t talk, sit, walk or eat but she can hear, and she can see – and boy don’t we know it! Madi never misses a trick!

And Madi can communicate… oh how well she can communicate!!!

She can perform at the Cliffs Pavilion theatre.

She can perform at the London Pallium in London's West End, not only once but twice.

She can perform at the Royal Albert Hall (with a solo).

She also has her own sailing boat, her beloved Girls Brigade and her true love in Archie.

Madison performing solo at the Royal Albert Hall in 2019

She can be bossy, a teenager, be in love and oh so much more…

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