A special Mother’s Day message

May 12, 2019
Mother and daughter

Mother’s Day is special to all moms, and I’m no different, but my story is unique. This is a time when I think about how truly lucky I am to be a mom to my sweet daughter, Kennedy.

It wasn’t an easy road to get to this point. Things started out pretty rocky when I got diagnosed with gestational hypertension at 24 weeks, and was eventually hospitalized at 27 weeks with preeclampsia, which progressed to borderline HELLP (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelet count) Syndrome. At that point, Kennedy had to be delivered, at 27 weeks six days gestation. We skipped the whole third trimester! Kennedy had a three month stay at the MUSC neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). She developed pulmonary interstitial emphysema and was on the jet ventilator for a month, then on CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) and nasal cannula for another month.

The NICU became a second home to us, and the nurses and doctors became our family (shout out to Dr. Jersey Cahill, NP Carlene Speaks, RN Jenny Fraser, and RN Mihaela Moldovan!). We are beyond lucky that Kennedy healed and came home with us on her due date. She had a monitor at home and several medications, but after a few months those were discontinued and now Kennedy is a healthy, beautiful, smart, and funny 3-and-a-half-year-old, and you’d never know about her tough early start to life!

If it weren’t for the medical team at MUSC, our family story would be very different. I felt perfectly normal and without their tests and treatment, I would’ve never known I was sick, and certainly would not have survived. Thankfully, the team took amazing care of me and Kennedy. The medical team is mind-blowingly talented. Our family is so thankful for their ability to walk the line perfectly – skillfully managing my illness, “buying” my daughter one more crucial week in utero, then delivering her at the point when my survival was at risk, and her survival rate jumped up.

Thank you MUSC! Your amazing people are what allow me to be a mom and celebrate Mother’s Day with my sweet girl.

Stephanie Feals