July 24, 2013 Edition

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Born at 26 weeks, Maddox Adams was not much bigger than the hand of his great-uncle, Daniel Bridges. Maddox's mother, Tonya Owens of Alicia, said neither she nor her baby would be alive if it wasn't for the personnel at Lawrence Memorial Hospital who performed the emergency delivery.

Premature baby born
at LMH is true miracle

Gretchen Hunt

On May 13, Tonya Owens of Alicia told her mother and son that she was having intense abdominal pains and needed to go to the emergency room.

"I was hurting really bad," she said. "I didn't know what was going on."

She said she was rushed back to an examining room at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and then a nurse asked her a question she wasn't expecting.

"She asked if I thought I could be pregnant," Tonya said. "I said I don't think so, but then when she stepped out of the room I had to push.

"When she came back in I said you better check and see, I think I'm in labor."

The nurse quickly verified that there was indeed a baby.

Lawrence Health Services Administrator George Fray said the hospital's emergency department generally performs two or three emergency deliveries a year, but this delivery had an additional level of difficulty.

Tonya was only 26 weeks pregnant.

"It was a miracle," Tonya said. "If it hadn't been for them, neither of us would have made it."

The baby, Maddox Adams, was born weighing one pound and 11 ounces, and his mother had lost a lot of blood.

"I had to have three units of blood there at the hospital," she said.

As Tonya's boyfriend, Josh Adams, son, Jacob Owens, who is nine, parents, Terry and Marie Owens of Alicia, and other family members gathered at the hospital, the stars seemed to be aligned for a good outcome for baby Maddox and his mom.

Paula Lough, who works as a discharge and planning nurse at LMH, has an extensive history as an OB nurse and was instrumental in the successful delivery. It was her first day back after having knee surgery.

Chris Riggs of Walnut Ridge, a respiratory therapist who works with cardiopulmonary patients at both Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Le Bonheur, was in Walnut Ridge and able to come to the hospital to assist.

The hospital's new pediatrician, Dr. Samantha Hatfield, was on duty and able to assist immediately after the baby was born.

Julie Foster, emergency room director, said there were no difficulties with the delivery, but the baby was intubated for the flight from LMH to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis as a precaution.

Tonya's uncle, Daniel Bridges of Clover Bend, went to Le Bonheur with Maddox, until Josh was able to get there to be with the baby. At Le Bonheur, the tube was removed, but Maddox remains on supplemental oxygen.

Tonya said she stayed at Lawrence Memorial a couple more hours after Maddox was flown out to finish receiving blood and stabilize her blood pressure. She was then taken by ambulance to The Med in Memphis, where she was a patient for four days, receiving an additional two units of blood.

Maddox has gained strength, and weight, every day. Now at four pounds, and nearly eight ounces, he is beginning to take a bottle.

"We're doing good," Tonya said. "They have to wean him off the oxygen. Once they do that, if everything else is good, we're hoping to go home in August."

She said all the nurses at Le Bonheur had to come and meet her and Miracle Maddox.

"They said we cannot believe that you had this baby at a hospital that is not even set up to have babies," Tonya said.

Foster said it is amazing for Maddox to be progressing so well.

"He is absolutely a miracle baby," she said.

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