Marie May was 20 weeks pregnant when she went in for an anatomy scan for her first child. She was stunned to learn what doctors had discovered.
“They couldn’t see her bladder,” May said.
Her daughter had a rare condition called bladder exstrophy, in which the bladder develops on the outside of the baby’s body.
May, then a resident of Columbia, South Carolina, moved to Augusta during her pregnancy. It turns out that was a very good decision. May chose to have her baby, Skye, at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.
“She ended up septic when we delivered her so it was a good thing we were [at Children’s],” she said. “She went straight to the NICU here.”
At 11 days old, Skye underwent an operation to correct her bladder exstrophy. It involved breaking her hip, then reshaping the pelvic bone and placing the bladder inside the body.
Surgeon Dr. Morganstern, Chief of Pediatric Urology, performed the surgery.
“There’s a high risk of it opening back up, so it takes a lot of skill, nursing care and skilled doctors to make sure this is done,” said Morganstern.
Nurse practitioner Anah Bhatia said the operation and recovery went very well in large part to Skye’s parents.
“They were fantastic, and I think they were rock stars through the whole thing.”
Morganstern also had high praise for them.
“Skye herself took everything in stride and so did her parents,” he said. “It’s almost like she got her calm demeanor from her parents.”
That demeanor also came from the Mays knowing that they picked the right place for Skye’s care, despite the fear that comes with being a first-time parent.
“We were glad that at least we had a good hospital,” Skye’s mother said. “The surgeons are second to none.”
She appreciated how upfront Morganstern was about Skye’s condition.
“He seemed really confident and he was doing all he could to prepare us.”
The 50 total days Skye spent in the NICU were a mix of emotions for Marie May.
“We couldn’t hold her, so that was definitely the hardest part,” she said. “He warned us of that, but it’s not something you can prepare for.”
May is very thankful to the nurses who looked after Skye during that time.
“With the traction I know it was really challenging for the nurses to keep her happy and keep her pain level down.”
When the day came for Skye to be go home, the Mays were understandably thrilled. They finally got to hold their daughter.
At 18 months, Skye’s recovery is going better than anyone could imagine.
“The [doctors] were really amazed at how she was not behind at all developmentally,” Marie May said.
By six months, she was crawling and by age one, she was already walking.
Morganstern continues to be impressed with how the family has handled it.
“So much can happen and you just have to take one thing at a time and they’re really good about it,” he said.
Skye continues to return for regular follow-ups with Morganstern. At some point down the line, she will need further surgery so that she can be continent.
In the meantime, May is enjoying every day with her daughter.
“We can really treat her just like a normal little girl.”