Small miracles of medicine: a miraculous and tragic story at the same time

Little Maddison embodies all the fragility and beauty of life after a much too premature birth that caused a roller coaster of emotions for her parents, both overwhelmed with happiness and bereaved by the death of her twin sister.

• Read also: Small miracles of medicine: healthier premature babies


The 8-month-old child spent the first five months of her life in hospital.

Courtesy picture

The 8-month-old child spent the first five months of her life in hospital.

“It’s a small miracle, she’s impressive,” says Mandy Tremblay, proud of her 8-month-old daughter Maddison.

Sitting upright on her father, the curious-looking child does not suggest any signs of prematurity or health problems. And yet, she comes a long way.

“It leaves marks. She is better, but we have a long way to go before we can live well with it, ”admits the mother, who is an intensive care nurse. Until you’ve been there, you don’t know what it is. »

Like a “bomb”

For this couple from Chibougamau, in northern Quebec, the past year has given way to great joys, but also great sorrows. Pregnant with twins, the 33-year-old woman received a “bomb” during the mid-term ultrasound, at 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Her cervix was thinned and already dilated. As soon as they arrived at the Laval University Hospital Center in Quebec, the prognosis was grim.

“We were told: ‘you are going to lose your daughters, they are not viable'”, says the father, Mathieu Marceau.

For this “down to earth” couple, there was no question of forcing things.

“We’ve always said to ourselves: ‘we’re going to give them a chance, but we don’t want to be relentless. Not to the detriment of their health”, underlines the automotive adviser.

“Your world is falling apart”

A battery of tests confirmed the babies were healthy, and emergency strapping was done to close the cervix. But after three weeks, work resumed. The chances of survival were then 30%.

“We can’t be ready for that. The doctors speak, but you no longer hear. You just try to hang on to the percentage, but your world is falling apart, ”says the 36-year-old father.

Thanks to injections of medication before birth, the twins received the best care possible. Maddison and Olivia were born on November 23, 2021, at 23 weeks and 3 days pregnant.

The due date was March 19, 2022. Fortunately, the little ones who weighed just 600 grams (1.3 lbs) were breathing on their own. Maddison, however, had more difficulty than her older sister.

“Olivia farted scores. She opened her eyes after three days,” says Mr. Marceau.

let go of a child

However, after six days, everything changed in the space of 30 minutes.

“His intestines were completely necrotic,” explains the mother. It would have been relentless. We made that decision for her, not for us. We let her go. »

“What was hard in our case is that we lost the baby who was doing the best. You keep believing for the other baby, but part of you is really scared. »


Maddison Marceau's parents had to wait a month and a half before they could take her in their arms, in order to avoid infections.

Courtesy picture

Maddison Marceau’s parents had to wait a month and a half before they could take her in their arms, in order to avoid infections.

snakes and ladders

After three months, doctors confirmed Maddison was “out of the woods.”

“It’s like a game of snakes and ladders. You think you’ve reached the end, and you fall back to the first box, compares Mr. Marceau. In the morning she is fine, and in the afternoon she crashes. It was like that for five months. On April 15, the family finally returned home. Gavage tube, oxygen, medication: the reality of the premature baby continues to follow them on a daily basis. However, Maddison does not suggest any major disability or after-effects. “It’s a miracle that she is so healthy, thinks Mr. Tremblay. We have a tragic story, but miraculous at the same time. We cling to the fact that we could be two, but we are three. »

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