News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 2006
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TOM WRIGHT

Watching your hero in action

"We are going to operate on your baby in 10 minutes," the doctor said to Mary Grace and Kirk when he awakened them at 3 a.m.

On the day before, March 6, they celebrated the birth of 7 lb., 13 oz. Mary Stephen Deas.

Now her lung had collapsed because of a hole that opened when she coughed, the doctor said. She needed immediate help.

Scheduled to arrive by Cesarean section March 16, Mary Stephen decided to show up early.

Today she is fine. The hole sealed. Her tiny lungs now manufacture the hormone-like substance that they require to work properly.

Nine days of tubes, needles and around-the-clock monitoring in Atlanta's Northside Hospital corrected her problems and stabilized her condition.

I don't know how close we came to losing this little blue-eyed, dark-haired baby. I don't know for sure what caused her problems or exactly what doctors did to correction them.

As grandparents, our information came second-hand.

But watching my worried child hover over her ill baby while being brave when her other two children came to the hospital makes her my hero.

Because the new baby wasn't showing up as large as her siblings during pre-natal examinations, I dubbed her "Nubbin."

Mary Grace never liked that nickname and coined a better one after Mary Stephen began winning her battle. "Scrappy" fit.

It is amazing how infants can be fragile but durable, or be badly sick yet heal so quickly.

I hadn't meant for my nickname to stick, and "Scrappy" won't either. The one that will, if any nickname does, is "Mary Stevie." Wright and Emma Grace find it easier to say.

Although Stephen is borrowed from her late grandfather Deas, he wouldn't care.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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