PLEASE READ THIS NOTE: We have now created a GoFundMe account for donations to the family - https://gf.me/u/zbmhda.
) Please note donating immediately below here will send your donations to CaringBridge. A great cause - but if you want to donate to the Groth's, please use GoFundMe by clicking "Ways to Help." Our friends have also generously created a Meal Train account so you can donate meals to the family. Also in "Ways to Help." Thank you all for your amazing support and generosity!
Our family has created a CaringBridge site to keep friends and loved ones updated on Maria Groth's (Fischer) condition. We want to communicate as much as possible, knowing how sudden and heartbreaking this is. This page will also be an opportunity for those willing and interested to consider donating to Maria's inevitable medical bills. We will do our best to add journal entries as things evolve. Please keep Maria, Brandon and baby Xander in your thoughts and prayers. She's a fighter!
Maria and Brandon welcomed beautiful Xander Michael to their family on Saturday, 11/28. Xander was breach, so they had a planned C-section. Xander is doing well, a very calm and collected baby! And just a little peanut at 6 lb, 10 oz and measuring 19.5 inches long.
The C-section went well, but Maria was in a great deal of pain afterwards. She had poor reactions to the pain meds and was feeling very nauseous and shaky. They stayed longer than planned and Maria was ultimately discharged to go home on Tuesday, 12/2. Xander settled in at home well and Maria took on motherhood like a natural champ, after this major surgery.
On Friday, 12/4, the day was going well. Maria had lots of energy and went for a nice walk with Brandon, Xander and Kim (Brandon's mother). They had a nice dinner in, but later in the evening Maria developed severe stomach pains. Within four hours, she declined significantly to the point where they had to call 911. As the paramedics arrived, Maria began seizing and they rushed her to Vasser Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Maria was initially stabilized and doing well, but during the night her organs - specifically her heart and lungs - began to fail. Brandon was called and informed that she was in critical condition. With Maria's consent, they intubated her, sedated her, put her on a ventilator and an ECMO machine to support her heart and lungs.
Around 6 AM EST, we received a very troubling synopsis. They explained her condition as postpardom cardio myopothy from pregnancy hormones. This is an acute condition meaning it comes on suddenly without warning. She was found to have congestive heart failure, and her heart was pumping at 25% capacity. They also found Pneumonia was in Maria's lungs. Finally, they found what appeared to be a closed-loop hernia in her upper abdomen. For context, a normal healthy individual would be rushed into surgery for this alone.
Maria's condition was dire. They planned an immediate surgery to insert a tube into her heart to pump meds allowing it to rest. The device is called an impella which temporarily assists the heart in pumping.
This quick surgery was a success, and Maria was brought to the ICU to stabilize. As the minutes went on, they gave Maria a cultured COVID test. Her original rapid test came back negative, but this one came back positive. So she was confirmed with COVID, which was the "Pneumonia" mentioned above - the bad kind. From there, Maria was transferred to the COVID unit.
After a few hours of stabilizing Maria, her vitals showed improvements. For that reason, her team of over 20 doctors and nurses came to the recommendation to perform an exploratory surgery to review the hernia. It was a high risk surgery, but they wanted to reduce pressure on the hernia and try to remove the knot to prevent dead skin from forming which could give off an infection and lead to sepsis. Brandon gave consent and they began surgery about 3 PM EST.
This surgery went well, and the doctors were able to resolve the immediate concerns of the hernia. It was ultimately a bowel obstruction, and they were able to remove a good amount of dead skin. They closed her bowels with surgery tape with the plan to check on progress and close up on Monday, 12/7. The OBGYN doctor was also present to confirm that her reproductive systems all looked good and were healing well. Maria was taken back to her ICU unit in stable conditions.
After that surgery, they have been focused on improving Maria's vitals and keeping her stable. She remains sedated on a ventilator and the impella to continue to support her heart and lungs. At 8 PM EST, Maria was stable in her room, with no immediate concerns and resting. She is in critical condition and her team is watching her very closely. This evening, she showed signs of hearing the staff and was moving her limbs which was positive.
At this point in time, it's unclear whether the heart conditions following labor or COVID ultimately caused all of this. Either way, the medical team would have treated Maria the same. She is in good hands fighting hard for Brandon and Xander! Please send prayers and support our way to this beautiful family.
Love - The Fischer Sisters (Joanie, Andrea & Michelle)