Miraculous Homecoming for Premature Baby After Nine Months in NICU

Madie and Dylan Statler experienced an emotional homecoming that defied the odds as they brought their baby daughter, Evie, home after an incredible nine-month journey in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Mason Statler, 10, far right, sees his sister, Evie, for the first time since last summer as his parents, Dylan and Madie Statler, bring her home from St. Louis Children’s Hospital to surprise him with an early Christmas present in Cape Girardeau on Monday, Dec. 18, 2023.Robert Cohen, Post-Dispatch

Born as a “micro preemie” at just over 16 weeks early, weighing less than a pound, Evie’s survival became a testament to the boundaries of science, medicine, and the unwavering love and faith of her parents. The journey included numerous challenges, from underdeveloped lungs to high blood pressure in her lungs, known as pulmonary hypertension.

Evie’s parents, Madie and Dylan, spent countless hours by her side, navigating the complexities of caring for a baby born so prematurely. The hospital staff provided crucial support, and the Statlers drew strength from stories of other families with micro preemies who overcame similar obstacles.

The turning point came when Evie was transferred to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, a specialized facility equipped with advanced technology and a team of specialists. A complex cardiac catheterization, adjustments to her ventilator and medications, and a personalized care plan tailored to her unique needs paved the way for Evie’s remarkable progress.

The emotional farewell in the NICU included praise from doctors and nurses who marveled at Evie’s resilience. Madie and Dylan, grateful for the support received, reminisced about the challenging moments and unexpected surprises along the way. Evie’s story unfolded like a beacon of hope, inspiring those around her.

As they left the hospital, the staff bid farewell with hugs, Merry Christmas wishes, and a graduation ceremony, complete with a signed cap, a certificate, and a book to mark Evie’s completion of 269 days in the NICU.

The Statler family, including their 10-year-old son Mason, drove home with anticipation and excitement. Mason, unaware that his parents were bringing home his baby sister, received an early Christmas gift that surpassed his expectations. The emotional reunion at home, marked by pink balloons and tears of joy, became a symbol of the best Christmas present ever.

With her daughter, Madie Statler, at her side, Tonya Critchlow kneels at her granddaughter Evie’s crib, after Evie arrived home a week before Christmas, at their Cape Girardeau home on Monday, Dec. 18, 2023.Robert Cohen, Post-Dispatch

For Madie and Dylan, waking up with their family together felt like Christmas had arrived early. Evie’s nursery, set up near their bed, represented the culmination of a journey marked by strength, resilience, and the ultimate gift of having their daughter home.

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