The Masthay Family’s NICU Journey

We are so excited to share another Family of the Month story with you all! A big thank you to the Masthay family for sharing their journey with us! They are two years out of this journey and share with us how truly resilient these babies born early can be! Amanda shares their story in her own words below:

When my husband and I found out that we were expecting our third child at the end of August, we were so excited. Our other two children, Emory (age 3 1/2) and Paxton (age 1) were so much fun and had such unique personalities. We got pregnant quicker than expected, but after successfully navigating two young kids, I wasn’t intimidated about having another so soon. To add to the excitement, we decided not to find out the gender this time around!  Tim played football for the Packers at the time, so we were living in Green Bay and had the best doctor and nurses I can imagine. 

Tim and I both grew up in church, but I can honestly say that I had never encountered the audible voice of God before. Early on in my pregnancy, as I rested in bed during nap time, I heard what I can only describe as the Lord speaking directly to me. I heard him say that something would be “wrong” this time around, but that no matter what it was, I could handle it. Of course, I brushed this off as my mind playing games with me. We all know what hormones can do to a perfectly sane woman!

A few weeks later, in a routine ultrasound with my OB, he got very quiet and lingered over the same area for a while. He informed me that it looked like my baby would be born with clubbed feet. My mind immediately went back to my conversation with God. This is what He meant.  I was convinced. 

In doing all of my research, I learned that the nearest hospital to Green Bay that could do the intensive and specialized correction (which would span a few years) of clubbed feet was two hours away in Milwaukee. Having no family nearby and two small children, I couldn’t imagine driving to Milwaukee weekly for casting and corrective therapies. It was then that my husband and I decided even while he still played football, the kids and I would move back to Lexington, where we could live within minutes of Shriner’s Children’s Hospital. Shriner’s had a doctor who specialized in clubbed feet correction, and my parents lived less than 40 minutes away, which made child care so much more feasible.  

After the football season ended in Green Bay, our family left for Kentucky to get our home ready there. We planned to return to Wisconsin at least 6 weeks before the baby was due in late August and stay there until school was scheduled to start for our oldest in Lexington. 

One afternoon while I slowly organized our new house, I started having contractions. I was convinced I was just dehydrated and tired from moving, so Tim took the kids to the park so I could rest. The contractions became pretty regular, so I decided to time them… they were two and a half minutes apart! I immediately called my doctor in Green Bay, and he said to go to the nearest hospital with a women’s clinic, which happened to be St. Joseph East.

Tim and the kids came back for me, and I walked into the ER at 6:30pm on June 16 at exactly 30 weeks. They immediately rushed me to triage where I met the OB on duty. Since I wasn’t dilated at all, he wasn’t worried. I received 3 doses of terbutaline (about 30 minutes between each dose), and the doctor was very surprised when I progressed to 2cm and continued to have painful contractions. He decided to start a magnesium drip, which he was confident would stop labor. 

Tim drove the kids to my parents’ house so they could get in bed while we waited for my body to calm down and to be discharged. By the time Tim came back less than two hours later, I had progressed to 8cm, and the doctor said there was nothing he could do. He turned off the magnesium drip, and the most intense labor pain I could have ever imagine came full force. Darcy Rose was born at 3:23am and weighed just 3 lbs. 14 oz. She was tiny, but perfect!

Darcy was rushed to the NICU, where she quickly stabilized on the CPAP machine. Her lungs hadn’t had time to benefit from the steroid shot, so she needed help breathing. My mind went back to the conversation with God…. THIS was what He was preparing me for.  This baby was a miracle, and even though her birth was anything but normal and easy, God had already assured me that I could handle it.  I immediately had a peace about the entire experience, and felt completely calm. Darcy exceeded all expectations, and got to leave the NICU after 31 days! 

God continued to bless us with incredible surprises after she came home. At her first appointment with the foot specialist, I was told that Darcy’s feet hadn’t had time to set in the clubbed position, and even though her feet were turned in, she would naturally grow and they would fix themselves….. with no medical intervention!  I had mentally prepared myself for years of casting, leg braces, and physical therapy, but Darcy wouldn’t need ANY of it. 

Darcy is now two years old and just graduated from the NICU Grad Clinic. Her verbal, cognitive, and motor skills are all well above average. Her doctors said that you would never be able to tell that she came into this world 10 weeks early and had such a dramatic start to life. She continues to blow our minds. 

Parenting this precious baby has opened my eyes to the true miracles that God puts in our lives. We often can’t see the bigger picture, but I completely believe that God is always working for our good. Darcy is the living, thriving, perfect proof of His goodness and provision. We are so blessed to have her in our family.

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