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Father Captures NICU Journey in Vibrant Painting

by | Jan 11, 2024

By Pattie Barrett, Texas Right to Life

A premature baby girl—whose chances of survival were equal to a coin tossbeat the odds and celebrated her first Christmas at home with her family.

Born at 23 weeks by emergency C-section, Evie Statler weighed only 14 oz. Her first days outside the womb had been touch and go for the tiny little girl. Evie’s lungs and immune system were not fully developed, so she faced multiple serious complications. Doctors said her chances of survival were 50%.

“When Evie got here, as sick as she was, honestly, I think our team was a little hesitant to promise success,” neonatologist Dr. Melissa Riley told Good Morning America. “We anticipated a very long stay. So when she arrived here, as sick as she was … at that time, if you would have said, ‘Dr. Riley, is Evie going to be home by Christmas?’ I would have said, ‘I’m not betting on that one.’”

The newborn spent nine months in the NICU, slowly but surely defying expectations.

Despite all the challenges, Evie improved so much that her doctors deemed she was ready to go home with her family, just in time for Christmas.

Her parents credit the excellent care of their team at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, “They are like a second family.”

After nine months that second family was saying goodbye, knowing they would long remember the little girl they had come to love. Her doctor agreed that Evie would not be forgotten by the NICU staff, “It’s one thing to survive, but to survive without complications—that’s even more rare….”

As her parents bundled up their healthy daughter for the long-awaited trip home, they knew this was the best Christmas gift they could possibly imagine.

But the story does not end there.

In the many months of waiting, Evie’s father, Dylan Statler, began a series of paintings. Inspired by the idea of preparing for company, Dylan settled on the idea of putting out fresh flowers as part of the preparation for a special guest. His finished work, entitled “Waiting for Her Arrival,” is vibrant with color and movement, radiating joy.

“It just symbolizes the hope that she will come home one day and kind of a universal thing for anybody anticipating a loved one or someone special coming home,” he said.

The father’s painting now hangs in the St. Louis Art Gallery for all to see, a testimony of their daughter’s miraculous recovery that the Statlers will forever cherish.

Categories: Premature babies