On December 18th, our mission was to fly Paisley to her new home in Indiana.
Born in September of this year, little Paisley is already flying for her second time. Weighing in at under 2 pounds, this beautiful, strong, tiny baby girl was born premature at a fragile 24 weeks by emergency c-section due to her birth mother suffering from a placental abruption, cutting off vital circulation to Paisley. The delivery team resuscitated her at birth and quickly arranged for her to be transported by helicopter to Arkansas Children’s Hospital where she could receive the neonatal intensive care she required. This beautiful little girl has obviously been touched by the Lord. The miracle of Paisley’s birth is a testimony in itself, she was also adopted by a loving young family in Indiana. Her new parents were desperate to get her transferred to Riley Children’s Hospital for her continued care, as she now needs surgery to place a shunt to drain excess fluid and relieve pressure caused by a brain bleed she suffered shortly after birth.
Following the surgery, it will be several more months before she is released to home. Unfortunately, Paisleys insurance carrier denied covering her medical transport costs. However, having their new daughter close to them, and under the care of the skilled neurosurgery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) teams at Riley that will be involved in her ongoing care, was the Christmas wish Paisley’s parents wanted for their new daughter, so they can begin their life as a family and be by her side through her recovery to nurture her, helping her heal and grow stronger.
This is when Paisley’s mother contacted Grace on Wings. When we arrived at the NICU in Little Rock, AR we found Paisley peacefully sleeping. It was amazing to witness how calm and beautiful she was, knowing the battles she had already overcome. Now weighing only 6 pounds, Paisley is now only gestational 36 weeks old. She had a pacifier beside her in the crib, and we completely expected to need it to keep her comforted during the flight. Based on her medical condition we expected her to be irritable during the transport, as premature infants/neonates with medical histories similar to Paisleys are historically highly sensitive to the stimulation they experience from the flight.
As we quickly began to prepare her for the trip, we secured Paisley into the transport Baby Pod that is specifically designed to keep infants warm and safe in the aircraft. The flight from Little Rock to Indianapolis was approximately 90 minutes, and Paisley was amazingly peaceful as Nellie’s twin engines seemed to provide more of a calming comfort, much like cradling her and singing to her a lullaby. This was a perfect example of God’s grace that we witness in every mission. We are always pro-actively preparing to care for the specific care and needs of our patients that we foresee, in hopes of eliminating physical stresses of the flight. As usual, no matter how much or how little we prepare, the Lord always provides that encircling blanket of comfort and protection, and each time we are reminded of His unending presence and love for us all.
“He says, Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” Psalm 105:4
As we landed in Indianapolis, the ambulance was waiting for us as Nellie came to a stop in front of the hanger. Paisley, still calm and peaceful, had done well during the transport. We carefully moved her, into the awaiting ambulance, still secured in the Baby Pod, for the last leg of the mission to Riley Children’s Hospital. When we arrived at Riley, I texted the new parents Susan and Matthew to let them know we had arrived safely and updated them as to how wonderfully Paisley did on the flight. They were already there and had been at the hospital, anxiously awaiting for Paisley’s arrival. They were overjoyed to finally be able to see and cradle their daughter again. They have only been able visit Paisley a few times since her birth, as frequent travel from indianapolis to Little Rock was difficult for them. Since it would still be a few minutes before the NICU team finished their initial assessments and getting Paisley settled into her new surroundings, I asked Susan, “Where are you waiting? We’ll come to you.” As we finally were able to meet Paisley’s new parents, the love and concern radiating from them made it so evident that this family was brought together by the Lord.
What a blessing Paisley is for this young family, and what a blessing they are for Paisley to have the love and nurturing of this couple as her new parents. We presented Susan and Matthew with our gifts, the cross and a Bible for Paisley, and shared with them a few pictures from the mission. Before we left, we all joined hands with her new parents and prayed with thankful praises to the Lord. It was a blessing to serve Paisley and her new family today with Hal, Tim and Donna. Special thanks to the ground ambulance crews as well!