NICU baby goes home just in time for her first Christmas

Premature baby Evie with doctor and parents
BJC Healthcare

The Statler family will all be home for Christmas this year — and according to the family of four, that’s nothing short of a miracle.

Evangeline “Evie” Statler spent the first nine months of her little life in the newborn intensive care unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Born March 24 at just 23 weeks, she was nearly four full months premature of her July 16 due date.

Parents Maddie and Dylan Statler didn’t expect their baby girl to arrive so early. In fact, Maddie told Good Morning America she’d had a fairly uneventful pregnancy up until one scary morning at 23 weeks.

The Statler family
BJC Healthcare

“I noticed that my stomach felt kind of tight and different and then I started having contractions later that day,” Statler said in an interview with GMA. “I was in denial though that I could be in labor because I was like, ‘I’m 23 weeks. There’s no way that I’m in labor right now.’ And then I had some bleeding later that evening and then that’s kind of what prompted us to go to the hospital.”

Evie was delivered via emergency cesarean section and weighed just 14 ounces at birth. Dad Dylan Statler told GMA that doctors had given Evie just a 50% chance of survival.

Evie Statler with parents Maddie and Dylan
BJC Healthcare

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Dr. Melissa Riley, a Washington University neonatologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, joined Evie’s NICU team in July and was also interviewed by GMA upon Evie’s release. “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.'”

Evie Statler's hand on dad Dylan's hand
BJC Healthcare

Now, nine months later, baby Evie is going to be home for Christmas. Released on Dec. 18, exactly one week before Christmas Day, Evie’s parents and doctors call her a smiley, feisty, curious baby who is a ball of energy. Dylan Statler adds one more adjective: Miracle.

“It’s kind of symbolic,” he said in an interview with GMA, “Because she’s kind of like a gift or a miracle baby.”

The Statler family on discharge day
BJC Healthcare

In an email with Simplemost, BJC Healthcare called the miracle baby “Christmas Evie.” This Christmas season, Evie’s even inspiring her artist dad to create a series of new paintings. One titled “Waiting On Her Arrival” is currently on display at the Art Saint Louis Gallery.

Dylan Statler with painting
BJC Healthcare

Congratulations to the happy family of four, who get to celebrate their first Christmas all together!

MORE: What is a nesting party, and should you have one instead of a baby shower?

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About the Author
Taylor Kuether
Taylor Kuether is an award-winning journalist with more than 12 years’ experience writing and editing content, designing and implementing digital strategy, leading teams and executing production. She's written for The Washington Post, National Geographic, The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times and more.

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