It's Happening: The Showering of God's Amazing Grace on Nellie Rayne

By Julie Perine on October 10, 2017 from It’s Happening via

At just over a pound and a half – the weight of three cups of sugar or six sticks of butter – a new baby girl made her arrival into our extended family on April 25 of this year.
When her mom was diagnosed with advanced preeclampsia; her own life in immediate danger, Nellie Rayne was born at 25 weeks by cesarean section at Ruby Memorial Hospital. When I heard she weighed just one pound, 10 ounces, my heart sank. It was hard to imagine that this tiny newborn baby would survive.
Yet through an outpouring of prayers, love and support, as well as parents who followed her from Ruby to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus; never for a moment giving up on her, Nellie Rayne – who is now five months old and has never seen the world outside the walls of a hospital room or ambulance – has grown to more than seven pounds. By the end of this month, she is expected to finally come home to her Bridgeport family.
When a miracle is witnessed, it should be shared; shared with thankfulness and in awe of what God has done.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw Nellie. At her mom Samantha McQuaid’s instructions, I scrubbed up to the elbows and together we went into the NICU room where she lied in an incubator, just 11 inches long and looking even tinier than I thought she would.
Considered a micro-preemie, her eyes were not yet open and her head was wrapped to protect her from the light. Yet, Nellie was very aware that we were there. Sammy said I could touch her and I slipped my hand into the opening of the incubator and through the various wires, monitoring her heart and vitals; carrying life-saving nutrients and oxygen. At first, I lightly touched her, that peaceful newborn baby feeling sweeping over me. I then touched her hand and she responded by wrapping her fingers – which had no fingernails – around my pinky. Those fingers were so small, they couldn’t wrap all the way around. She looked like a living baby doll. It was hard to take my eyes off her - and even harder to walk away - but others were waiting to meet this amazing little person.
There were ups and downs; good days and bad days. They had to teach her how to suck and eventually she could drink a tiny bit of her mother’s milk by bottle. But that was so much work for her. There were intermittent periods of bottle and intravenous feeding. She would gain, then lose weight. It was a roller coaster of emotions for this young couple and though I only saw Nellie a couple of times, I certainly witnessed how much she depended upon them.
At another visit, she was wound up; literally fighting for her little life. By then, her eyes were open and her little arms were flailing. It had to be hard for Sammy and Justin not to just grab her up, but of course, they did what was best for her. They were only able to hold her just so many minutes each day, but they could appease her with a simple touch. I saw Justin put his large hand into her incubator and just by hovering it over her – which totally covered her little body – he calmed his little girl down.
Nellie eventually had to undergo surgery to find out why she was not gaining weight. An obstruction or disease was suspected; yet, the procedure was noneventful. An ileostomy was performed and she was under observation for several more weeks of highs and lows; tiny victories as well as disappointments and scares.
In August, Nellie  was transferred via ambulance to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, weighing in at just over three pounds. There were more ups than downs and she continued to gain weight. The goal became to build her strength and eventually reverse the ileostomy. On her five-month birthday, Nellie posted for photos, wearing a frilly, pink handmade baby doll dress which her Aunt Brittany bought for her. She certainly still looked like a living doll. Within recent days, the medical staff said she was ready for the reversal procedure, which is taking place today. Please send up your prayers for her and her family. 
For more than five months, her family members have watched her daily via video monitoring systems. She has learned to smile and laugh, roll over and hold herself up. And now she is one step closer to finally going home for the very first time. 
There have been a lot of tears driven by worry and sadness and elated hearts over small victories. And there have been so many prayers. A very small baby has taught us all a lot about the will to live and God’s amazing grace which can override medical statistics, percentages or expectations.
Thanks, Nellie Rayne, for already having an impact on our lives. As for anyone thinking that at 25 weeks of pregnancy, a fetus isn’t yet a living, thinking baby thriving on love from his or her parents, I can assure you that just isn’t so.
Julie Perine can be reached at 304-848-7200, ext. 2 or at More "It's Happening" HERE

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