Shelby and Slade Paschal
A Rainbow of Miracles
Scott and Shelly Paschal have experienced excruciating heartbreak and overwhelming joy in their seven years of marriage.
In 2016, after struggles to become pregnant and a round of IVF treatment, the Paschals found out they were expecting a baby boy— Shane. At the 20-week appointment they learned Shane had a problem with his kidneys. The Paschals were told their son was not expected to survive.
"We went to see a specialist in Austin and they told us Shane would have no quality of life," the couple recalls. "They predicted he might pass away in utero around 30-32 weeks. Abortion was also suggested. We told them 'no' and that we were going to pray. We anticipated not seeing the flutter of his heartbeat at every weekly appointment. We bought a heart Doppler and that was our nightly and morning routine— listening to his heart beat."
Shelly carried Shane through 35 weeks. He was no longer producing amniotic fluid. Her OB/GYN at Shannon, Greg Dunham, MD, told them it was time to meet their son.
"On April 20, 2016 at 8:17 am we got to meet our son," Shelly says. "It was beautiful. He came out screaming and crying. They handed him to me and he was peaceful. He was in his happy place."
"He wasn't suffering and screaming," Scott adds. "He just snuggled with his mom. It was like he knew what he was supposed to do. After about an hour, he just went to sleep and we knew that was it. We have no regrets looking back on that time."
After their loss, Scott and Shelly made the emotional decision to try again. After three rounds of IVF treatment, they received news Shelly was pregnant with twins!
"Our 20 week appointment was very hard since that was the time we found out about Shane's condition with his kidneys, but my pregnancy was great overall," Shelly says. "We had a gender reveal for two girls— Shelby and Steely. The next time we went to see Dr. Hill, she did an ultrasound and told us 'Steely' was actually a boy!"
Shelly carried the twins up to 37 weeks and on October 23, 2018, she and Scott welcomed Shelby Kimber and Slade Michael into the world.
"On our delivery day we were anxious and excited," she says. "We parked in the same 'Stork Parking' spot we did when came to the hospital for Shane. Walking up to the building brought back a lot of emotions."
"My nerves were getting the best of me," Scott adds. "It was very emotional seeing all the sights again. We had a lot of the same nurses, which was overwhelming and comforting at the same time."
The twins' delivery went smoothly and each baby weighed more than six pounds.
"The next thing I know, I heard a little squeak and cry," Shelly says. "They showed me Shelby and then Slade shortly after. Shelby had dark hair and Slade's was lighter. He looked just like his brother which was tough, but they put both of them on my chest and life began. There is nothing greater than that love."
Elizabeth Young, MD, Shannon Pediatrician, met the Paschal family after Shane's birth.
"We fell in love with her that day," Scott says. "Her bedside manner was incredible and we are forever grateful to her for the way she spoke to us."
After the delivery, Dr. Young went to check on her two newest patients.
"They were off to a good start and in the room with their parents," Dr. Young says. "Slade began having respiratory issues after a few hours and he was taken to the NICU where he could be monitored closely. When you have multiples, there is always a chance Mom isn't going to carry them to term and she will deliver multiple preemie babies. Most often, these babies do need respiratory assistance and require a stay in the NICU."
While in the NICU, lab work was ordered for Slade, he received a chest x-ray and was placed on the bubble CPAP machine.
"The bubble CPAP equipment was provided by Children's Miracle Network funds," Dr. Young says. "I was here before we became a Children's Miracle Network hospital. I can tell you we have been able to greatly expand the care we provide children in this area with CMN support. The bubble CPAP machine is less invasive and traumatizing than a ventilator. It allows the baby to breathe on their own with a little extra pressure and support."
"Dr. Young informed us of everything that would be going on and why," Shelly says. "It was two days before I was able to hold him again. The monitors and IVs brought back a lot of memories, but seeing the nurses and how they cared for him was awesome. They did everything to help him out. They also helped me when I wasn't able to nurse. One night, they noticed how exhausted we were and they offered to take care of Shelby, too, so we could get some rest. They would open the blinds and let our family look at Slade through the windows."
The results of Slade's chest x-ray revealed a small pneumonia. Dr. Young made the decision to treat him with a full IV antibiotic course which required him to stay in the NICU after his mom and sister were discharged from the hospital.
Fortunately, the Paschals were able to utilize the Parenting Suite located across from the Special Care Nursery (NICU). The Suite is available for families with infants who have been in the Nursery and are almost ready to go home.
While the infant is staying in the Parenting Suite with the parents, the nursing staff is still caring for the infant. Vital signs are still checked every 8 hours, feedings are monitored, and the nurses are available to provide any assistance needed by the parents.
Paige Carter, RN, met the Paschals through the White Rose Program and was with them as a nursery nurse the day of the twins' delivery.
"It was an emotional delivery for their family and also our staff, everyone was a little sad but also excited about the twins arrival," Paige says. "We all had tears of joy when they got to hold their babies for the first time. It makes me proud to be a part of our team and see moments like this."
After the delivery, Paige helped care for Slade in the Special Care Nursery.
"In the NICU, babies receive oxygen and respiratory support, IV fluids and antibiotics if needed," she says. "We educate the parents on how to take care of their babies and work with them on feeding and grooming. Emotional support is also very important. We encourage and reassure them. We are fortunate to receive multiple benefits from CMN including our radiant, or Panda, warmers, IVs and syringe pumps. We have an isolette for multiples. This is important for us to keep the babies together and still provide the care they need. CMN funds provide us with educational opportunities. This is beneficial to us, the babies and their families."
After seven days, Slade was discharged from the hospital and the Paschal family began their journey at home. They are extremely grateful to their nurses, doctors and Children's Miracle Network for the care their entire family has received.
"I know everyone does everything they can for each and every baby," Scott says. "They all worked together to accommodate us. We stayed together as a family until we were all ready to come home together. It has all been heartwarming. We are grateful for the Shannon family we have now."
Shelby and Slade are healthy, growing babies. The Paschals describe life with twins as overwhelming at times, but double the fun and love.
"I believe every baby is a miracle," Shelly says. "We got the miracle of holding Shane and seeing him alive. We got one hour with him. I needed Shelby to help me with the experience of losing Shane. Slade, looking into his eyes, he just makes my heart happy."
"We love to share our story about Shane and the twins," Scott adds. "You never know when someone will need to hear your story. They need to know miracles happen all the time. The first year after Shane, I was trying to be the rock. Telling others how losing Shane and gaining the twins affected us—I hope it helps other Dads and families know it will be hard. You have to keep your hope and your faith because miracles happen every day."