Baby Mason Medical Fund
This campaign was originally created to help the Sims family with medical expenses for their twin boys, Mason and Gray. More specifically, we decided to reach out to all of you so that Mason could travel to Nebraska from Alabama and hopefully receive a much needed intestinal transplant. However, since beginning this campaign the other day, Mason has become extremely ill and is fighting for his life right now. Please help this family in any way you can. Here's some of their journey but you can follow them on Facebook... Praying for Gray and Mason.
Twin babies Gray and Mason Sims were born at 28 weeks on December 13, 2013.
Before the twins...Jay and Jeanna Sims were living in Birmingham, AL and parents to Parker 4 1/2 and Addison 2 1/2. Jay was working for AT&T as an engineer and Jeanna (formerly a post-partum nurse) was a stay at home mom. The couple was attending Hunter Street Baptist Church. Parker, a loving and sweet boy, was diagnosed with sensory disorder at the age of 2 and spent a couple of years in speech and occupational therapy. He has improved greatly since he completed therapy and now attends 1st grade, loves cars, Batman and playing his Nintendo DS. Addison is a spunky little girl who goes back and forth between tomboy and princess depending on her mood. She attends preschool 4 mornings a week and is very social.
The Sims did not plan on having more children for a couple of years, however God had other plans. Jeanna found out she was expecting...TWINS. Jay was thrilled and Jeanna was initially overwhelmed at the thought, but , of course, became more and more excited.
The twins were mono/di, which means they were sharing a placenta and therefore came with a lot of risks. So when they went in for the 16 week ultrasound to find out the sex of the babies, they were given some horrifying news. The babies were already starting to grow at much different rates. Jeanna asked the doctor how bad it looked, and he answered "about as bad as it can be". He went on to tell them that baby B, Mason, was less than the 1% on the growth chart. Gray at that time was 48%. He told them Mason wouldn't make it through the week, and that because they were sharing a blood supply, it meant Gray would likely have a stroke and die as well. He suggested that they think about "elective reduction" of Mason, so that Gray would have a better chance at life.
Jeanna writes "We let him know that would absolutely NOT be an option. God put these babies in here for a reason, and only He decides what happens with their lives. We were absolutely crushed by this news and terrified. I was already feeling the babies move and could tell exactly which baby was which and I remember wondering if every movement I felt from Mason would be the last I felt. It was SO hard! I really grieved that whole week. We decided to start seeing a new high risk doctor at a different hospital and he still gave us pretty grim news...things did not look in Mason's favor. We began coming in for weekly ultrasounds and every time it was scary and we were told that we could lose them both at any moment. The days were so long! Our faith was tested and we had to rely on God like we never had before. I remember asking the doctor "at what point would you feel like it would be safe to deliver the babies?" He told me "at least 30 weeks would be ideal, but with the way the twins were looking, he would consider 28 weeks 'a win'".
Fast forward to 27 weeks 6 days. Jeanna went in for her weekly ultrasound and things did not look good. The blood flow to Mason was reversing and he had fluid in his abdomen. The doctor suspected they had twin to twin transfusion syndrome and that Gray was shunting blood to Mason, causing the fluid overload to go into his abdomen. He admitted her to Labor and Delivery to start steroids and watch the boys on the monitors. Within an hour of being there, before she even received her first steroid shot, she had two doctors come rushing in looking at Mason's heart activity on the strip. They said it looked bad and they didn't think they'd make it much longer. They gave her a first steroid shot and started "CP magnesium" (it helps reduce the risk of cerebral palsy in premature babies). They ended up giving her a 2nd steroid shot 12 hours after the first one (usually they wait 24 hours but they knew they didn't have much time). The next morning she was 28 weeks exactly. Jeanna's high risk doctor said he'd be coming around 12 noon to do another ultrasound. He ended up coming a bit earlier and watched the babies for a little while on ultrasound. Within 24 minutes Mason hadn't moved or shown any breathing movements (the day before he had passed the test within 8 minutes). That's when things started moving quickly. They rushed Jeanna back for a c-section. When Mason was born he had extremely low apgars. He only had a low heartbeat when born. No respiratory effort, no tone, poor color- he didn't look good. Jeanna said she went back and watched the videos that Jay took of them working on the boys right after delivery (when she was still in my c/s) and the neonatologist said Mason didn't look good and they didn't know which direction he would go. Then the OB told him "we were hoping for more time but we literally got them out just in time". Jeanna and Jay are so thankful how everything worked out in God's perfect timing, but the journey continues to be long and hard.
Since birth, Gray has done really well for being born so prematurely, and got to come home after spending 59 days in the hospital. He is a typical preemie who loves to eat and sleep and is a really good baby. His big brother and sister fell instantly in love and are such big helpers.
Because of Mason's low blood supply in the womb, he has had continued to have a lot of complications and remained in the NICU for 8 months. The first thing he suffered was a major blockage of the intestines called a meconium ileus. They had to operate on him at 7 days old and the surgery was very hard on his tiny, feeble body and caused him to become very ill. The weeks following the surgery were touch and go and we literally didn't know from one day to the next if Mason was going to pull through. He got very sick with Sepsis (a bacterial staph infection in the bloodstream) which led to high vent settings and therefore caused significant damage to his lungs. He struggles with a long term lung disease called Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia. Praise the Lord he was able to wean off the ventilator and is now on a CPAP machine for assisted breathing. He also has ROP (Retinopathy of prematurity - an eye disease that occurs in premature babies and can lead to possible blindness) which he is receiving eye injections for to prevent retinal detachment. He developed Rickets last week which is something caused from a significant lack of nutrition and Vitamin D, so he had 4 broken bones (one in each extremity). While in the hospital, he had another intestinal surgery to remove the ostomy bags and reconnect his intestines. Other possible disorders that have been mentioned by doctors are Cerebral Palsy and/or Cystic Fibrosis, but those are things we will not know for sure for several months down the road. He is such a precious little fighter and we believe that his spunk is part of what is helping him to fight through everything he has been faced with.
After arriving home with Mason and a long list of specialists to follow up with, Mason has been on a roller coaster. The cardiologist found a new problem with his heart. He has pulmonary vein stenosis, which is pretty rare, apparently. Then, he smiled intentionally and even laughed for the first time. He has been in and out of the hospital since he arrived home. There have been so many ups and downs. Mason was throwing up multiple times a day despite being on IV meds (no eating) 23 hours a day. As a result, his lungs are weak. Mason went through another major surgery in July to insert an ostomy as his intenstines are not functioning properly. Unfortunately, that surgery did not solve the problem.
So, with all of that and more, Mason was admitted to teh hospital the other day with two infections. Yesterday morning he declined rapidly and is currently fighting in the PICU. Please pray for this sweet 20 month old who needs a break and help us help the family ease some of the financial struggles that come with these 2 sweet miracles. God is in control and Mason has proven he is a fighter. The journey continues and it is critical right now.
I was writing thank you's to all the generous givers this morning and wanted to say a huge thanks to all of you again. Many are repeat donors and that is amazing! You've all helped this family so much.
I will say, Jeanna and Jay are struggling emotionally. That shouldn't come as a shock but when I see it up close it rips at my heart like nothing I've ever known (and I've had a little heartache in life). Please continue to pray for those Mason has left behind. He so deservingly is whole and happy now but he is missed beyond belief. Grief is a crazy roller coaster and the Sims family continues to try to figure out how to navigate something that they have no control over.
Thank you again and please share this family's story so that we might get them to at least $50,000.
I knew I wanted to write something to honor you my sweet boy, but I have struggled to find the words that are sufficient. And then as I thought, I realized, everyone who knows you, already knows how amazing you are, so I will try my best.
My sweet Mason, I have never met anyone more incredible than you. From the moment early in my pregnancy when they told me you probably wouldn’t make it, and to prepare myself to lose you, I have never prayed harder or more desperately for anyone or anything. And then as you fought so hard to hang on every week, I have never felt more compassion for anyone, for you were given the most difficult journey to walk from the very beginning, and you fought with everything you had in you. You amazed me when you were born, so weak, so sick, but you came out fighting, and hitting at the doctors and nurses who worked to keep you alive. You have been the strongest fighter from the beginning and fought so hard your whole life. And you did it with the most beautiful spirit of anyone I’ve ever met. You’re our littlest warrior. You make me so proud. You’ve taught me more in your short life than anyone ever has or ever will.
Through your life I learned about true sacrificial love. Caring for you became mostly all I did, and it was a true honor and joy to be able to take care of you. Sweet baby boy, I only wish I could’ve taken every bit of your pain and struggle away, I wish it could have been me instead of you, and I’m so sorry you had to struggle and fight so hard just to live. I’m so sorry for the pain you had to endure. It didn’t feel fair that such a precious, innocent, beautiful soul had to bear so much, but you handled it all with such incredible grace and strength that still amazes me and makes me so proud to call you mine. Never once was taking care of you a burden, it was nothing but an honor, and a privilege, and a joy.
Through your life I learned how beautiful the body of Christ is. We have been so loved by so many and it’s been such a beautiful, humbling gift from God. Yes, there have been many hardships along the way, but infinitely more blessings. Because of you, we got to experience how good and loving people are. And we have grown to love others in a way we wouldn’t have if we hadn’t had to walk this journey.
Because of your life, God has become more real to me than ever before. I have had to fall on my face before Him in total surrender knowing that the outcome of your precious life might be my biggest fear. But I have never felt more loved by God. He has never felt more good, as He has been so gracious, and kind, and gentle, and merciful, and loving to me through this journey. People have told me I’m so strong, and the truth is, I’ve never felt weaker. But through your life, sweet boy, others have seen what it looks like for a person to be filled with the Holy Spirit. For He was the only thing holding me up, giving me the strength I didn’t have and so desperately needed. Only because of Him was I able to make it through any of the days of this difficult journey. I know your life has brought a lot of people closer to God - how amazing is that? You’ve accomplished more in your short life than most ever will. I’m so proud of you.
I absolutely love everything about you my sweet buddy. My heart is broken, shattered into pieces because you’re not here anymore. And there will always be a hole in my heart that will never be healed until I get to see you again. Not a day will go by that I won’t think of you, miss you, cry for you. But I’m so happy for you, my sweet angel, because you’ve never been happier than you are now; a happiness so perfect that I can't even comprehend. I’m so happy that you have a brand new body that is perfect and won’t ever have to experience pain or suffering or sadness. I picture you running around, playing hard and able to breathe so well, eating the best food anyone can imagine, and able to see so perfectly. And even better, able to see all the beauty that Heaven has to offer, all the beauty that God is. My arms feel so empty but I know God is cradling you in His arms, loving you so tenderly, kissing those precious cheeks I miss so much, and that brings comfort to my broken heart. So fly high sweet baby, laugh, play, and enjoy all the goodness that you were never able to on this earth. And know that mommy loves you with every fiber of my being and will love you with everything in me for my whole life.
A poem that describes exactly how I feel about you:
“I Still Would Have Chosen You” (By Terri Banish)
"If before you were born, I could have gone to heaven and saw all the beautiful souls, I still would have chosen you…
If God had told me, “This soul would one day need extra care and needs”, I still would have chosen you
If He had told me, “This soul may make your heart bleed”, I still would have chosen you
If He had told me, “This soul would make you question the depth of your faith”, I still would have chosen you
If He had told me, “This soul would make tears flow from your eyes that could fill a river”, I still would have chosen you
If He had told me, “This soul may one day make you witness overbearing suffering”, I still would have chosen you
If He had told me, “All that you know to be normal would drastically change”, I still would have chosen you
Of course, even though I would have chosen you, I know it was God who chose me for you."
We made a good team, baby boy, and I will miss having my sweet buddy by my side every day. Thank you for being the best gift I’ve ever been given. I love you to the moon and back and so much more.
For the locals, there is a fundraiser at Moe's Southwest Grill tonight! The Birmingham Area Moms of Multiples are putting it on and they and Moe's are donating 10% of all purchases directly to the Sims family. Love it! You can dine in, carry out, buy a gift card...whatever you want!!!