Teachers Lindsay and Tyler Staup are used to celebrating the 100th day of school with their students each year, and recently drew inspiration from those celebrations to mark their own premature daughter’s 100th day in the NICU. They wanted to make the day to be a fun one for baby Everly, after she endured months of surgeries and medical treatments.
“We thought we could tie in the tradition inside the NICU just to make it fun and joyful,” Lindsay Staup told Good Morning America. “We were like, we had to do something fun, to just bring joy and create memories with her.”
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Born on March 21 at just 28 weeks, Everly overcame multiple obstacles to reach her 100th day on June 29. She underwent treatment for duodenal atresia in which part of her small intestine was blocked. She also faced chronic lung disease and multiple surgeries.
“She has not had an easy journey at all,” Lindsay told WTHR. “I feel like she has hit every speed bump imaginable in the preemie world.”
Despite the medical challenges and setbacks, Everly “is just literally a light to the world,” said Lindsay. “She’s a huge miracle and she has faced so many obstacles and she always comes out better in the end. We’re just so proud of her and she’s helped us become better people. And I don’t know, we’ve just grown so much in this experience and she has just shown us that good things can come out of bad situations. … I just love her so much.”
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Everly has been at the NICU at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and her parents are grateful to the staff there for taking such good care of her.
“At Riley, we have the best nurses and doctors here,” Tyler said. “We’ve loved all of them that we’ve had, and I’d say that they make us feel so welcome and they care for us and they care for our daughter, and it’s just great to know, even when we’re not here, that she’s in wonderful hands because of the work that they do here.”
To celebrate her 100th day, Everly wore a gold tutu and crown with a t-shirt proclaiming, “Hip Hip Hooray, It’s the 100th Day.” Her parents wore t-shirts to match.
“We had a big ol’ photo shoot. My mom was the one who designed her onesie,” Lindsay said. “She also designed us shirts and then we got balloons and we found this little 100-day crown. … We made it fit for her head and everything.”
Tyler told GMA that Everly is a “fiesty” and “strong” baby girl who has helped her parents get through these challenging weeks. “And we’ll say that, you know, I don’t know if us personally could have made it through. And she’s shown strength in so many big ways and we’re just proud to be her parents because of all she’s accomplished,” he said.
Everly’s parents say she has taught them patience, strength, and flexibility. It’s their daughter, their faith, and the small, happy moments that have kept them going. They hope their next celebration with Everly will be at home.
“We know it’s going to be OK no matter if we are here for 200 days or whatever that number is. It is all going to be OK. She’s our little miracle,” Lindsay said.
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