Melanie Bennett Photography » Drayton Valley Photographer

Chase, Strong Fighter- NICU Session

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11


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The day of May 12, 2016 had been like any other for Ashley, who was just over 25 weeks pregnant. She went to a routine doctors appointment and took her 2 year old son for a play date, unaware of the events that would unfold that evening. Ashley’s husband, Nick, wasn’t home as he was helping his family, and she was cooking supper when she began to feel that something just wasn’t right. Although she had a completely normal pregnancy without complications, she was feeling uncomfortable and decided to call her husband. Once he arrived home, Ashley was having intense pain and pressure and it was clear they needed to get to the hospital immediately. As they were leaving their home, her water broke and Ashley recalls having no control over her body. As they rushed into their small town emergency room, Nick explained the situation and they were brought into a room right away.

” I remember laying on the bed and the doctor saying, ‘The baby is coming right now!’ “, recalls Ashley. 15-20 minutes after arriving, their son Chase was born weighing less than 2 pounds. Not only was he very premature, their son was blue and not breathing. Ashley remembers the doctor approaching her and telling her that there was almost no chance that her baby was going to survive and asked her what she wanted to do. “I was not willing to give up. In that moment, I didn’t even react, cry or freak out. The Spirit of God stilled me and overcame me.” says Ashley. She began to pray in the Spirit fervently as she was being assessed. One of her best friends, Shaila, was in the waiting room with their older son Tristan, so she asked her husband to bring her in. The medical team had been working on Chase for quite some time and he was still limp and blue. It seemed all hope was lost and there was literally nothing left to do to save this tiny life. As the doctor was about to come back into the room to prepare to call the time of death, Shaila laid her hands on the nurses and began to pray. “You will live and not die in Jesus’ name, Strong Fighter. You will live and not die in Jesus’ name. You will have perfect brain function in Jesus’ name. You will live and not die in Jesus name.”  Miraculously, his colour began to change pink and his vitals became strong and stable. Once the doctor saw how stable Chase was, he called Stars and the NICU team from Edmonton began the journey to get him. The incredible medical staff at the hospital (which does not deliver babies unless under emergency circumstances and has no NICU) used a manual respirator to keep him breathing for almost 2 and a half hours until the NICU team arrived.

This was just the beginning of a difficult journey ahead for Chase and his family. Over the next few weeks, Chase began to have seizures, heart and lung problems and doctors found a stage 4 brain haemorrhage. The NICU staff warned Ashley and Nick that there was a strong possibility of Chase having Cerebral Palsy, or not surviving at all. At 2 weeks old, Chase went under for brain surgery to get a shunt put in. The surgery was a success and he remained stable for the entire procedure. During his surgery, Ashley says there were hundreds, if not thousands of family and friends praying for him. She remembers being outside of the operating room and being so overwhelmed in God’s peace. She knew He was going to take care of Chase. “Trust me,” Ashley says. “it wasn’t for lack of crying or feeling upset, but choosing to stand again regardless of how we felt or the present reality. After about a month we began to see every obstacle coming against Chase supernaturally turn around. It wasn’t all at once or right away, but God moved and continued to do so more and more as time went on. All of the issues with his heart, lungs and seizures turned around, and the bleeding in his brain has stopped! The fluid has returned to it’s normal colour and is only being drained twice a week now. They are going to try and let his body deal with it on his own!”

Chase has been in the NICU for 2 months now and incredibly weighs over 5 pounds! The nurses all comment that they can’t believe how fast he is gaining weight, how alert and active he is and his ability to suck on his soother!


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Words from Ashley:

Over the last 2 years I have developed such a deep, intimate and strong relationship with Jesus- His goodness, faithfulness &  walking closely with Him. This whole experience has completely solidified and strengthened it all in me. What my eyes, heart and spirit have witnessed in these last few years are beyond words of explanation. He has never ever failed me or let down and I knew this time He wouldn’t. Our first few weeks in the NICU had a lot of downs. There was a lot going wrong at once with Chase: his brain, his heart, seizures, his lungs. Regardless of how it looked, what was going on or even how I felt,  I stood on Gods words & I knew my Father was good and faithful. I rested in that and at His feet, Nick and I decided to fully entrust Chase to God. I remember constantly singing praises over him, declaring bible verses over him, praying over him & just celebrating over him in what’s to come at his bedside for the first few weeks. It did something very life changing and radical in both Nick and I. We became more unshakeable in Him than ever before. It’s like a mighty warrior raging against hell and on fire for God’s kingdom was there all along and was starting to surface, but this whole situation brought it right out of me! He has been our peace and strength in all of this. We have had our moments of anger and tears, but we didn’t let that affect where we stand!
God also gave me prophecies and visions for Chase not only through myself, but through others as well. One that really hit home for me was a vision God gave me of Chase when he is older.
He was on stage preaching at a Christian conference in his mid 20s or 30s. He was dressed in quite the outfit! He was wearing a scuba hat, a baseball bat, soccer shorts and shoes, had a stereo with him and was wearing a stethoscope around his neck with a cross on it. He started sharing his testimony about how his miraculous birth and how his Mom’s faith brought him back to life & how Shaila was there speaking out loud and praying. He said ,”What I am wearing is for a specific purpose. After a few days of being in the hospital following my birth and revival, the doctors were saying that my I had serious situation with blood in the brain. It could result in me having CP and learning disabilities. Well I stand here today in all of this, not to glorify myself, but to glorify God. None of what the doctors say stood and prevailed against me. I am wearing all of this cause to show you a visual of how God is faithful. I have been fully capable, whole and well all my life and even more so than an average child. God has blessed me in all areas. I am basketball player, soccer player, dancer-hence the stereo (a photo comes up on screen of Chase doing a crazy breakdance move on his head), and a lane swimmer. The stethoscope represents the profession I am getting into and that’s Scientific Research. The cross represents the ministry I am doing and am currently in. (A photo comes up of people that were once in wheelchairs or who were disabled that are perfectly whole to this day.  These were all people Chase prayed for. My parents and I still tell this testimony and it’s still touching and rocking people to this day! God is so good!” He was so smart, dynamic and quick to speak. I held onto this and keep embracing this no matter what it looked like. I declared and spoke this promise over and over again over Chase. God has been so faithful and will finish the work He started. I give all of the glory, thanks and praises to God because I know if it wasn’t for Him, Chase wouldn’t be here and thriving today. Heaven has definitely touched earth through this whole situation and everything has and is supernaturally lining up according to His kingdom, His word and His promises for Chase!