Mackenzi Grace’s Story

A miracle baby and prayers answered.

Ten years is a long time to wait to have a baby. However, that's exactly the time it took before LaToya and Shamarrick Butler would welcome Mackenzi Grace into their family.

"We had been trying a very long time to have a baby," LaToya said. "But due to fertility issues, it just wasn't happening. We eventually decided to try in vitro fertilization. That seemed to work, and we were so excited when we learned I was finally pregnant. But the excitement didn't last long as I lost the baby at 17 weeks. We were incredibly disappointed."

As soon as she recovered, the Brookhaven couple decided to try in vitro one more time. This time, it appeared to be going better, but at 27 weeks, LaToya went into pre-term labor. The doctors tried to stop her labor, but that didn't work.

"I'm a labor and delivery nurse so I understood what was going on, which was both a blessing and a curse,” said LaToya. “I knew the best-case scenario was that our little one would spend time in the NICU – and that's exactly what happened.”

Little Mackenzi Grace was born weighing two pounds, four ounces.

"During the entire labor and delivery process, the nurses and doctors moved calmly and reassuringly. They were so amazing," LaToya recalled. “Mackenzi was in the NICU for two months and two weeks, and we were constantly visiting and calling, but no one ever acted as if we were bothering them. We were also very fortunate in that Baptist had just installed their new NICU camera system where we could watch our baby remotely when we couldn't get to the hospital to visit. That meant a whole lot!”

In 2011, Baptist Health Foundation provided 12 Natus NICVIEW 2 cameras to Mississippi Baptist Medical Center so parents like LaToya and Shamarrick can stay in close contact with their baby in the NICU, even when they aren’t able to visit the hospital in person.

"There were some scary times while Mackenzi Grace was in the NICU when we thought she might not make it,” said LaToya. “Dr. Robbins, our neonatologist, told us something very touching that helped sustain us through our many ups and downs – that ‘doctors pray, too.' We prayed a lot and knowing the people who cared for Mackenzi Grace prayed for her just meant the world to us. We are so grateful for the care at Baptist and to have our sweet little girl home with us. She has truly been a blessing to us and our entire family."

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