The Stockton Family

First time parents, Danielle and Kody Stockton were overwhelmed with the early arrival of their son and the subsequent 16 week medical journey to follow.

Waylon Stockton was born at 24 weeks and weighed only 1lb 9oz. One week before his birth, Danielle felt something was wrong but was sent home twice. The doctors assured her everything was fine. But, by the end of that week, it felt like her baby was coming out. She headed back to the hospital and insisted on being seen by the doctor. 

“I drove myself to the hospital in Dodge City on Superbowl Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022. The nurse checked me and said, ‘Call your husband because you are having a baby right now.’ They immediately turned me upside down and told me to cross my legs to keep the baby in.”

At this point, they were told little Waylon had a minimal chance of survival. Their pediatrician insisted on calling Wesley Children’s Hospital in Wichita and Wesley sent a team to come to Dodge City. As soon as the team arrived, Danielle started pushing. 

“It was two pushes and he came out right away. He was breech and his feet came out first. The nurse informed us that before anything happened, she would take him and run with him to the NICU as soon as he was born. There would be no time to hold or even look at him. When they took him to the NICU, they intubated and had to resuscitate him a couple of times. There was just a lot going on.”

Once he was stable, Waylon was transported to Wesley Children’s Hospital in Wichita. Unfortunately, Danielle needed surgery so she and Kody had to stay behind. After her surgery, they made the 2hr 40 min drive to Wichita. They arrived at Wesley Children’s Hospital around 1:30 am on Monday. 

“We saw he was in good care, and they told us they would send in our referral to the Ronald McDonald House so that we could stay there while Waylon stayed in the NICU. We were able to check into the House that morning. We got to the room and passed out the minute we hit the sheets. The beds were so comfortable!” 

The Stocktons had a challenging experience, full of both uncertainty and optimism. During that time, the Ronald McDonald House was their refuge. A place where they could lean on others in their time of need.

“The Ronald McDonald House provided a great source of comfort, particularly when speaking with other families who also had babies in the NICU at Wesley. We formed a close bond with one couple from Tennessee that was adopting a baby and they gave us invaluable advice on gradually preparing for Waylon’s growth. This immensely prepared us and we remain friends today.” 

“Waylon was at considerable risk for many things; the doctors were mainly worried about brain damage. He was on a ventilator for 2.5 months and had a lot of blood transfusions. 

One day the nurse asked me, ‘Do you want to hold him?’ I was super scared because he was the size of my hand and had tons of tubes attached to him. I couldn’t move the whole time I was holding him.”

The Stockton family began their journey at the Ronald McDonald House on Feb.14 and returned home 112 nights later on June 4th –  the due date that Waylon was supposed to be born.  Waylon still has doctor’s appointments in Wichita from time to time and they stay at the Ronald McDonald House. 

“Waylon is doing great; he is 15 months old and is army crawling around the house.”