Desperate Prayers Yield Thanksgiving Miracle

Carissa: “I had prayed for a little girl for as long as I could remember.”

Matthew: “I could feel instantly that father/daughter connection.”

On August 12, 2015, Matthew and Carissa Hatfield welcomed their third child Paisley Novella into the world.

Carissa: “I can't describe that feeling that – you're just overwhelmed with emotion, like ‘This is my family. This is exactly what I hoped for.’”

But over the next few days, the couple noticed that Paisley had a crooked smile and couldn't fully close her left eye.

Matthew: “I, in the back of my mind, just thought, ‘We're going to get her checked out and everything's going to be fine. It's just going to go away on its own.’"

But it didn’t. And at her 2-month check-up, Pediatrician Charles Kelly had reason for concern.

Dr. Kelly: “We thought, and it's very common, that there was just a little minor injury at birth. Forceps can constrict the face and the head and nerves are just temporarily damaged. And so we thought it was that. But at two months it should have resolved.”

Dr. Kelly referred Paisley to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for an MRI. After 2 MRI, doctors told the parents she needed a CAT Scan.

Carissa: “Right then and there, my-my heart dropped. ‘What is it?’ Like ‘What's going on?’”

Matthew: “That's when I’m like, 'Okay, they saw something. It can’t be anything good.’”

Carissa: "The phone rang and immediately I picked it up. And she was just like, ‘She has a mass. It's invading her brain. It's compressing her facial nerves. It had already deteriorated her skull.’ I ran down to Matt's office, and I'm just like, ‘She has a tumor.’ To see the look on his face, to not know what was going to happen.”

Matthew: "I'm going to have to bury my daughter. And I don’t know how I’m going to do this.”

The mass had spread to her sinus cavity, eye socket, and middle ear.  

Dr. Kelly: “The best case scenario, you take the tumor out and then there's a lot of rehab, there's a lot of therapies, there's reconstructive surgeries, neurological deficits, cognitive deficits, physical deficits. The worst case scenario was thinking this is an aggressive, malignant tumor. She could die.”

That weekend, they reached out to the only one they knew could help.

Carissa: “All I did was beg God, ‘God, please don't let my baby die. Just please don’t let her die.’”

Matthew: "Please don’t take my daughter away from me. If anything, you know, let me trade places with her."

Through those desperate prayers, Matthew found the strength to trust God.

Matthew: “I just made a promise to God and I told my wife, I said, ‘I don't know this is going to turn out, but no matter what happens, whether she lives or she dies, we gotta trust God.’"

Carissa: “He’s like, ‘He’s still good – no matter if He takes our baby away – there’s a reason. There’s always a reason. And there will be good out of it.’ As a mom, I didn't – I was just like, ‘I cannot say those words.’”

But that Sunday, she found hope when her church gathered around her family to pray.   

Carissa: “I felt like at that moment, ‘Everything's going to be fine. Everything's going to be just fine.’ I was just at peace, that peace that passes all understanding. I remember coming to that point and finally just saying like, ‘God, either way, you're good.’”

Monday morning, November 23rd, just a few days before Thanksgiving, the Hatfields got another call – Paisley needed emergency biopsy surgery. The surgeon needed to determine if the mass was cancerous or caused by an autoimmune disease called Histiocytosis X. Either would be fatal.

Matthew: “I was literally, visibly shaking. I didn’t know how much I could take anymore.”

Again, they got a word of hope – this time from the anesthesiologist who carried her away.

Carissa: “He was like, ‘I had a talk with God this morning about Paisley, and she's going to be just fine.’ And so at that moment it's reassurance that God's got this.”

They were told the surgery would take 3 hours. But just 45 minutes in, the surgeon called Matthew and Carissa into a consultation room.

Carissa: “As soon as he opened the door, he started shaking his head. He's like, ‘Your prayers must have worked. There was nothing there. Nothing.’ And the smile on my face, I was just like, ‘What, are you serious?’ Like ‘Oh my gosh!’"  

Matthew: “We just praised God and we both started crying and just could not believe what the doctor was saying.”

Dr. Kelly: “Somehow between Friday and Monday morning this large tumor, probably the size of a walnut or bigger, disappeared. They had no medical explanation for it.”

That same week, the Hatfield’s celebrated Thanksgiving with Paisley in their arms, and they knew exactly who to thank.
Carissa: “Who but God could do such things as these? You know? Who but God?”

Matthew: “A lot of people were saying, you know, ‘It's the hospital's fault. They-they had faulty scans.’ And I just said, ‘Hey, they did a MRI and a CT. It was there on both of them. We did a follow-up after that, it was gone.’ I mean, this is truly the power of prayer. No one else but God could take that tumor away.”

Carissa: “Best Thanksgiving ever – one that we'll never forget for sure.”

Four months later, she was released from all care with only minor hearing loss in her left ear. She’s now a happy, healthy toddler…and a big sister.

Dr. Kelly: “I've been doing this 20 years, never experienced anything like this. I think it was the hand of God directly healing this little child. It's crazy, it's wonderful, and I feel so blessed. I really feel that I was witness to a miracle.”

Matthew: “Every day I see her it's just a living reminder of what God can do. I mean, they had given my daughter a death sentence and we were supposed to accept it.”

Carissa: “There's not a day that I go by that I don't thank God for healing her. I look at her now and she's perfect. God made her perfect.”

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