A family of four in Washington County is in need of assistance, after their newly born twins came into the world much sooner than expected.
Mick and Chelsea Steele, new parents of Brandtlee and Everett Steele, are facing a mountain of medical expenses after the two boys were born nine weeks early, awaiting several weeks of neonatal intensive care.
Early on, doctors told the couple it would be very difficult for them to bear children, as Mick is a paraplegic and Chelsea suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome. After undergoing a successful In-Vitro-Fertilization (IVF), Chelsea became pregnant with twins, but she also developed severe pre-eclampsia, which causes mothers to hold on to too much protein and suffer high blood pressure, and can cause potentially fatal complications for mothers and their babies.
Last Thursday, after showing extremely high blood pressure levels, Chelsea was Life Flighted to Baylor Scott and White in Temple, where they attempted to keep her boys from being born too early. Ashley Kokemoor, Chelsea’s cousin, said doctors found while monitoring her lab values, white blood cell count, and liver and kidney function that her numbers were “trending in the wrong direction”. Doctors determined it was no longer healthy for Chelsea to continue carrying her babies, so on Monday, Chelsea underwent a C-section and gave birth to the two boys.
Brandtlee and Everett weighed in at 3.56 lbs and 4.06 lbs respectively, but aside from having underdeveloped lungs, doctors say they are healthy and stable. Kokemoor said the family is extremely fortunate to have not suffered any other major complications.
However, with the boys being born so early, they are expected to have to stay in neonatal intensive care until mid-September. This is paired with the Life Flight transport costs and the fact that the Ronald McDonald House Charities location in Temple, which provides housing for families with hospitalized children, is closed due to COVID-19. This means that Mick and Chelsea will have to regularly travel back and forth from Washington County to Temple to be with their children. In addition, according to Kokemoor, the two do not qualify for most medical bill assistance programs, and Chelsea will have to miss work for quite some time.
As a result, Kokemoor and other family members have organized several fundraisers to assist with these expenses and support the new family.
Those interested in supporting the family can contribute to the GoFundMe set up for them. The family also has a website selling t-shirts with the caption #MadeOfSteele. Anyone looking to receive progress updates from the family can ask to join the private Facebook group “Made of Steele”, or email Kokemoor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to COVID-19 and these recent developments, the family was forced to cancel its in-person baby shower. However, a drive-thru baby shower will be held tomorrow (Saturday) from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Latium Volunteer Fire Department at 12255 FM 389 in Burton. There will be a donation bucket for Mick and Chelsea, who will be on video call with attendees during the event.