Ariella Mast is finally home with her family

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By Reed Anfinson
Joe and Michelle Mast’s daughter Ariella is finally home in Hancock.
While it was hoped Ariella could be home for Christmas, she stayed at St. Cloud’s CentraCare Health hospital as she gained strength, size, and the ability to take consistent feedings. She also had to be able to safely travel in a car seat for the 93-mile drive home.
“Thank you everyone for your prayers, support and words of wisdom,” Joe and Michelle wrote on their Facebook page Saturday. “We appreciate all doctors and nurses involved at CentraCare hospital for their hard work and care. We thank Lord God for bringing us home and the miracles we’ve been blessed with. This is what we’ve been praying for. Thank you, Lord. There aren’t enough words to describe today. We are on our way home finally.”
Ariella was born by C-section Nov. 16 as her mother lay in an induced coma, fighting COVID-19 pneumonia for her life. Michelle had been admitted to CentraCare Oct. 24 suffering from a rapidly worsening case of COVID-19.
Michele was intubated to support her breathing Oct. 29 as her lungs filled with liquid due to the pneumonia. She was sedated and given paralytic drugs to keep her relaxed while the ventilator breathed for her, Joe said.
“At that time, I learned they had not put anyone on the ventilator who was pregnant,” he told The Stevens County Times last month. In earlier cases, they had taken the baby before the mother was put on a ventilator. Doctors were hoping to get Michelle to 30 to 32 weeks before performing a C-section delivery, he said.
In the coming days she would make progress and seem to be improving then suffer setbacks.
Back in Hancock Nov. 16 for a brief time, Joe received a call telling him that his wife was now fighting three potentially deadly infections in her lungs. E. coli, ARDS, and staph infections “had completely consumed her lungs along with the COVID-19 pneumonia. The x-ray of her lungs ‘were as white as a sheet of paper’ showing they were filled with liquid,” Joe told The Stevens County Times for its December story.
Not long after that call, one of the specialists who had been overseeing Michelle’s case called Joe telling him, “It’s best that you get here right away because your wife is not doing good.” Joe’s mother Becky Mast of Benson joined him for the trip to St. Cloud.

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