Today, August 28th, marks seven years since I last saw Elora. Seven years have gone by since that awful series of events that lead to her death. Just two days prior, I had blogged about how thrilled I was that she was finally gaining weight steadily, and how she was up to 2 pounds and 9.8 ounces.
Because during the all too short nine weeks of her life she was in and out of isolation and often too fragile to hold, I often just sat by her isolette and took photos. I am SO thankful for the hundreds of pictures I have of her.
The day after she passed away, I blogged about the whirlwind weekend that lead to her death:
Saturday Elora was doing amazing. There was talk about upping her feeds, she was pooping, she was on 21% oxygen… The doctors and nurses were singing her praises.
Sunday morning she was doing so well they took her off of CPap & put her on the nasal cannula. I went to lunch with my girlfriends & hung out with them for awhile. That afternoon when I got home, Aaron said the NICU had called and Elora was acting sick, and one of us should come down.
I got in the car to drive down there & on the way got a call from Dr. N who did her surgeries on her intestines. They suspected NEC & he wanted to get in there ASAP and see what was going on, and hopefully save enough of her bowels for her to be OK. She was back on the vent.
I sat in the family room alone waiting for news of her emergency surgery. I just KNEW she’d be ok- I was thankful Dr. N came right away & could work his magic on her. She’d come through 3 surgeries just fine, what was one more?
He came in to see me after he was done, while they were getting Elora settled back into the NICU to tell me her bowels looked wonderful, there was nothing wrong. They weren’t sure what the problem was… then the regular NICU doctor came in & told me that Elora had started developing a rash that is indicitive of a gram negative infection and that meant it was very severe. They put her on four different antibiotics, and wanted to do a spinal tap to check for meningitis, but she wasn’t stable enough. They told me the infection was in her bloodstream, and it was sepsis. I still knew she’d be ok. She was our feisty fighter.
I sat with her most of Sunday night. Her blood pressure was dropping so they were giving her tons of fluids (saline) and blood products (platelets, packed red blood cells) to help increase her blood pressure in addition to several different blood pressure meds. She started swelling up to three times the size she was before. Her rash was spreading, but her blood gasses were improving slightly. She really was going to pull through!
Monday morning Elora’s heart stopped. They were able to get it going again with chest compressions… it kicked in right before they were about to give her medication to get it going again. Aaron and the kids came down to be with Elora. We spent the day with her, watching her get sicker & sicker. Around dinner time, when they do the shift change, Aaron took the girls & Owen home to get stuff so we could stay the night in Wilmington. Ethan, Evan & I went to dinner.
When the boys & I got back to the hospital I went back in to visit with Elora. Her blood gasses weren’t improving any more & her heart rate was very high. She wasn’t peeing any more despite the tons of fluid they were pumping in her, her kidneys were shutting down. Her heart rate had been slightly elevated all day, but it was starting to decrease.
It got low enough for them to start chest compressions again. There were so many doctors and nurses working on her tiny body. They kept giving her the meds to start her heart, but it wasn’t working. No oxygen was getting to her brain. After watching it go on for what felt like forever, I asked them to just stop & let her go & let me hold her.
The doctors & nurses cried with us. They said they didn’t see it coming, she had been doing so well. Elora Jade died last night. She was only 9 weeks old.