Remembering our dear Elyssa

Someone shared a video on my Facebook wall about Ward Miles' journey in his first year of life. He was born 15 weeks premature, and this video was made by his dad Benjamin Scot.

When I saw this video, I cried and cried because it reminded me of our dear Elyssa whom we lost last year. She was born at 33 weeks, and she stayed with us for 6 days. Her entire life was spent in NICU. Up to now, I can vividly remember that experience and it always brings tears to my eyes.

Elyssa's name means "God's promise" or "God is my oath". She was born last May 9, 2012. I remember we were so excited for her as she was going to be our first baby together. Four more weeks to go, she would have been full term already. However, for reasons we do not know, God has other plans for her.

On my 33rd week, we went to get Elyssa a 4D ultrasound. We went to get it a week earlier, but the doctor couldn't get a clear picture as our dear Elyssa was covering her face. She advised us to go back a week after. At the second 4D visit, she noticed that my amniotic fluid dropped (a condition called oligohydramnios). It was below normal levels, and she immediately called my OB. The next events were a blur to me. I was immediately checked in at the hospital to get re-hydration via IV. I was monitored constantly. I remember that apart from the IV fluids, I had to drink at least 4-6 liters of water per day. I did that religiously. However after 24 hours, my fluid still remained low.

It was on the second day after I was checked in at the hospital that my OB decided to deliver my baby via CS. When she went out, I remember hearing her first, loud cry and I felt happy. I was so excited to see her! My husband eagerly took pictures of her inside the delivery room. After she was delivered, she was cleaned and then held in front of me while the doctors were busy sewing me up. She was adorable and I couldn't wait to hold her! The emotions that I felt during that time were all positive. We excitedly shared the news with our family and friends.
Elyssa was born! May 9, 2012
The next day, they informed me that Elyssa was in the NICU for monitoring as she was born premature. Aside from our pediatrician, she was assigned to a neonatologist (a specialist pediatrician handling newborn infants). The list of doctors grew as the days passed. We had to get a cardiologist and surgeon to monitor her heart and lungs.

When I first saw Elyssa in the NICU, she was connected to a lot of tubes and it hurt so much to see her cry. She cried and cried, yet I was not allowed to hold her. She cried yet I cannot hear her voice because there was a tube lodged inside her throat. At that time, all I could ever do was pray, pray and PRAY. I prayed so hard for her to be safe. We just wanted to save her. She was our precious little first.

The next few days were all spent in the NICU. Even if I was still recovering from my CS, I go down from my 5th floor room to constantly check on her. I touch her through the arm holes of the incubator glass, and I softly whisper to her ear that her Mom and Dad were around her and we love her very much. I would talk to her and tell her to be strong.

There were times when I would touch her and she would stop being fussy. Whenever I talk to her, it seems as if she's patiently listening to Mommy. I long for the times that I can hold her hand, touch her head.

I remember the day when she almost passed. I was discharged that day, and we were told to visit daily to monitor her progress. I was at home diligently pumping my breast milk for her, then we got a call from the NICU. They told us that it was urgent, and that Elyssa needed blood transfusion and surgery. It was just a few hours after we got home that we were told to go back.

When we got there, they had my husband sign forms to authorize the specialist doctors for the blood transfusion and surgery. Elyssa had holes in her lungs. She wasn't doing very well. At that time, we knew it was serious because all of her doctors were there. They were gathered around her and they all looked so sad. We were told not to go near Elyssa as they diagnosed her status. We were made to wait in the NICU pantry. My husband and I didn't know what to do anymore. We just prayed and started to sing worship songs. Then an hour or so later, they called us in and they said Elyssa was still fighting. They thought that we would lose her that night because she was turning blue but then Elyssa fought. In my head while singing worship songs, I was imagining her with Jesus. I kept on praying and praying and then they told us she was going to be okay and that we could go home.

On the way home that night, I felt so happy. I felt that our prayers were answered and I thought that the battle was over for Elyssa. I thought that she was able to get through her battle and everything will be better from then on. To be close to Elyssa, her pediatrician advised that I should just stay in the hospital so we can easily go to her. Early morning of May 15, 2012, we got another scare and we rushed to the hospital. That was the time that the surgeon did her operation. After the surgery, Elyssa got out still fighting and alive. After being told that we can rest, I went up to my hospital room to get a few hours of sleep.

After that long night and early wake up call, I was finally able to rest. By 3pm though, my husband was calling me to go down. I remember I was on my pumping schedule at that time, and he was telling me to hurry up. I had no inkling that Elyssa was going to say goodbye. For the entire time since Elyssa was born, I didn't even want to entertain that thought. I just kept on believing that she was going to be okay, and that God is taking care of her. I always said to myself God's power is infinitely greater than what Elyssa was going through. He was going to heal her. I never, ever thought that she would leave us.

When we got to the NICU, the doctors and nurses were crowding around Elyssa. My husband and I moved forward and there she was, lifeless. Elyssa had finally left us. Our family and relatives were anxiously waiting outside for news. The nurses took out all her tubes, dressed her up and gave her to me. It was the first time that I held her close to me since she was born. I cried and cried so hard while holding her.

That day, I felt like the world crashed down on me. I looked at Elyssa and her face seemed to be at peace. Her battle was finally over. As they took away Elyssa's body and our relatives came to the NICU to see her for the first time, I went to my room and cried. I just cried and cried. I didn't talk to anyone. I don't have the strength to talk to anyone. I laid down on the bed and cried my heart out.

It was the saddest moment of my life, and even as I am writing this I am tearing up again.

Elyssa will always be close to my heart. Every day, our family keeps her memory alive by talking to her. We say hi to her in our morning prayers. We visit her crypt from time to time. We ask her to say hi to Jesus for us in heaven.

Elyssa's life, though short, had a purpose in our lives. We believe that God designed her life perfectly. We will never know the reason why Elyssa's life just lasted six days here on Earth, yet our belief that Elyssa is in God's perfect hands now gives us strength.

We love you so much Elyssa. We will always miss you.

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Kim Timbol-Reyes said...

I feel so sad that a mother has to go through such a thing, but at least God gave you six days to be with your Elyssa. I teared up while reading your post because we almost lost our second child twice when he was still in my tummy. I can really relate to how it feels to wait without knowing what will happen next and to just rely on faith for the healing of someone so precious.

May De Jesus-Palacpac said...

I'm sorry to learn that you have lost a child at 33 weeks. hugs. :(

Unknown said...

@Kim: Thanks for reading about Elyssa. We hold her very dear to our hearts. What comforted us was that even if we don't have her here on Earth, she's very much happy in heaven with our Creator.

Unknown said...

@May: Thank you for the hugs!


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