Ella’s story

September 9th, 2007 by Nikkole Hollander

My husband and I were finally married September 22, 2006 after a six year relationship. We had our careers, our marriage and bought a house…all with the plans of starting a family right away. I was pregnant within two months and we were ecstatic.

Other than evening nausea, my pregnancy was pretty uneventful until around 25 weeks. I started swelling and by the end of the day could hardly walk. The doctor told me I was getting Preeclampsia and put me on bed rest. The baby was measuring small but they didn’t know why. I was on bed rest for four days before my husband had to take me to the hospital with severe chest pain. I had developed severe Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome at 26 weeks. I was in the hospital for five days before they decided they couldn’t wait any longer to deliver. My beautiful and perfect baby girl was born on May 10, 2007 at 9:25am at 27 weeks gestation and rushed straight to the NICU after being intubated. She weighed 1 pound, 3.6 ounces and was 11.5 inches long. She did well the first couple of days but was then diagnosed with Respiratory Distress Syndrome because her lungs weren’t working on their own very well.

They were treating her RDS and she was having the best day she had so far on May 30. They were decreasing her ventilator settings, her feeds were going well, her brain scans looked good, and her x-rays were improving. We were visiting her that evening when the nurse discovered that there was blood in her stool and she hadn’t digested a lot of her feeds for the first time. X-rays were done, she was diagnosed with NEC and transferred to the Cincinnati Childrens Hospital within a couple of hours. On May 31, 2007 Ella had a surgery at 4:00am and then another at 5:00pm. She made it through both surgeries and was stable. My husband and I had been up for 36 hours at this point so we ran home to shower before returning to the hospital. We were home for 20 minutes when the hospital called and said that she wasn’t doing well and they were resuscitating her. We rushed back to the hospital and watched them try to save our baby for 15 minutes before her heart rate diminished and they turned off the machines.

I wish no other family in this world had to ever go through that kind of heart wrenching, devastating trauma. Ella developed NEC and passed away within 16 hours after having a good day in the NICU. That is how devastating NEC can be. My mission is to make Ella proud of me by teaching others about Preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome and to help parents who have similar stories.

You can meet my Ella on her website: www.caringbridge.org/visit/ellahollander

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