A year ago on January 18th, Eleni was tucked in my womb. On that day we were surrounded by ladies who prayed for and celebrated her impending arrival at my baby shower. It was the sweetest baby shower.
I wrote you last about Eleni at the close of 2015. We had a wonderful, wonderful week and a half. She was resting well for the first time in her life, so she was able to take in the world and respond to us in a whole new way. I am so grateful for those days because I know that she really knew me, really felt my love and the love her family. I know if she'd had more time like that, she would have smiled soon.
In the early days of 2016, our beautiful baby began declining. I resisted accepting that her post-surgical gains had evaporated so soon. Was I being dramatic? Making much of nothing? But by January 3rd all the worry signs were clear, so I took her to
Charleston children's hospital for the best care our state has to offer.
Over a week's time in the hospital, we discovered that her weak throat muscles had developed a new area of obstruction, unfortunately an inoperable area worse than ever. The doctors said it could get better or worse.
On January 10th at 1 am the ambulance came for her. She had completely stopped breathing, stopped trying at all. I had reached her and stimulated her to breathe before it was too late. Such a night. We didn't bring her home from the hospital again until we had a bi-pap machine for her to use while sleeping - all sleeping, naps and at night. And I hoped again. Maybe with the help of this breathing machine she would have quality sleep and reclaim those December gains.
But last week, last week was terrible. Day by day my heart was pried open to the reality of letting her go. We stayed awake with her at night to prevent her from slipping away. She became more sleepy during the day, needing to wear her bi-pap mask nearly all the time and then endured several days in pain before it became clear that her body was shutting down and there would be no recovery for her on this earth.
In two weeks it all changed. Emotional whiplash.
On January 18th, 2016 sweet Eleni passed away at home in the arms of her father and surrounded by some of our dear ones who celebrated her arrival a year before. We are both tear stricken and joyful; crushed and lightened, for our child that suffered so much in 10 short months is now completely free from pain and struggle and fear and even from those limitations that so unfairly bound her.
I imagine right now she is learning to roll over to her tummy, and she is amazed how easy it is to lift her head and look about. Surely she'll recall when she sucks and swallows with her own dear mouth that this is what mom was trying to show her, this is what we all wanted for her with all our hearts. And what is to come for her is better than we could ever offer her on this earth. She will grow into the fullness of the human she was meant to be. And I will know her again. And I will see her smile.
There is more for me to say, but this is well for now. We are blessed, so blessed with abundant support from family and friends.
On Friday we will hold a service for Eleni Laura Hauser. You may send cards to Columbia Church at PO Box 118, Irmo, SC 29063. In lieu of flowers, consider making a donation to a children's charity of your choosing, in Eleni's name.
Or, if you like, I have decided to facilitate a temporary collection for babies like Eleni with moderate to severe brain damage from birth injury. I will distribute funds to families who would like to try ABM for their children or to visit Dr. Zelinsky, the optometrist in Chicago who helped Eleni so much. These are the therapies that gave us hope and courage when mainstream medicine could not. We were so fortunate to have the means gifted to us to do everything we could to help our child. Would that it were so for more children and for more heartbroken parents! For details and to donate see the fundraiser here. After February 2016, I'll close the fundraiser and distribute funds.
Thank you for your prayers, love, and virtual hugs. You have been an amazing group of women (and men) to walk with during this most difficult year.
Sincerely and with deep gratitude,