Emmalin lived for 74 days, but in that time she taught her family and friends the meaning of strength, determination, tenacity and fight. Those traits didn’t die with her, but will continue to live on through her organization, Emmalin’s Warriors.
Emmalin entered this world on March 8th, weighing just 1lb 6oz, but her fight for life didn’t start with her birth. Emmalin fought to be here from the minute of conception. She put her mommy through an emergency cerclage at 16 weeks, followed by 7 weeks of bedrest at home. After a week of hospital bedrest, Emmalin decided to make her appearance at 24 weeks 2 days. She came out with her eyes sealed shut, but crying to let the world know she had arrived.
Emmalin gave us a wonderful 10 day honeymoon period. She quickly got off the ventilator at 8 days old, was almost up to full feeds and was thriving. At 2 weeks old, she got an infection and began to struggle. However, our world came crashing down on April 1st when she was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). She immediately underwent her first surgery to help clear out her belly from her perforated bowel. Doctors warned us that the outcome might not be good, but Emmalin didn’t listen. She continued to fight. She quickly got back off the ventilator and continued to grow bigger each day. She appeared to be one of the few to beat NEC and we were ecstatic.
While her recovery continued, neurosurgeons inserted a drain into her head to help with her hydrocephalus caused by her grade 3 brain bleed. She was a rockstar after that surgery and was off the ventilator by the next day.
By this time, Emmalin was over 3lbs and meeting all milestones. The only problem was the doctors couldn’t get her to eat breast milk. Her stomach didn’t seem recovered from the NEC, so our sweet girl lived on baby gatorade (TPN-Total parenteral nutrition). She was breathing on her own and only required minimal breathing support. Her beautiful eyes had opened and she even began smiling. We were thrilled with her progress and couldn’t wait to get her home.
Shortly before Emmalin turned 10 weeks old, she was hit by another massive infection. Her belly swelled up and she was eventually taken in for her third and final surgery. She made it through the surgery, in which doctors removed 13 cms of bowel and discovered yet another bowel perforation. She lost a lot of blood in surgery, but doctors were fairly confident she would recover. Emmalin lived for less than 24 hours after surgery. However, in that time she fought harder than anyone I’ve ever met. She wanted to live, but her body just wasn’t strong enough.
On May 20th, our sweet angel died in her mommy’s arms with her daddy by her side, plus half a dozen nurses who loved her as much as we did. In the end, NEC was her downfall, but she had 74 days of life. In those 74 days she learned to love, learned to smile, learned to manipulate her mommy, daddy and nurses and grew into a 4lb 7oz beautiful baby girl who never gave up. She accomplished more in 74 days than most of us can hope to accomplish in our lifetime. Emmalin was truly fearless, strong and will be forever loved.