Today the death certificate came... I imagined it being a lot more traumatizing. I think I have accepted that she died. But I know I haven't even begin to understand or accept that she is gone forever. I know that might not make sense but what does anymore?
The certificate listed her immediate cause of death as "pneumococcal sepsis." We knew this- this bacterial culture came back positive before Ellie was started on the ECMO machine. Ellie had an overwhelming bacterial blood stream infection that her body could not fight.
The certificate listed her underlying cause of death as "hyposplenism." This was a surprise. Without having the autopsy results, we can't say for sure what this means. It either means her spleen was smaller than normal or was functioning at an inadequate level. Pneumococcal sepsis is often a cause of death in infants with hyposplenism.
Guilt. A lot of guilt. Hyposplenism should have been easy to detect with a few simple tests. Although we never had a real reason to test for it- I always thought there was something different with Ellie. She got what seemed to be really sick from minor normal childhood illness. She had an infected toe, ear infection, many colds, an ER visit requiring IV antibiotics and gastroenteritis. She was only nine months old. I feel like as her mother it was my job to protect her. I should have listened to my gut. My intuition is usually right in these sorts of things. I'm her mom- I should have known there was something wrong...
Today pictures of my Elle Belle have been helping a lot. Our friend took pictures (K Holly Photography) several weeks ago... They are stunning and so precious to us. As I said, I always felt like there was something different about Ellie. I never suspected we would tragically lose her 9months, but I always had this feeling her life was different than the rest of ours. She was so perfect. The best baby anyone could ask for. Great sleeper, good eater. Terribly cute. Such a ham. Chunky thighs. Pudgy fingers. Amazing blue eyes. We are drowning in sadness but tonight I can't help but think how lucky we were to have Ellie for those 9 months, 9 days, 14 hours and 16 minutes. I am so lucky to be her Mama.
I love you Peanut!