Saturday, June 20, 2015

June 20 - Dear Nicholas Sparks (Guest Blogger Barbara Eisele)

Dear Mr. Sparks,

My name is Barbara Eisele, and I am the grandmother of my precious angel, Reese Gabrielle Eisele-Elizondo. I have been a member of the Cherubs organization since March of 2000, after Reese was born. I have waited to submit her picture and story; but I have read ALL of the cherubs stories to date, and I'm finally ready to share mine. Reese Gabrielle Eisele-Elizondo was born on March 8, 2000, on Ash Wednesday, at 6:45am, in San Antonio, Texas. I had been in the labor room with my daughter until it was time for Reese to make her arrival. I excitedly awaited just outside of the delivery room for my beautiful granddaughter to be gently placed in my arms; but I, like so many other stories which I have read here, never got that opportunity. I heard them calling 'code blue' on the intercom, and saw nurses, doctors, technicians, and everyone else, it seemed, in the world running into the delivery room. I .kept asking everyone what was happening, but no one seemed to hear. Suddenly, I saw a baby cart being whisked away to the nursery with 6 hospital staff surrounding it and running it down to the nursery. I began to run after the crowd, knowing that my grandchild was the baby in the cart and I kept asking everyone what was wrong. No one would hear me. I peered in through the blinds to try to see my precious baby, but every window I would go to, a nurse would run to close the blinds. My son-in-law came down to the nursery area, but neither he nor my daughter knew what was wrong.

Finally, the OB came into the hallway and tried to explain that they had discovered that Reese had CDH. We knew nothing about this, and the Dr. drew a little diagram to try to show us what had happened. He told us about ECMO - that 2 hospitals in SA had the machines. He told us that she had a 50/50 chance of survival, but that the specialists over at Wilford Hall Medical Hospital were very experienced. We agreed to have Reese transferred by ambulance to Wilford Hall; while my daughter would have to stay behind and my son-in-law and I would follow in the car. When we arrived at the neonatal area of the hospital, we found Reese up on a little pedestal with a team of Drs. and nurses working on her. After several hours of tests, X-rays, tubes, breathing apparatus, etc., the lead Dr. told us that Reese also had a heart defect which was called transpiration of the great vessels. They informed us that she would need to be transferred to a different hospital for heart surgery before they could put Reese on ECMO to be able to do the surgeries for the CDH. My precious angel never made it to Methodist Hospital. My son-in-law left to get my daughter so she could be with her baby. I stayed with Reese and tried to sponge bathe her as best as I could before her mother got her first real chance to be with her baby. I told them to keep Reese on oxygen.  I wanted her mother to get to hold her while she was still with us. The staff kept asking me if the parents were coming, but it took about 2 hrs. since the hospital was about 45 minutes away and my daughter had to be released. When they finally got to the hospital, the staff gave the family some time to be with Reese. We were able to hold her while she was still on oxygen; and then we let her fly to be with the other little angels in heaven. My daughter and husband stayed behind to bathe Reese, dress her up, take pictures, and hold her; while I rushed home to take down the crib, and throw all of the baby items into bags and closets to be out of view.

The death certificate lists the time of death as 3:45 PM, on March 8, 2000; although I never saw her move or open her eyes since my sprint down the hallway trying to catch up with the baby cart before they pushed her into the nursery. It's all still a 'fog' to me, as if it were a dream, as if it wasn't real; but I know that Reese is real! Many people would say that I don't really understand - I'm just a grandmother; but the hole in my heart aches and I know that I will never have another beautiful angel like Reese Gabrielle Eisele-Elizondo. She will always be my most special and precious grandchild.

Reese's grandmother, Barbara Eisele (Texas)

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