Rachel and Erin were graced with the wonderful news this spring that Rachel was pregnant. Both were ready to start this new adventure together. At Rachel's 20-week appointment, it was discovered that baby girl Beatrice Kathryn, or Baby Bea, would face significant health challenges, namely an occiptal encephalocele (a mass protruding from the back of her skull) and issues with spine and lung development. Rachel & Erin, ready to match any challenge with even greater love, began preparing for the uncertain road ahead.
As the weeks progressed and the uncertainties surrounding Baby Bea's health increased, Rachel & Erin spent more and more time in hospitals, doctors' offices and waiting rooms...and away from their jobs. Rachel moved to working part-time to ensure her health was maintained and that Baby Bea would have every chance available to her for care. Co-workers of Rachel's graciously donated their own personal sick time to her and her employer remained at the ready to continually accommodate Rachel's needs during her pregnancy.
Teams of dedicated doctors and nurses from the University of WA Medical Center, Valley Medical Center, and Seattle Children's Hospital worked tirelessly in the days and weeks leading up to Rachel's delivery to ensure Baby Bea's safe arrival.
On November 15, during a scheduled C-section, sweet Baby Bea was born. She opened her eyes, let out a small cry, and Rachel and Erin were finally able to lay eyes on the life they had been so anxiously awaiting and preparing for. She was perfect, with a full head of hair, the cutest toes, and a face that would melt anyone's heart. Because of Bea's health challenges, especially limited lung capacity, Bea was brought into a second OR where she was successfully intubated. She was taken to the NICU at UWMC where Rachel visted her momentarily while she was prepared for transport to Seattle Children's. Erin and Baby Bea were transported to Seattle Children's while they worked on making Bea comfortable. Rachel stayed at UWMC to recover from the C-section.
The next day, it became clear Baby Bea was not improving. It was becoming increasingly difficult to support her lungs and her body. Rachel was able to be discharged that afternoon from UW, less than 24 hours after her C-section, so she could be with Baby Bea and Erin at Seattle Children's. And as the doctors realized their efforts were futile, Rachel and Erin shifted their focus. They were able to spend several hours with Baby Bea, showering her with hugs, kisses, skin-to-skin time and more love than could ever be measured.
Shortly after 11 p.m., a little less than 36 hours after Baby Bea's arrival, she drew her last breaths, peacefully snuggled close into Erin's chest. She was free...
Now one set of uncertainties has been replaced by another. Given Bea's passing, Rachel's maternity leave will be modified in such a way that her time away from work to begin the grieving and healing process will be unpaid. This vital time is needed for body, mind, and spirit with as little added stress as possible.
Three days after losing Baby Bea, Rachel was admitted to the hospital with preeclampsia, a condition affecting blood pressure. She is continuing to recover from this as well. With Erin by her side every step of the way, the couple is now planning sweet Baby Bea's funeral service.
As the Alders turn their focus to saying goodbye to this most precious life they brought into the world, they need your help.
With your donation, you will be helping the Alders in the following ways:
- Supplement Rachel's missed income while she is at home recovering. Her time away from work moving forward will be unpaid.
- Allow Erin, whose PTO has been depleted, to spend some additional time at home with Rachel before she must return to work. Rachel will need someone with her following her discharge from the hospital.
- Begin to address medical bills from hospital visits and doctors' appointments.
- Assist with the funeral expenses for Baby Bea's service on November 25.
The outpouring of love and support the Alders have received during this time has been incredible. It is our hope that as Rachel & Erin move forward, they can do so with as little added stress--financial or otherwise--as possible.
Let's give them every opportunity we can to allow them to begin to heal.
We are deeply, deeply grateful to any support you can provide and to what many of you have already done.
To learn more about their story--and Baby Bea's story--visit their Caring Bridge site here .
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