Jaylee was born a fighter on April 15, 2015, at 29 weeks, 1lb 8oz. During Melissa's (Mom) pregnancy Jaylee was delt difficult challenges including an underdeveloped placenta and a hole in the neural tube. Fighting through all the obstacles Jaylee triumphantly conquered the odds that were against her, after two months of being in the hospital, we were able to take her home to start her normal life.
Unfortunately, the challenges did not stop there. Four months after being home she contracted Rhino Virus and pneumonia. Her lungs collapsed and her heart overworked itself, developing pulmonary hypertension. She was placed in a medically induced coma and intubated and she stayed in that state for a little over a month. With time, medicine, and the help machine support she recovered and was sent home, however she was back at the hospital only after two weeks with the recurrence of the same conditions. To help her, they surgically placed a G-Tube Nissen to help her not aspirate and safely thrive with feedings.
After spending the first year of her life in and out of hospitals, she had to learn the "normal" habits that we typically take for granted: feeding, rolling over, sitting up, and crawling. These milestones were accomplished with the support of an early intervention team. This team helped her with feedings and physical therapy. Furthermore, the cardiologists were able to successfully to treat her pulmonary hypertension, discontinued her heart medication and the support of oxygen was no longer needed.
For seven months Jaylee lived a normal happy life. She was running around, playing with friends at school, eating with family, counted to 20 forward and backward, shapes, colors, animals--sounds, and knew her alphabet and their sounds! Jaylee was so intelligent, compassionate, aware of her surroundings, and always self-motivated--dancing around the room to the beat of her own drum saying "go Jaylee, go Jaylee".
It became apparent that Jaylee would have to fight one last battle. On Monday, March 19, 2018, she came down with a low-grade fever of 99.4. Having suspicion, we visited her pediatrician's office and that's where it was confirmed that she was coming down with an illness, but to the doctor's advice, Jaylee needed to wait it out to see the root of the cause. Mom kept the fevers under control, she provided oxygen for support, monitored her heart rate, and oxygen saturation. While doing all of the monitoring Mom reached out to the other doctors that previously cared for Jaylee for further advice. Everything was under control until Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in the middle of the snowstorm, the ambulance was dispatched because Jaylee was too sick for Mom to transport her to the nearest emergency room. There, the hospital was able to stabilize her to get her to a children's hospital. At St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, they ran every test that they could to understand her status. They explained to Mom that with the condition Jaylee was in this would be walking a "very, tight, skinny rope" due to her previous history, current condition and it was only at the beginning of her illness. During the medically induced coma, a breathing tube was placed, and she received support from a ventilator. The results came back from all of the testings that Jaylee had pneumonia, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Human Metapneumovirus. Hearing the stimulation of Mom's voice, she fought through the paralyzing medicine, she opened her eyes and stared at her and gave her a smile, then falling back to sleep. The results along with previous lung disease, and an infection in the body, Jaylee's body began to go into septic shock, stopping her heart. The doctor's continued to perform CPR for an hour and twenty minutes, along with eight rounds of recovery medications. Jaylee passed at 12:27 a.m. on March 23, 2018.
Through all of the hardships that Jaylee and our family has endured, Jaylee managed to have a bright beautiful smile from the beginning to the end. We will always remember Jaylee as an energetic, compassionate, fun, silly, determined, cautious, loving, strong, smart, courageous, precocious girl. Her smile and big eyes made her memorable the moment you saw her. Her memory will always be a positive one that will carry on in all of our hearts. Sharing the memories that we have of her will keep her alive. We were planning an Easter Egg Hunt and Three Year Birthday party, and now we are planning a funeral.
Jaylee’s Aunt Mel Kostrzewa made this GoFundMe for her to pay the funeral expenses and associated costs for Jaylee and her family. Please help support our family at this very difficult time. Any bit of help can make a difference, even if it's a passing her story along or even a prayer, anything is appreciated.
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- Bob Bowers
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