Tina Washington cherishes every moment she gets to hold her newborn baby girl, E’Lyrica, since the mom spent weeks unable to care for her child after life-threatening complications during delivery.
"I remember getting on the helicopter and I remember going to Highland but after that, I don't remember anything else,” said Washington, who continues to recover from complications. “When I woke up, I had a tube in every part of my body. I didn't even know the baby had been born."
Baby E’Lyrica was born weighing a little more than 3 pounds. She was taken to the NICU at CHRISTUS Highland while doctors worked to save Washington’s life.
"I couldn't walk. I was under dialysis. My kidney had failed. I had heart problems. I was going through a lot."
Doctors said Washington likely suffered from complications from Crohn’s disease during childbirth. While the new mom was battling her illness, across the hospital her tiny daughter kept getting stronger and stronger.
Child life specialist Cari Dugdale wanted to help Washington build a bond with her child even though the two had not yet met.
"That's when I brought in the lovie. You just put it on Mom. Anywhere on her. We put it on her neck for a little bit, her stomach, just anywhere to pick up her scent. And then I brought it back to the NICU and put it in the bed with E'Lyrica just to start fostering that initial bond between mom and baby."
That was the closest Washington could get to her daughter.
Two weeks after her child was born, Washington finally was able to see her daughter - but not in person.
"We were able to FaceTime E'Lyrica and Tina for the first time. It was such a heartwarming experience."
Soon after Washington was able to wrap her arms around her baby for the first time.
"Sometimes I feel like when I get sick if it wasn't for her I don’t know where I’d be. I want her to know that she's been through a lot. Me and her. I want her to be the best she can be, make me a proud parent."
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