Mom Snaps Image Of Empty Carseat, But Loved Ones Instantly Realize Her Daughter Is In Picture
Kristin Danley 3/22/2017
Ava Watson became a big sister to Baby Ellie in December 2012. The first three months after Ellie was born were blissful for this family of four. But when Ellie turned four months old, her parents Kyle and Sarah Walton noticed something was wrong.
Baby Ellie's soft spot, the fontanelle, looked different. It was bulging outward. Two doctors said it was fine, but a third opted to play it safe and ordered tests. At first, hospital staff thought Baby Ellie was suffering from hydrocephalus, or fluid on the brain. But the ultrasound, CT scan and MRI showed differently. Her parents were crushed and rode a rollercoaster of emotions after their baby's diagnosis.
On May 7, 2013, Baby Ellie was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was one-third the size of her brain. This family's story and Baby Ellie's taxing first four years of life will bring you to tears. Sarah Watson took to Facebook to share a special message that has since captured the hearts of many.
Doctors insisted Baby Ellie needed surgery immediately, but her chances of surviving that surgery were slim and the surgery could cause brain damage. The next day, Ellie underwent a nine-hour surgery to remove the tumor. She survived that surgery, then four days later her ventricles stopped working and she developed hydrocephalus, requiring a second surgery and a shunt to help drain the fluid. But this little fighter kept clinging to life.
"By now, Ellie has surpassed every statistic. She has rolled over and started crawling, proving every doctor wrong! She is a miracle, by the grace of God, she is a walking and talking miracle."
When the results from the tumor biopsy arrived, Sarah and Kyle learned that Baby Ellie's tumor called desmoplastic infantile ganglioglioma/astrocytoma was incredibly rare. There have been only 60 such cases before hers. The doctors didn't have much information nor a definitive way to treat it.
Repeat scans three months later showed the tumor had not been completely removed and instead had grown so much that Baby Ellie needed another brain surgery, this one lasting seven hours. Three weeks later, scans showed more tumor growth. Kyle and Sarah decided to start their precious and tough eight-month-old baby on chemotherapy.
At the tender age of 22 months, Ellie had endured 29 rounds of chemotherapy, 42 days of radiation and a total of 17 surgeries, Ellie's body gave up. Ellie gained her angel wings when she was four years old, passing away peacefully at home surrounded by family and friends. Wanting to honor her in both life and death, the family scheduled a celebration of life to honor Ellie. Sarah also ordered a beautiful custom-designed urn for Ellie--after she had donated organs to save others' lives.
So on the way home from the funeral home, Sarah shared a special photo that left many people in tears. Because the customized urn wasn't ready yet, Sarah decorated the box Ellie's ashes rode home in, making it look like her baby girl before she passed away, complete with the whimsical hair decorations and girly, frilly headbands she always wore. Not only did the photo stir people's emotions, so did Sarah's special message.
"Driving you home the other day, I was scared, but buckling you in felt normal. Even though none of this is normal, none of this is right. You should be here. Death is so selfish baby girl. My heart is broken. I'm literally hurting and torn, I know you're in a better place, and yet no place is better than in my arms. I know you're happy and pain-free, and yet I want you here. It's been two months since I last kissed your cheek or played with your hair. It's been two months of pure torture, agony and despair. All I want back is our daily life, whatever they entailed, I want it back. I want hospital visits back, and chemo back, I want your laughter, and your joyous heart back. The things that brought my heart so much pain, only a few months ago, I so desperately want back today."
Sarah noted that life's not fair, but her little girl's short life brought more joy to her than she could've imagined. She wrote that she was thankful she made sure to tell Ellie every day how much she loved her. She also vowed to fight for other moms and kids battling cancer.
"Baby girl, I don't want you watching over me thinking that your passing only causes me pain. You see baby girl, I would gladly take this pain over and over again, if it meant that I got to be your momma. 'Cause had I never known you, I would have never known pure happiness, I would have never known to live every moment as your last, and I would have never known what true bravery, strength and courage looked like. This will change baby girl, I will make it change. I never want another mom to feel this way, and I will fight for these other kids so that no other mom has to buckle in ashes of their babies. Because you have always been worth #morethan4."
It’s no surprise Sarah's photo and post has gone viral. So many parents sorrowfully understand her pain and suffering, having gone through it themselves. Recently, Ellie's namesake, her great-grandma Ellie, also passed away, doubling the grief the family has grappled with. But Sarah knows that her Baby Ellie is pain-free and in a better place than a hospital bed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to this family.
Source: Facebook/Prayers for Ellie Walton