As told by her mother, Kierra.
I don’t remember the day we found out we were expecting, but I do know we were surprised and didn’t know how to feel. Being only 17 and 18 and finding out you are pregnant can come as a shock. We accepted it and became excited, especially when we found out we were having a little girl.
The whole pregnancy went smoothly until I was 36 weeks. I felt a sharp constant pain in my one side, and I knew it wasn’t normal. My mom, being a nurse, told me to come to the hospital just to check things out. There we learned I would be having an emergency C-section because it was unsafe for my baby girl and me.
On August 12, 2015, she made her way into this world. The feelings I had when they first laid her on my chest are indescribable, but it was the best feeling in the world. Everything was perfect. She was perfect. We gave her the name ‘Hallie’.
The day came when we got to take her home. For a short week, everything was what we imagined. What I would do to have those late night feeds, cuddles and kisses, to hear her cry or coo one more time. On that seventh day home we noticed her colour wasn’t it’s normal pink self, and her lips started to turn blue.
I will never forget the terrified look on the nurse’s face as they whisked her away. Living in a small town they didn’t have everything needed to give her the full care to help her get better. That’s when Hallie and I were flown to Vancouver BC Children’s Hospital. Hallie’s dad, Carson, my mom, and her boyfriend started driving down right away to meet us. Before we left they told us she would be okay, and that it was probably a small heart defect.
Everything went from 100 to 0 so quickly, hours after arriving they informed us Hallie was very sick and may not survive. They didn’t know what was causing her sickness but they knew whatever it was, it was affecting her heart. After a couple of days, Hallie was placed on a machine called ECMO (essentially, life support) they told us babies her size and age had the best chance of recovery after 5-7 days. Hallie was on ECMO for up to two weeks and every day spent on it meant serious complications could occur. ECMO did all the work for her tiny little heart. A few days in we learned what had caused her to be so ill. A virus called enterovirus had attacked her heart, causing miocarditis. They told us it was bad luck and this virus she contracted was a common cold people could catch, but Hallie being born early and with her small size, she didn’t have the antibodies to fight it off.
When you hear people say it’s a roller coaster they’re not kidding, every day was a constant struggle. One day there would be something positive and the next negative. We learned not to get our hopes up but to still be hopeful for our baby girl. In those two weeks Hallie was on ECMO, she had to have the circuit changed twice because of clots that had formed in the tubing. In the end of those two weeks her kidneys started shutting down, which we knew was not a good sign. In that short time in the PICU, we learned what lactate was, and what every monitor, beep, or wave meant.
I never would have thought I would have to learn any of this or that I would get so excited over such a small thing like a pee or finding a pulse in her tiny little foot. I only worried how to be a good mom at a young age. At the end of those two excruciating weeks we were told the worst, Hallie would have to be taken off ECMO, because it was doing more harm than good for her. We knew her heart was weak, but we prayed and hoped she would be able to overcome this. She was so strong. All the doctors and nurses told us she was one of the biggest fighters they have seen. After about an hour or so they told us Hallie was most likely not going to make it. She had fluid surrounding her heart, and they said we could try and remove it but likely, it wouldn’t change anything and that the outcome would still be the same. They said she could die on the table and that it would be best if we took those last moments to hold her.
We knew the doctors did everything they could and our sweet Hallie had fought as hard as she could. For that we are so proud of her. Her dad and I were moved to a room where we could have some peace and quiet and hold Hallie as she passed. We let our families come and say their final goodbyes, and then it was just the three of us. When we were ready, they removed the ventilator and everything else she was attached to. In those last final moments holding her we told her how much we loved her, told her she was the best thing that had ever happened to us, and told her we would see her again someday. She took her last final breath safe in my arm and became a beautiful angel. She looked so peaceful, so beautiful– the most perfect little girl that we created.
It has been a little over a month now since Hallie gained her wings. It is amazing how such a small little person can make such a enormous impact on everyone’s lives. Her beauty shines through us every single day. Hallie was given and gave enough love to last more than a lifetime. She truly is a gift, and I am thankful for her every day. We will see her again one day in a place that only knows of love and beauty, no pain and until that day, God has her safe in his arms and we hold her in are hearts.
We love you, Hallie Grace. You were to beautiful for this earth.