April 2012 Sweet Pea: Elias
On April 24, 2009 Elias George Bethke was born at Woman and Infants Hospital in Providence at 26 weeks gestation, weighing only 980 grams (2lbs. 3oz.) and 14 inches long. No one knows for sure why Elias came so early, only that he was a fighter right from the beginning!
One day shy of Elias’ 7th month birthday, he was discharged home. Although Elias weighed 17 pounds at the time, he had numerous on-going medical conditions; Chronic Lung Disease, Tracheomalacia, Nasopharyengeal Reflux, Autonomic Dysfunction, Profound Sensorineural Hearing Loss, and status post Tracheostomy.
Elias thrived for the two years that he was home. He made many strides developmentally and physically. On September 20, 2011 Elias was taken off the ventilator full time. He was doing so well that his doctors called him a “super star.” Elias was also cleared for Choclear Implant Surgery (to improve his hearing) on November 18, 2011, his surgery date was December 1, 2011. He was a joy to everyone who met him. He was always smiling (except when he was hungry!) and loved the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Patty the Pig from Sprout. Elias also loved when people used American Sign Language to communicate with him, and when we signed The Itsy Bitsy Spider.
On November 23, 2011, on the the two year anniversary of Elias coming home, he passed away in his sleep. He is my greatest inspiration and taught me so much in the short time I was blessed to have him.