Elle’s Story

   Hello, we are Bryce & Miriam Gerritsen, and this is the story of our daughter, Elle. Not too long ago, my wife and I were expecting our first child. When able, we found out it would be a girl, Elle Kae. Every check-up we got more and more excited about her arrival. On the last night of April, my wife's water broke, a week early. We checked into the hospital at around 10:30 pm. My wife had experienced some bleeding, but the nurses didn't seem worried about it. Because she was not dilating on her own, the next morning at 7:30 a.m. they started her on steroids to induce contractions.

   The baby's heart-rate dropped in half immediately. Suddenly, the room was flooded with medical staff. My wife was rushed away for an emergency C-section. As they wheeled her away, our eyes met and I saw a look of complete fear and disbelief. I was told to wait in the room for information. After what seemed to be an eternity, a nurse came into the room to speak with me. As soon as she closed the door behind her my heart sunk into the deepest part of my soul. She told me my baby girl had been delivered without a heart-rate at all . . . dead. She said the doctors were performing CPR, but would have to stop soon. She left and returned again. This time she grasped me and pulled me into a hug. She said they had revived Elle. I didn't let my hopes get too big because I knew what kind of damage was typical when the body goes without blood and oxygen for 20 minutes.

   Five days later, on May 6th, 2004, my baby girl passed away, due to a lack of basic function of vital organs. Well, questions flooded my mind, "Why her?", "She was so healthy?!", and "What could we have done to prevent this?" My wife and I are still searching for the first answer, and are coming to grips with the fact that we'll never know "why her". Concerning what happened and if it could have been prevented, we have found answers. The condition is called Vasa Previa.

   Vasa Previa is diagnosed through a color Doppler ultrasound. Currently, it is not standard procedure to check for the condition. This procedure takes less than 15 seconds and can virtually eliminate the threat of this condition. The problem is that not every hospital has a color Doppler ultrasound machine. And the ones that do, haven't made it standard procedure to check for Vasa Previa. My wife and I are now on a life-mission to educate people about Vasa Previa, both doctors and expecting mothers. We have created this foundation to save other families from the same tragedy. We need to get the word out about the condition any way that we can. We must reach as many people as possible. Can you help?

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