January 12, 2014 I awoke to the worst headache of my life and could not keep anything down. After a few hours of waiting it out, my husband decided it was time to take me to the emergency room. On the way to the hospital, I started having what I believed were back contractions, two months later I found out it was my liver spasming.


After being rushed to a room at the ER, my blood pressure was taken twice by machine and then twice by hand. Each time the number of nurses in my room doubled, I had a consistent blood pressure of 240/110. I was 27 weeks and was diagnosed with severe early onset preeclampsia.

I was rushed up to the OB ward, a blood panel was drawn, and seizure pads were put on my bed. I was immediately put on magnesium and told that at 1 pm I would be leaving the hospital via helicopter to deliver my daughter. At the time, I was scary calm and to this day I don’t know if it was shock, the magnesium, or just utter disbelief.

I was loaded into the helicopter and said goodbye to my husband as he was not allowed to travel with us and had to drive the 99 miles alone, not knowing if our daughter or myself would still be alive when he arrived. He got to the hospital just in time for the nurse to hand him scrubs, my health was failing as was our daughter’s.

At 5:25 pm, Charlotte Luna was brought into the world at 2 lbs 3 oz, breathing on her own, and fighting for her life. She was immediately whisked away to the NICU and began to impress her nurses. Charlotte spent 26 days constantly surprising her nurses, doctors, and us. She was strong and healthy, she had attitude, she was so loved.

On the morning of her 26th day of her life, Charlotte had simple surgery to fix a small heart murmur, a PDA. We saw her after the surgery and she was slowly waking up, we decided to allow her to rest through the night and said good night to her. It would be for the last time.
At midnight, Charlotte’s doctor called to tell us they thought she might have a hole in her bowels and that she needed emergency surgery. We arrived at the hospital and began the terrible wait. At 2 am, on her 27th day, we were told that Charlotte had contracted NEC and there was nothing that could be done.

We held her as the sun rose and she gave a final sweet goodbye before she left us the morning of February 8th.

We are extremely thankful for those 27 days. Days in which she wasn’t sick or lethargic, days in which we got to know what color her eyes were and who she was.

We found out 2 months after Charlotte died that I not only had preeclampsia, but also HELLP syndrome, had Charlotte not been born that evening, both Charlotte and I would have died within hours. She is our guardian angel and we are forever grateful that we were given the chance to love her. She will forever be our first born, the one who made us parents.

—Erica Hadrick