Page 7 - Driscoll Health System Annual Report 2020
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           Now at four and a half years old, Eyla Saenz has a smile   Rick were able to hold Eyla because her skin was still so
           that will brighten any room and a personality to match.  thin and sensitive. Eyla had an 81-day stay in Driscoll’s
                                                                    NICU. When she was released in January 2017, one hole
           Eyla’s journey began much too soon when she was
           delivered by C-section at only 26 weeks, 5 days gestation   in her heart had closed, and the other was smaller, and
           on Oct. 16, 2016. Eyla’s mother, Melissa, had her water   her brain bleed was downgraded to a level one.
           break when she was 16 weeks pregnant with Eyla.          “The NICU at Driscoll was the most comfortable place

           “She was delivered, and I didn’t even get to see her. She   we could be during those trying months,” said Melissa.
           spent one night in the hospital where she was born, and   “The nurses took great care of us, the doctors were so
           she was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)   attentive, and we made many friends as we all were
           at Driscoll Children’s Hospital the next day.”           faced with similar challenges.”

           Once admitted to the NICU, the doctors and nurses        It is all still overwhelming at times for Melissa and Rick,
           discovered Eyla had a grade three bi-lateral brain       as Eyla continues to get older but requires the same
           bleed and very premature lungs that left her in need     amount of attention as a baby. “I don’t really get a break,
           of various ventilation machines. She required several    but I wouldn’t change it for the world,” said Melissa. “And
           blood transfusions and had episodes where she would      our therapists and doctors at Driscoll are part of our
           completely stop breathing for a short amount of time.    family, and they continue to work with me in any way
           She also had two holes in her heart.                     needed to keep Eyla on track.”
           “Being outside of mom’s environment, the organs don’t    Eyla’s full name is Eyla Valyn Saenz. The name Eyla
           develop as properly as they would inside,” said Miguel   means “life,” and Valyn means “strength,” both of which
           DeLeon, MD, Neonatologist at Driscoll Children’s Hospital.
                                                                    describe the precious little girl that greets each new day
           Melissa had to wait one month before she or husband      for the gift it is.

        ANNUAL REPORT 2020                                                                 STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE           4
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