Ellie Russell


On July 17th, 2014, our lives changed forever. After having two healthy boys we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. I had an uneventful pregnancy until the end when I had a terrible cold at 38 weeks. I thought all it was, was a cold and brushed it off.

Ellie’s delivery was also uneventful and she seemed healthy upon initial examination. I was also over my ‘cold’. I did notice she was somewhat agitated and unsettled not wanting to nurse, which is uncharacteristic of newborn babies. I knew something wasn’t okay. 3 hours post delivery is when my life changed. She had just come back to our room on the postpartum unit and began to have difficulty breathing. Our nurse whisked her away. Directly to the NICU where she was resuscitated and put on the CPAP machine.

The next morning I began to also feel ill. I had severe abdominal pain and could not even walk over to the NICU to see my baby. By lunchtime, I had a fever of 105 and was quickly started on an IV. Shortly after that time, the pediatrician on call was in to let us now that Ellie was very sick. (Sepsis and Pregnancy & Childbirth) She had a blood infection caused from Group A Streptococcus and was needing to be airlifted out to a larger center 3 hours away ASAP. (Sepsis and Group A Streptococcus) She was quickly becoming septic. He also indicated that too is what was likely I had and that he would be consulting with the OB on call to have me moved also to be looked after by the infectious disease team at the same hospital my daughter was being sent to.

Ellie was intubated and picked up by the NICU team from the larger hospital. Once the plane was back, I too was on my way. Ellie was diagnosed with neonatal septicemia and spent 21 days on a level 3 NICU. (Sepsis and Children) She had a blood transfusion, 8 lumbar punctures and was treated with a meningitic dose of ampicillin via PICC line. We were told to prepare for the worst, had social work and a chaplain visit us but thankfully she pulled through.

I was diagnosed with streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, which almost resulted in a hysterectomy and was treated also with a meningitic dose of penicillin then later switched to biaxin due to a severe allergic reaction. (Sepsis and Toxic Shock Syndrome)

Ellie is a fighter. Over the last 18 months, she has been experiencing some undiagnosed health issues which are still being investigated. She is tough and strong which is likely the reason she survived such a massive infection.

Source: Kristine Russell, Mom