AdventHealth for Children was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the Best Children’s Hospital for newborn care in Florida for the second consecutive year. This national recognition highlights our team’s dedication to delivering compassionate, individualized neonatal care, as our babies work towards the transition from hospital to home. Ashley and Ben Ellis are just one of the families who have received unparalleled care from our pediatric care network.
Like many parents, Ashley Ellis was a busy mom working as the Community Relations and Events Manager at 4Rivers Restaurant Group. While juggling work and life at home, caring for her two young children, Lucy and Wyatt, Ashley received some unexpected news. She found out she was pregnant with twin boys. Ashley and Ben were overcome with joy at the thought of welcoming two new little ones!
Upon entering her second trimester, Ashley began having unexpected complications. She was rushed to AdventHealth for Women for evaluation. At 16 weeks pregnant, doctors suspected one of the babies had a ruptured amniotic sac. She was immediately referred to a high risk OBGYN. Overridden with fear, Ashely decided to name the boys on the spot, Aiden Jett and Shane Keegan, and immediately began praying for them.
Weeks later, Ashley was once again overcome with fear, when she began noticing more unique symptoms and immediately asked her husband to bring her back to AdventHealth for Women. Upon her arrival, our nurses quickly discovered she was experiencing small contractions. She was transferred to Labor and Delivery where she met her angel, a nurse named April.
A Blessing from above:
“Nurse April took care of me. April was truly a Godsend. She stayed by my side, devoted exclusively to managing my care, reducing labor symptoms and monitoring my progress. Mostly, I had to manage my fear. At not yet 23 weeks, my boys were not viable for birth. April told me with confidence that today was not the day my boys would be born.”
The longer Ashley was in the hospital, the harder it was for their family. With two small children at home, Ben was often absent to continue caring for Lucy and Wyatt. Ashley often found herself logging into her family’s playroom camera, just to check in on her babies.
The NICU: An Overwhelming, Yet Unforgettable Experience
On Thanksgiving evening, Ashley’s family came to visit with her. After a relaxing lunch, she suddenly felt cramping. At 27 weeks, Ashley gave birth. Shortly after, the boy’s arrival, the Ellis’s received devastating news: baby Shane’s heart stopped beating the moment he was born due to the rupturing amniotic sac early in the pregnancy. As shock and devastation set in, Ashley and Ben were reminded that their surviving baby Aiden was a miracle.
Ashley and Ben routinely visited Aiden, who was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at AdventHealth for Children immediately after birth. Ashley describes this time as uncertain and anxiety provoking. However, Aiden was a fighter and couldn’t have been in better hands. After 100 days in our NICU, he was finally able to come home.
The Ellis family is extremely thankful for all the neonatology angels who cared for baby Aiden. They specifically remember, the support they received from our NICU Child life team, who helped her other children process loss of baby Shane and involved them in the care journey of baby Aiden. Today, Ashley is still giving back to our hospital, by volunteering in our NICU.
You can support more patients like the Ellis family by donating at AdventHealthforChildren.com/Donate.