A week and a half ago was the blood drive in honor of me and in memory of Kooper. It went great. Their goal for the 2 days was 188 units. Final Total-212. Not only was the goal met but it was exceeded. Thank you to everyone who donated, volunteered, prayed, and supported this drive and our family.
This was the news release in our local paper.
Blood drive to honor McPherson mom
McPherson County — The American Red Cross will host a special blood drive Thursday and Feb. 17 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 119 N. Elm, McPherson, in honor of Tiffani Eilrich and in memory of her son, Kooper Eilrich.
Last October, Tiffani needed 22 pints (almost three gallons) of blood to live, but unfortunately her newborn son Kooper did not survive.
Pregnancy is supposed to be a happy time of your life. It is a time to imagine life with your future child. But after two successful pregnancies and births, the third time for Tiffani Eilrich was very different.
Tiffani’s third pregnancy started out like the others but after the first month, she began having problems and went to her doctor for answers.
Tiffani and her husband, Steve, learned she had placenta previa, which meant the placenta (the temporary organ joining the mother and fetus) was lying unusually low in her uterus. She also was diagnosed with placenta accreta, a condition when the placenta attaches itself too deeply and too firmly into the wall of the uterus.
They also learned placenta accreta could cause a premature delivery, so the doctor would closely monitor her pregnancy.
Tiffani’s pregnancy proceeded as planned. She’d made it to 20 weeks, a good sign. On Oct. 3, she had an OB visit. The sonogram showed the same potential problems, but everything seemed fine.
Just a few days after this OB visit, her day started out like any other. Tiffani left the house about 8 a.m., took her kids to school and then when on to work. She worked a normal day at the bank until 3 p.m. when she started having “massive abdominal pain” and worry swept over her. Her husband and mother called 911, and she was rushed to the McPherson Hospital. Doctors discovered she’d had a uterine rupture and was bleeding internally. The decision was made to LifeWatch Tiffani to Wichita for care.
At the hospital, Tiffani had an emergency C-section where she gave birth at 20 weeks to her son Kooper, who weighed a mere 13 oz. and measured 9 and three-quarter inches long. She also had an emergency hysterectomy. Doctors worked diligently to save her life, and during the course of these surgeries, Tiffani needed 22 pints of blood (almost 3 gallons).
“The doctors told me that I came within about an hour of dying because I had lost so much blood,” Tiffani said.
The family’s main goal throughout this difficult pregnancy had always been to make it to 24- weeks, a time at which doctors said the baby could successfully live on its own. But they just didn’t make it. The baby, they named Kooper, was not physically developed enough to live.
“He lived for just three and a half hours,” Tiffani said. “But even with everything that was going on with me, I was still able to hold him, and that was very important.”
Red Cross Gains Advocate
During this harrowing experience, Tiffani learned first hand the importance of Red Cross blood donors.
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the blood I received from Red Cross,” she said. “My husband wouldn’t have a wife, and my kids wouldn’t have their mother.”
About a month ago, Tiffani’s cousin Cassandra Snyder, who is a phlebotomist with Red Cross, suggested a blood drive in her honor and Kooper’s memory. The family thought this would be a great way to honor the child they had lost and bring awareness to the need for blood and blood donors.
Tiffani tried to give blood back in high school, but wasn’t successful. Now, she says she’ll do whatever she can to encourage people to donate.
“I can’t donate for a year because I received blood, but when I’m eligible, I will try again,” she said. “I’m recruiting as many people as I can for the upcoming drive — my husband, my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. My mom has never donated, but now knows how important it is, and she is planning to donate.”
Most people are just like Tiffani and don’t even think about the need for blood until it becomes personal.
“I feel terrible that it took this whole experience for me to understand how important it is to have blood available for emergencies,” Tiffani said. “From now on, I will do whatever I can to encourage people to give blood.”
The McPherson Community Blood Drive in Honor of Tiffani Eilrich and in Memory of Kooper Eilrich will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 17 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 119 N. Elm St., McPherson.
How to donate whole blood
Call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org for more information or to make an appointment. Walk-ins are also welcome. All blood types are needed to ensure the Red Cross maintains an adequate blood supply. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Donors must be in general good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old (16 in Kansas with completed
Parental Consent Form). New height and weight restrictions apply to donors 18 and younger.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit www.redcross.org.
Tiffani Eilrich, pictured here with her family, nearly lost her life due to pregnancy complications. She received 22 pints of blood during emergency surgery. A blood drive Thursday and Feb. 17 in McPherson will honor Tiffani and her son, Kooper, who did not survive.
I will have more pictures of the blood drive in another post!!
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