Elsie Davidson update: 5 1/2 months old, home and doing well


On Dec. 13, Elsie Catharina Davidson turned five months old. 

She was born on July 13 and the fourth child of Ross and the late Hannah Davidson. Hannah passed away from cancer on July 17. 

Elsie spent 105 days in NICU at the University of Utah hospital. She was released on Oct. 30. Ross said, “We had hoped that Elsie would be able to come home by her original due date which was around October 9. In order for this to happen she had to have surgery on her bowel. Her surgery happened on September 11. The surgery was a great success. She was still on a feeding tube and oxygen after the surgery. Elsie had four primary nurses that would almost always take care of her if they were scheduled.” 

 The nurses slowly started to work on feeding her from a bottle. This was a slow process, as they tried to increase her ability to feed on the bottle, decrease the oxygen requirements and get closer to coming home. 

Little by little, she started to improve in both areas. The week after her surgery she had most of her nurses that knew her best taking care of her. Davidson said this was a great blessing and helped in the recovery process. 

Ross and Hannah have three other children: Madison (7), Mark (4) and Hyrum (2). Davidson said, “As Halloween approached, my oldest child (Madison) kept asking if Elsie would be home by Halloween. And if she were coming home for Halloween, what would we dress her up as? We decided if she made it home for Halloween she could re-use Madison’s ladybug costume. 

“After celebrating Hyrum’s birthday the week before Halloween I went to Salt Lake to visit Elsie. She was still struggling to drink the required amount from a bottle. My other kids, friends and family were all praying that she could learn to eat and not need oxygen. She was able to come off of the oxygen, which was a very exciting step, which just left the feeding tube as the only line or tube that she was hooked up to.” 

Elsie was released from the hospital without any lines, tubes or monitors. Davidson said it was a miracle. He added, “There were tears of joy for her leaving, and also tears of saying goodbye to our nurse friends. I was grateful that someone had offered to fly us back from Salt Lake. Someone had donated costumes for the children in the NICU so Elsie’s nurses had selected the Cinderella dress for her to wear. She was able to go home in her Cinderella dress, which was very exciting to my kids. They had signs made and were all ready to meet her. It was their first time to see her in person.” 

When Elsie came home, each of the kids received a teddy bear named after one of Elsie’s primary nurses. Hyrum especially enjoys caring for these teddy bears. They have teddy bears named Abi, Morgan, Courtney and Isabel. 

Davidson’s Aunt Rebecca Kline was with Elsie in the NICU when he couldn’t be. She came back to the Davidson home to care for Elsie for the first two weeks. Some of Elsie’s grandparents then came to take care of her and to help care for the other children. He said the kids were excited to have their grandparents there. 

Davidson said, “Elsie continues to grow and develop and seems to be a normal little baby. She is a good sleeper at night, so I have really appreciated that.” 

“Madison loves to hold Elsie, helps make bottles and makes sure that Elsie gets 20 minutes of reading in everyday. Mark likes to hold her; he says that it makes him warm and cozy. He will help anywhere I will let him. Madison and Mark enjoy picking outfits for her, although sometimes they can’t agree on what would be the best. Hyrum likes being a big brother. He refers to her as Elsie baby, probably to remind us what a big boy he is. He does a good job of just giving her little kisses on the top of her head to help keep her germ-free. All of the kids do a good job of washing their hands, and trying to keep Elsie free from germs.” 

He added that some family and friends did a drive-by baby shower so they put some pictures of Elsie out and they would say hi to people from six feet away as they drove by. 

“It was a unique baby shower, but very much appreciated. My mom and sisters and others have been a great help taking care of the kids. We had a nice Thanksgiving and Christmas. Elsie has really only left the house for doctor’s appointments to try to keep her safe from germs. We enjoy seeing her smile.” 

They have frequent eye appointments to ensure that Elsie’s eye vasculature developed properly and were excited the week before Christmas when the doctors told them her eyes were all clear. They have continued to see many miracles through “our baby Elsie.”