Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Two years ago today, it was the best day of our lives, then the worst day, and then eventually the best day again.

I don't know if it's the same for other NICU parents, or for all parents. We both find ourselves overwhelmed with emotion on our child's birthday. Is it because we remember that day? So hopeful, then so terrifying? Or does everyone feel this?

It's amazing to us that she went from this:

To this:

It's difficult to think of that day. It started off with so much anticipation and promise, only to end with terrifying fear that we may lose her. But really, something inside us told us we wouldn't lose her. That she was tough, and would pull through. Thanks to a wonderful midwife, Holly, whose years of experience in delivering babies and with laboring moms told her Angelina was going to need some extra help, even though once we got to hospital, all signs were stable and normal. Thanks to a wonderful OB on call, Dr Bryant, who was patient and kind and proactive and not afraid to do what she thought best. Thanks to a wonderful neonatalogist, Dr. Hilliard, who told us "Don't even think of an ECMO when others mentioned it, and told me to just keep pumping milk, that it was the best thing for her once we could take her off the IV. Thanks to the wonderful lactation consultant who held my hand (and boob) to get the milk going. Thanks to a wonderful team at Christus who kept her alive in those first dark hours. Thanks to all our family and friends around the world, both real life and online, and the many many people whom we've never met but who prayed, wished us well, shared kind thoughts and supported us through those terrifying days.

Thanks to all, she is here today.

Celebrating her 2nd birthday.

Full of life and smiles and cheers and cries and screams and laughter. Angelina has all of that.

She already lives life fully.


Sometimes much to our dismay.

I wouldn't change anything for the world.

But I'd also never go back to July 3, 2006. Or rather, July 4th at about 2am. No. I don't want to relive that. Instead, we'll live each day, as Angelina teaches us to.

Happy Birthday Sweet Pea.


Monica said...

Oh Cherise! I'm bawling! What a beautiful tribute to your daughter and all the people who helped her make it through those first few weeks. Happy birthday little Angel Angelina! What a beautiful, strong girl you have become!!!

Vilas said...

Happy Birthday Angelina!!!

I remember how scary that was, and am so happy to see her smiling face now.

Cherise said...

Thank you both. You just reminded me of a very important group I neglected to mention - everyone of you who helped us through that scary time. It was so amazing to have so many people, many we'd never met in real life, many who were friends of friends, who helped us through that.

Madame K said...

I swear to Goddess if you tell anybody I got all teary-eyed just now, I'll deny it, but just reading that brought back so many memories of that time. *deep sigh*

Wow, Jeez 2 years goes by so fast! And I can't believe how beautiful she is. Wait, sure I can.

*hugs to your family*

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