I cannot believe that as I write this, I am now mother to a one-year-old girl. On this very morning 365 days ago, I was desperately trying to stay afloat in the throes of polyhydramnios (excess fluid in the amniotic sac) and HELLP Syndrome (severe preeclampsia that is fatal in 25% of cases), without being able to eat (there was literally no room for food or fluids) or sleep (I hurt too much to sleep). Nick and I had been to counseling to prepare for the potential loss of our child – or the birth of a child with a short life expectancy and myriad developmental issues. I’d just completed a Healthcare Directive (Living Will) at the suggestion of doctors, which essentially gave Nick permission to decide when to pull the plug if I needed to be on life support. I was waiting for an amnio reduction (a procedure in which they stick a 9-inch needle into your pregnant belly to remove excess fluid) mid-afternoon when doctors registered my blood pressure as dangerously high and wheeled us right into an emergency C-section.
At 10:52 PM, our sweet Daisy Anne made her way into the world. Her belly was swollen with excess fluid from her isolated fetal ascites and she couldn’t breathe because her lungs hadn’t had time to develop while her inflated abdomen pressed up against them. She was bright red and so tiny and fragile-looking aside from her bubble-shaped belly. Within minutes of delivery, Daisy was covered in tubes, nodes and wires. She had IV’s in her tiny hands and feet, tubes in her nose and in her mouth – you could hardly see the baby beneath all the paraphernalia.
In the days and weeks that followed, this little four-and-a-half-pound firecracker made it very clear to her parents and her doctors that she had no intention of going anywhere, staying sick or slowing down. Daisy was on a mission to get strong, to grow, to learn and to make her impact on the world. She was stoic through countless blood draws, IV’s, shots, EEG’s, EKG’s, MRI’s, and endless poking and prodding – never crying or flinching. Daisy worked hard through every physical, occupational and speech therapy session. When she was finally released from the NICU after seven weeks, she seemed to “know” that she was home the second she came through our door. The months that have followed have been the best of my life.
Daisy has an unending curiosity about the world around her. She overflows with joy. She is delighted by animals, being outside, sunshine, breezes and ice cream. She loves music and is happiest when she is encircled by her parents, dancing in the kitchen while dinner cooks on the stove. Daisy is undaunted by challenges – she will spend as much time as it takes to master a skill or achieve a goal.
Just a few weeks ago, Daisy started officially crawling – and she’s fast! We have begun clearing furniture out of the living/dining room so she has a wide open space for crawling, and, we take her to our neighborhood play space as often as possible to stretch her legs At Play Arts, Daisy loves playing with blocks, trucks and cars, things that light up and most of all, watching other kids. Daisy has been attending music class at Philly Music Babies and while she is still mostly interested in eating the instruments, she demonstrates a love for music and a good sense of rhythm. Daisy’s sophisticated palate continues to expand. This week, she ate an adult-sized-serving of pâté and loved every bite.
In this year which has flown by with an astounding quickness, Daisy has taught us to love on a level that we didn’t know existed and to have faith in miracles and things greater than ourselves. In this crazy rat race world, Daisy has shown us that what is most important is being present, holding your family close and slowing down to take time to make memories. It is our great honor to be her parents and we can’t wait to see what the future holds. Happy birthday, sweet angel of ours. We love you more than you could ever possibly know ❤