Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Longest Year of our Life

It began on July 20, 2010.

We'd known the day was coming for eight months... for the last three months we'd known that it would be a less than ideal day.

Our Annabelle was born with half of a functioning heart. Instead of being put into her mother's arms, she was rushed off and hooked up to tubes.

As CHD Awareness week concludes tomorrow, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of that year... a glimpse into what Congenital Heart Defects look like.

Note: at 8 days old, Annabelle failed and was put on a machine called ECMO, her chest opened. Through the tape over her chest, you could see her beating heart with tubes extending out. This was more than my mommy heart could take, and I didn't take pictures.

Gruesome and awesome were small words to explain those open chest days.

She was that way for a week... so I have a week of no pictures of Annabelle.

*****

 
Annabelle is on her way!!

My first time holding my sweet girl

Day one post surgery at 6 days old. This was hours before she crashed.

One Month Old

Two Months Old

Three Months old

Four Months Old

Five Months Old - Christmas at Vanderbilt

Six Months Old (Heart transplant listed... she also began to fail a few hours after this picture was taken and was almost put back on the ventilator)

Seven Months Old

Eight Months Old... our first smile!!!!!!!!

Post Transplant.... Nine Months Old... Snuggling with daddy! She's PINK!

Ten Months old... going home soon!!!!

Eleven Months old... Annabelle's FIRST "month" birthday home!!!!

Happy ONE YEAR Birthday!!! We fought hard for this birthday. Several times she almost didn't make it to this milestone. This was SUCH a celebration!!!!!

Three days after her birthday... she almost died at home. Turned blue, was unresponsive, CPR in an ambulance, and life-flighted to the hospital. They never figured out why.

Fast forward 2 and a half years until current day....



Annabelle is doing well. Still behind in some areas developementaly. Still on a feeding tube. She'll always be at risk for rejection... and as evidenced by our not stellar last few weeks that culminated into 2 blood transfusions... her body will always have a tough time dealing with viruses.

But she's happy and smiling. She runs around the house and plays. She's alive. She's our miracle... our gift from God. We treasure EACH and every day!

Yet... so many mothers I know, who I've walked this journey with... don't have a "good" update to give today. Many are still fighting with their child. And many are experiencing the heart-break of loss... their child in the arms of Jesus instead of the arms of their mother.

Please join me in praying for those Moms this week.

And help spread the world about this HORRIBLE defect.

If you want to know more ways that YOU can get involved and help... Here are a few suggestions.

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