Entered on February 3, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
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A Mother’s Letter to Her Daughter

On October 25, 2004 you entered my life and stole my heart.

What a wild ride. I discovered that I was pregnant in March of 2004. What wonderful news that was. The remaining months of my pregnancy were terrific. I truly enjoyed being pregnant. As my belly grew, Tommy became more and more aware that something was happening. He was becoming a big brother! His excitement grew along with mine. We scheduled your birth for Monday, October 25th. Since I was carrying you breech, we didn’t want to risk a traditional delivery, so we scheduled a routine cesarean.

Everything was going along very smoothly…until the moment when you actually arrived. The doctors were having trouble clearing your airway. Everyone in the room seemed to be a little tense. Daddy and I weren’t sure what exactly was going on. After a few minutes, the doctor showed you to me and said that she was going to take you to the nursery because you needed a little extra attention. Our first glimpse of you was so beautiful, yet so brief.

Shortly thereafter I was taken to the recovery room where I was told that you were born with a particular birth defect called Esophageal Atresia and Tracheoesophageal Fistula (EA/TE fistula) and would need to be immediately transported to another hospital for further treatment. It all seemed like a very bad dream. I couldn’t quite grasp what was happening. My baby…my poor little baby…you were so sick.

The helicopter arrived at around 9:00 that night and they flew you to a hospital that was 70 miles away. It was the most horrible, sickening feeling to be sitting alone in my hospital bed listening to the roar of the helicopter taking you away from me. I didn’t even know where St. Mary’s was. It was such a big unknown. And they were taking you there.

Fortunately, St. Mary’s turned out to be a wonderful facility with a superior team of doctors. Your surgery was scheduled for Wednesday morning. Of course, I hadn’t yet been released from the hospital, but your dad was right by your side every step of the way. I remember feeling so envious that Daddy had already started to bond with you. It would be yet two more days until I was able to see you again. Right from the start you were Daddy’s little girl. And what a lucky girl you are to have such a wonderful dad. He’s the best.

On Friday morning Daddy and I made the hour drive to St. Mary’s so that I could properly welcome you into my world. Although I couldn’t hold you, I was able to touch your sweet smooth skin. What a precious little girl you were. Behind all the tubes and wires, amidst the various machines working so hard to get you well, you were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I would continue to visit you each and every day until you were released. Some days you would be awake and “listen” to me talk. Other days I would sit by your crib and just watch you sleep.

You can imagine the joy I felt on the day I was first able to hold you. I’ll never forget…it was November 6th. It happened to be a Saturday night and Daddy and I were together visiting you. As we entered the NICU the first thing we noticed was that your feeding tube was gone and the doctors had also removed your chest tube. The adrenaline rushed through my body because I knew those were the only two obstacles to me getting my hands on you. I fed you a bottle that night and just enjoyed cradling you in my arms. I felt as if I could never let you go.

Five days later you were released from NICU and we took you home. On October 25th you completed our lives. On November 11th you completed our home. As we recently just celebrated your first birthday I found myself more jubilant about the homecoming anniversary than your actual birthday. It was certainly a most joyous occasion.

From time to time after you were released we still had to go to St. Mary’s for various minor surgeries, tests, and procedures. Fortunately, you came through it all with flying colors. You are one tough cookie, that’s for sure. Right from the start you handled each and every obstacle with incredulous grace and charm. Usually parents teach their children; however, Miss Katie, you’ve taught me a great deal. You taught me how to be strong. You taught me how to overcome. You taught me to expect the unexpected. You taught me that adversity and challenge are simply necessary evils that help to build character. Most importantly, Sweet Pea, you taught me to enjoy each and every moment.

I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have you in my life. I thank God each and every day that you survived such a rocky start and you are now such a vibrant and healthy little girl. At first glance, no one would know the heartache you endured.

Thank you, Katie for making my world complete. As Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up again.” Not only have you gotten back up, you’re ready to conquer the world! I believe you’re my inspiration, and I love you more than you’ll ever know.