Two years ago a little girl was born. Not breathing on her own, she was quickly rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit. I didn’t know if she was alive until close to 30 minutes after delivery and for the next 41 days the hospital was her home.
Two years ago I didn’t know if my little newborn would survive. She was diagnosed with something so rare that doctors had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if she would ever eat on her own. I didn’t know if she would lift her head, crawl, walk, see, hear, or talk.
Two years ago I was numb and in shock, my dreams of normalcy shattered. I was heartbroken by the loss of my imagined child, yet trying to pull myself together for the baby who was now my reality. I struggled, putting on a positive and brave face for family and friends, but behind closed doors I gave in. Tears of sorrow, anxiety, and fear flowed like a river after a monsoon.
Two years ago, Gia was born.
And two years later, things are so different.
She is much, much more than I could have ever imagined. Not only is she lifting her head and crawling, she is pretty good at finding her sister in a game of ‘hide and seek.’ After her intensive feeding tube wean, Gia is eating on her own. Surviving on food she wants to eat at a pace that is natural for her body. She doesn’t speak, but she communicates with us in her own way asking to be tickled or handing us a book to share with her. Gia has a tantrum when I take her out of her beloved bath or take away something she shouldn’t have. She has a wonderful laugh and loves to be kissed on the forehead. She loves cupcakes with homemade whip cream. We still have many uncertainties in our future, but I do know that she is a joy and an inspiration.
Gia is not that helpless little newborn in the NICU. She is no longer just a child with a 5-inch thick medical chart. She is a two- year old with special powers. Powers to bring our family and friends closer. To pull us into a very special world and connect with wonderful, supportive people. Powers to slow time and allow us to enjoy the present.
Powers to transform this mother into someone I didn’t know I could be.
Today Gia is two and I am oh so glad.