Despite a fever that she'd been running for 3 days, Chloe had a wonderful birthday! We celebrated her THIRD birthday in Maine, the place of her birth. For those of you who don't know her story, she was born while we were on vacation in southern Maine just around the 36th/37th weeks. Although we knew we were taking a chance by traveling that far along in the pregnancy, we decided to take the chance with ALL our supplies and medical records in hand. We figured if we were completely ready, she wouldn't come. HA! She showed us. We knew before she was born that she had Down syndrome and a "significant" heart defect that would require surgery 3-4 months after her birth. She was expected to be born healthy and continue being "healthy" until her heart required surgery months after she was born. When she arrived on 8/12/08 just about 4 hours after my water broke and an hour drive to the nearest hospital (Maine Medical Center) she came into the world just as they had expected, healthy and ready to go. She spent only a few hours in the NICU while they monitored and confirmed her heart defect and then roomed in with me. We were able to return to CT (a 5 hour drive postpartum - OUCH) in 2 days. All was going so well when at about 6 days she stopped eating and started sleeping A LOT. The next 6-12 months would be spent, at times, watching Chloe fight for her life. I'll never forget in the early days when she was failure to thrive (not able to gain weight) and really sick and our pediatrician (who we LOVE) stood over her shaking his head and said "I'm really worried about her". We were too.
Countless trips to the ER and hospital stays, including open heart surgery at only 9 weeks (we waited as long as we could!), g-tube placement and REMOVAL (wooo hooo), and eye surgery; numberous procedures and labwork, including many sleep studies; nursing care, g-tube feeds and CPAP all filled our first year. There were literally times we weren't sure she would make it. But now, 3 years after she was born, we look back with amazement. . . pure and astonishing amazement, that she has grown into the thriving, wonderful little girl that she is today. And weeks from now she will board a school bus and venture out on her own and into the world of preschool, away from mommy and daddy and Xander and Sadie. Out into the big world. . . and she is READY. Happy Birthday Sweet Chloe. Happy Birthday!