Hope’s First Birthday

First birthdays are incredible occasions, particularly when baby has survived her first time parents. That’s true in any case, but Hope had some additional hurdles with us. We had to learn about Down syndrome and every possible medical complication we could face because of it, study complete atrioventricular canal defect in detail, research the best doctors and hospitals…the list goes on.

But between Hope’s Christmas Eve birth and her surgery two months later, we blinked, and when we opened our eyes found an army standing beside us: Parents, lifelong friends, sisters, and some brand new friends who were “waiting for this baby to arrive.” I’ll never forget those words.

A friend of ours moved her family out of their house for the night so that we could stay closer to the hospital after I was discharged and Hope remained in the NICU. We had friends mind the cats for weeks when Hope was unexpectedly admitted to the PICU before surgery. Our new friends, whose daughter is 6 months older than Hope and who we admire so very much, came down to the city to visit us in the hospital and brought snacks and magazines, just to break up the monotony. Our family received prayers from entire congregations we didn’t know.

I love words, but each picture is worth a thousand, like they say. So for Hope’s birthday party this past weekend, my husband put together a slideshow to a song that brought us so much strength when Hope was fighting her hardest just to hang on. We are so happy to share this with you.

Hope’s journey has been tougher than many and easier than some. We will always keep that in perspective. We haven’t closed the door on managing her difficult heart—the imminent threat has passed, but every checkup will bring worry and every passing grade will bring elation. We love this little girl more than we ever thought possible. May God bless our beautiful and downright perfect Hope.

[If you are viewing this post in e-mail and the slideshow doesn’t play, please click through to www.AtHerOwnPace.com to view.]

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