Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Celebrating One Year With a Healthy Heart

January 3rd, one year ago, today, Lu was at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL, recovering from open heart surgery. My husband and I sat by her side while she slept, listening to the machines beep every time her newly repaired heart beat with more power than it ever had before. On this first night, her color was better, her oxygen levels were higher, and her respirations were less often and more productive. It was a great feeling.

As our time in that hospital room went by, her condition improved every second that the blood flowed through her heart like it was supposed to. After only a few days, she was eating full meals and scarfing down bottles. She whined and cried in discomfort at times, but most of the time she handled her ordeal with grace and determination. Although it was a tense and stressful time, those 4 days in that hospital room were the happiest moments of my life, up until then. I was finally able to believe that my daughter would lead a normal, healthy, and happy life. I was ready for 2011. It was going to be incredible!

2011 has definitely lead up to my expectations. It has been a wonderful year for our family, just watching Lu grow, play, and learn. She will be 18 months in 3 days and she is right on track, physically and developmentally (or "way ahead of the game" as her Daddy proudly admits). She is talking so much and can say hundreds of words and full sentences. Her favorite phrase (or demand) is, "I want to go OUTSIDE!" She loves to play outdoors, enjoys spotting airplanes in the sky, climbing EVERYTHING, and waving hello to the moon. She loves shoes and carries a purse around the house that is full of Matchbox cars. Her favorite movie is Toy Story and her favorite pajamas have Lightning McQueen from the Cars movie on them. She still eats very well but prefers black olives, scrambled eggs with spinach, pizza, blueberries, and PB&J sandwiches. My favorite thing that she does is at night, right before bed: she will climb on the couch and walk to one end where I sit, give me a sloppy kiss, then walk to the other end where her daddy sits, give him an even sloppier kiss, and then repeat that same sequence of kisses about 5 or 6 times.

Playing "OUTSIDE!"

Loving on her Daddy

Since my last post, we celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Each holiday her 2nd experience of them, but her first with a healthy heart. Christmas was a great experience for her this year because of her good health and more understanding age. She didn't like sitting on Santa's lap as much as she did last year but I think she was just more interested in running around the mall. She really liked looking at houses decorated with Christmas lights and excitedly pointed out every time she spotted a blow up snowman by shouting, "OH MAN, OH MAN!"

She always holds her hands like that when she is confused or nervous.

Every echo Lu has had since her surgery looks great, showing mild mitral valve leakage but is not significantly affecting her health at this time. We are now seeing her cardiologist every 6 months.

Enjoying a movie and a cookie during her last echo on 12/14/11

Lu is our pride and joy and is proof that a strong will, a positive attitude, and faith can have a rewarding outcome. I have the same feeling of hope and happiness that I did last year, at this time, and I just know that 2012 is going to be even more incredible than 2011. We have everything we could ever want: a daughter who loves life and has been given the chance to live it.

Not a very happy Wicked Witch of the East

Sailor and Lu before Trick or Treating

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Pictures from Lu's first Heart Day celebration: Album


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'm way late, but still wanted to say Happy Heart Day Lu!!