Milestones are something every parent celebrates. It typically starts with an elaborate baby book for baby number 1 and by baby 3 or even 4 we are so busy living, the milestones are often recorded in the modern day baby book: social media. Which in my opinion is a wonderfully inclusive way to document life's special moments.
For Georgia 6 months old feels entirely different. Georgia's 6 month birthday falls on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and it couldn't be more appropriately timed.
The word thankful feels like it is not enough. At first, I was reluctant and scared to share Georgia's birth, her illness, and all of the obstacles she faced. And quite honestly the thought of publicly sharing made the experience more real and hard than I could bear. Over time all of you showed me the power of prayer and love from around the globe, even if we don't know each other. Georgia became not just my baby, but all of ours. She was sent straight from heaven to move mountains, restore faith, advance medicine, bring people together, and most of all show us that the power of love really does conquer all. Thank you for embracing Georgia and welcoming her into your family prayer sessions, daily intentions, thoughts, and life.
Today as I reflect on the past 6 months, I feel as though it is time to share a more in depth look into Georgia's journey. Georgia came into this world and immediately went on life support, but today 6 months later; because of her angel donor, divine intervention, the amazing work of Boston Children's Hospital, and the power of love she is living and laughing and we are planning her home-coming.
GO GEORGIA GO
1. Cardiac arrest at birth. Georgia entered this world took two breaths and went into cardiac arrest. She received CPR in the delivery room, and was intubated moments after birth. My husband Ryan watched across the OR as the code team gave our baby girl chest compressions, all along protecting me and not letting me see his fear while the doctors put my body back together.
2. Georgia's heart grew very weak over the next 8 hours after birth, despite the medicines used to rescue her heart. She needed to go on a machine, called ECMO that would give her body a rest and take over the work of her heart and lungs. The team at Mass General Hospital turned her NICU room into an OR and emergently cannulated our baby girl onto life support. At this time we were told Georgia may not make it. They said now is the time to baptize Georgia, they asked if we wanted her siblings meet her and talked organ donation.
3. At 11:00PM on May 19th Boston Children's Hospital stepped into Georgia's life and brought us immediate HOPE. Knowing that Georgia may not survive the critical transport across town, Ryan and I consented to packing up our baby girl on life support and letting Georgia's angels and Boston Children's Hospital take the reins.
4. Georgia survived the police escorted transport to Boston Children's Hospital, in the mobile ICU, and went straight into an emergency catheterization procedure at 2AM, again we were unsure she would survive. But she did.
5. Georgia went on the next 10 days to have 3 more risky cath procedures, a mitochrondrial transplant to try and revive her heart muscle, all while on ECMO. Her body showed us that she is a fighter by her end organs recovering and labs stabilizing, but her heart still was not strong enough to come off ECMO.
6. The heart failure team, told us she will need a left ventricular assist device as a bridge to heart transplant or her native heart recovering. Until the day we received the call of the gift of Georgia's beautiful new heart we never gave up hope on her own heart that we made together. Georgia was the smallest baby at just 7 pounds to be put on a VAD. It was open heart surgery, a transition from life support to ventricle support. Again, Georgia persevered.
7. Two days after the VAD surgery we saw seizure activity on Georgia's EEG. Georgia suffered a stroke. The team told us if they knew of Georgia's stroke before the surgery they wouldn't have risked the surgery knowing she would have likely not made it through. But she did, her angels and Georgia's strong soul were in charge.
8. Georgia had bloody stools, with x-ray confirmation, we were told Georgia had something called NEC, an infection in her intestines which alone could be a life threatening disease. Georgia responded to treatment and she persevered.
9. For 6 hours Georgia did not receive her medication that kept her pump clean of clots from causing another catastrophic stroke. It typically would only take under an hour for a large clot to form. Divine intervention came through yet again and Georgia persevered.
10. Georgia learned to eat by mouth, she was full on nursing right before her transplant. We were told Georgia may never eat by mouth and most certainly would not breast feed. Again, Georgia blew everyone away.
11. We received the call, the most amazing gift anyone could possibly receive. I still can't believe a family was able to make the most selfless decision at the moment they lost their baby. Georgia acquired a new angel and she made it through another open heart surgery.
12. After transplant Georgia contracted a fungal infection injuring her end organs, prolonging her ICU stay and intubation for 5 weeks. She fought hard and won.
13. Georgia then acquired a central line infection just a week before we were headed home. Again, a potential life threatening set back, but Georgia won.
Moments before we walked Georgia down to the OR to receive her life saving gift.
Post heart transplant holding her Dad's hand and telling him with her eyes that she has got this!