Grace, born 2005Grace Elizabeth joined Megan and Jacob on September 30, 2005 and made our family complete. Although she was born a little less than a month early, she was in great health and was able to breath on her own, feed well and did everything a new baby was expected to do. Having two older children, we knew that all babies are not the same so when Grace wasn't eating much beyond two ounces per feeding, we just thought that was her way. When she wasn't gaining weight like the other two kids, we thought maybe she'll just be petite. She was so sweet and we all loved her so much. She really captured everyone's heart.
On Christmas day, Grace wasn't really acting like herself. She wasn't eating much more than two ounces the entire day and we thought she must be coming down with a cold. The older kids had the sniffles so that must have been what it was. She was waking more frequently the next few nights. I stayed up with her and walked her to calm and sooth her but nothing seemed to help. So on December 27th, we called our pediatrician and told them we thought she had a cold and they wanted to look at her.
Needless to say, Grace didn't come home from what we thought would be a brief doctor visit. She was sent straight to the hospital by ambulance and kept on oxygen. Her oxygen levels were barely at 80%. After various testing and doctor evaluations, Grace was diagnosed with Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return. We were floored and devastated. Everything seemed so surreal, like a bad dream. What we thought was a cold turned into a critically ill baby and ultimately open heart surgery. Everyone at the hospital was so supportive and reassuring that she was going to be OK. I wanted so very much to believe them but a part of me knew how real it was that my sweet precious Gracie might die. We had everyone praying for her - friends, family, friends of family members and complete strangers. We were truly blessed!
Her surgery was scheduled for January 4, 2006. The doctors wanted her to gain some weight and strength in preparation for the surgery; she was hanging in there and doing well. On New Year's Eve she took a turn for the worse and even with a ventilator was struggling to breath. The plans were quickly changed and the hospital staff immediately started assembling a surgical team to operate on her tiny heart on January 1st. Once we met the surgeon. Dr. George Alfieris, we knew that Grace would not only survive the surgery but she'd be better than ever and she is.
Grace is doing great. happy and healthy and loves to play and smile. Thank God for tiny miracles like her! Like her brother Jacob says everyday, "I love her soooo much!"
Story by Grace's mom, Nancy of New York
Jackson, born 2008
Conor, born 2000