One year ago today, Judah arrived into this world. He was beautiful and sweet and adorable and perfect. Mommy, daddy, and baby spent that first night in the hospital together. After about 15 hours of labor it was a night to rest in the bliss and peacefulness, and to enjoy spending that night with our first child. Both mommy and daddy have fond memories of that first night, knowing how our lives had changed and we had brought this incredible bundle of joy into existence. It wasn’t until the next morning, on 9/11/2012, that our world would be completely flipped on its head and we would find out about Judah’s heart condition and be rushed over to Children’s Hospital, where we would spend the next 6+ months in Intensive Care, go through two open heart surgeries, a cardiac arrest and ECMO, a tracheostomy, and more tests and procedures than can be counted. But that first day was a celebration of life, and Judah, and today for his 1st birthday we made sure to celebrate him every minute of the day.
In the last year we have been with Judah through ups and downs, the hardest of times, and the happiest of times, and watched our son grow from an infant into a toddler. Judah continues to develop on track, and every day he truly does amaze us with how smart he is. He loves to play and laugh, go for walks, trips to the library and outings all over the city, or even just to hang out at home with his dog. Judah has reached milestones that some doctors never thought possible, and despite all he has been through in his first year of life, he has reached other milestones and developmental goals months ahead of schedule. He is still behind in some other goals like his feeding by mouth progress, but makes great strides all the time and continues to wow us as well as his therapists. Not only his family, but his entire medical team (many of whom have become like family to us and him) see only great things in his future, and are confident that nothing will hold him back. He continues to develop his communication skills, and every day finds new things to laugh about hysterically.
It has been a busy few weeks for Judah, and September continues on that track. In the last couple of weeks Judah and mommy have begun attending “Baby and Me” classes at the library, and it has given Judah a chance to interact with lots of other babies his age. It’s amazing to see where kids his age range on the development spectrum, it seems every baby hits those milestones in their own way on their own schedule. Judah doesn’t usually get to play with too many other babies, so these classes are always a lot of fun for him. Judah also gets to go to the Museum frequently, as well as the park and just for walks around the neighborhood. This last week has been an especially busy one, with Judah going to temple for Rosh Hashanah, having visits from both Auntie’s, and even making a trip out to the Turner Dairy Farm for the 34th annual Heart-to-Heart picnic, an event sponsored by Children’s Hospital’s Heart Institute where he got to meet lots of other heart patient families and kids, and we got to see a couple of our CICU nurses, doctors, and even the surgeon who performed both of his open heart surgeries. Today Judah got to celebrate his birthday with all of his Grandparents, and lots of people visiting, calling, skyping, and facetime chatting to see his smiling face and tell him Happy Birthday and how much they love him.
Although the weeks have been busy with fun outings, the one thing Judah hasn’t been so busy with these days are doctors appointments. Judah is now down to on average about one doctor appointment every other week, and many of them are just routine checkups. Some of the best news we have received in a while was from his cardiologist, who said his last in home heart rate monitor and test results were so good that he would not need to be seen for 3 months! Judah’s heart has stabilized for now and its strength and function is looking great. In addition to great news from the cardiologist, his airway doctors continue to work on getting Judah off the vent, and he is now only on a ventilator overnight while he is asleep. Judah has never been more mobile or easier to take places, so much so that we have begun using his regular kid stroller, instead of the larger industrial Kid Cart, meant for carrying kids who need lots of equipment.
Our many, many thanks to everyone who called, texted, visited, and thought about us and Judah as he turns one year old. There was absolutely no way anyone could have known or prepared for what the last year had in store for us, but with all of your thoughts, love, prayers, and support, we were able to handle it all. Judah is the healthiest he has ever been, and continues to grow and thrive every day. We continue to prepare for his upcoming Birthday Bash, and hope to see as many of you there as possible!
All our love,