Friday, October 30, 2009

Emersen Montana Leonard

Our sweet little girl was born on October 17 weighing in at a whole 5 pounds 11 ounces. The labor wasn't too bad and my shortest by far. I had to wake Eric up to tell him to move his bed because the doctor was on his way in so I could start pushing.... oh to be on the other side of things :).
After Emersen was born, the nurses seemed a little concerned about her color and so dad accompanied her to the special care nursery for some oxygen. Not long after that, while I was back in the delivery room all alone, Eric called to tell me they thought something might be wrong....she had some features consistent with down syndrome and they were going to send off a chromosone test right away for further testing. I'll never forget the way I felt at that moment. I was terrified and instantly started to pray that I would be able to handle whatever was about to come my way. It seemed like forever until Eric and the nurse came back to talk to me....she explained their concerns and after she left Eric and I cried. Not because we were sad or dissapointed, but because we were so afraid of what the future held for our sweet girl. It was the longest night for us both...lots of tears and no sleep. The next day, when we went to see Emersen again, we found out that she has a heart defect common among children with down syndrome, which would require open heart surgery at the age of 4 months. About 1/2 hour later, we found out that she had a possible bowel obstruction and we would be flying to Phoenix for surgery that night. We were very fortunate that once we were in Phoenix, the doctors thought that her tummy was fine and the surgery wasn't necessary. While we were there however, we met with the pediatric cardiologists that would be performing her surgery and got lots of great information! We are now back in the Flagstaff NICU where she is learning how to eat better and get stronger. Because of her heart condition, eating for her is like running a race....very tiring! Her stamina has to improve and she has to have all of her feedings by mouth before she can come home. She is such a tough girl and I know she is trying hard. I don't know how long we will be there but I try to be grateful for the time I get to cuddle her and bond with her without the normal interruptions of home.
Eric and I feel so humbled and blessed to have Emersen with us. I look forward to learning about down syndrome and being an advocate for my sweet little angel. She has blessed our lives already...she has shown us how much love is around us. I continue to be overwhelmed everyday at our friends and family and their support. I think she has only begun to touch those around her and remind me of what is truly important. We are so thankful to all of you who have prayed for us and continue to encourage us every day. I can't wait for you all to meet our precious girl and feel her amazing spirit. I know she is going to be a source of great joy to our family and we thank our Heavenly Father every day that we get to be her parents.