Meet Camille. She is 6 months (almost 7!) and celebrating her first full week at home. I got to snuggle this sweet darling last week, watch her coo and cuddle, and see her strong parents thrive with their baby finally home. Mom told me her story, and I hope it inspires you as much as it did me:
Camille was born 7 weeks early and weighed just over 3lbs. Before coming home with us last week, she spent 202 days in the NICU. She has several medical issues, the most significant of which is a congenital heart defect. She has taken 8 trips to the operating room (including her heart surgery at 5 weeks of age), been on and off a ventilator several times, and has undergone more exams, tests, and procedures than I could possibly count. She continues to use an oxygen cannula to help her breathe, and a feeding tube in her tummy. Her Journey Jewels necklaces (we spilled into a second one!) reflect all of her trials and accomplishments – for example, the blue heart beads represent echo-cardiogram tests, the elephant beads represent each time she had a “month birthday”, and the teddy bear beads represent surgery. We know that Camille still has another heart surgery in her future, but she is a tough girl!
Tomorrow starts Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. Nearly 1 in 100 births in the United States are affected by CHD, and while many types of CHD are outgrown with age, there are an estimated 2 million American children and adults living with CHD.
So hugs, high fives and all the love my heart can give to this family. We’ve been planning to see one another from maternity photos – an early birth and a long stay in the hospital led us to finally meeting at 6 months, so my heart is FULL that we finally got to hang out, adore this baby and our love of John Green together. So, to make your day a little sweeter, here’s more from our time together.