Today, we remember our daughter Hope. Although, February 29th does not exist this year, we continue to remember her fight. We will continue to celebrate her life this year as her 4th birthday approaches on March 10th.
I am convinced that God knew exactly what he was doing when he chose my husband Andrew and I to be the parents to a child with a Congenital Heart Disease (CHD). We knew the challenges that were on the road ahead of us but we kept our faith and hope and made every decision possible to give our daughter the best chance at life.
As a mother I was faced with multiple challenging decisions and negative feedback from Physicians who lacked the same faith and hope my husband and I had. I was told that our daughter would not survive the pregnancy. It was predicted that I would have a miscarriage prior to 12 weeks. After 12 weeks it was predicted that at 20 weeks I would give birth to a stillborn. As the pregnancy progressed our faith increased. We knew that God had a plan that no doctor was aware of. From the beginning, we spoke life into the growing baby inside my stomach and we kept our hope that she would be delivered.
I had another name in mind for her but after one appointment that my Husband and I went to we looked over and saw a picture (see image on right) in the office that read, “Faith-Love-Hope”. It was at that very moment when we decided that her name was destined to be “Hope”. Conversations seemed to constantly revolve around hoping for the best and we always made it clear that we would not be giving up hope in this pregnancy. We did just that from the beginning to the end, we never gave up hope on Hope.
After multiple changes in OB/GYN’s due to lack of support I was able to find an amazing Physician, Michael Gallagher MD. Dr Gallagher supported my decision from the very beginning and he ensured me that we would take it one appointment at a time and that he would make the best decisions throughout the pregnancy to get our baby here into the world as safely as possible, despite the complications presented before us.
With great preparation and assistance from another amazing Physician, David Shidlow, MD, Pediatric Cardiologist at Childrens National, Hope was delivered at 34 weeks. After spending the majority of her life in Cardiac Intensive Care and undergoing multiple open heart surgeries, Hope won her battle and was crowned an Angel on February 29th, 2016 at 11 months old, two weeks before we were to celebrate her 1st birthday.
Although, we were not ready for her to depart from us it was a decision outside of our control. God had the final say and he had a greater plan for Hope. Her work here on earth was complete. She definitely impacted our lives and made us stronger parents and individuals. Our faith also strengthened and has proven to be unshakeable as we both grew closer to God as we found peace.
The irony is that Hope passed away in February which is Heart Month and CHD awareness week is also celebrated in February. It is not a coincidence that God decided to call his Angel home on 2/29, a day that we only have to celebrate every 4 years. He didn’t intend for us to have a date to celebrate her death. I am certain that he wanted us to celebrate her life, as we do each year on her birthday.
Hope touched the lives of everyone that she encountered. Her personality and strength was far wiser and stronger than her short time here on earth prepared her for.
I want to thank everyone, family and friends that supported us during this time in our lives and your continued support each year during this time is greatly appreciated. A special thank you to a great friend that I made along the way, Maryann of Mended Little Hearts of Washington, DC. Your kindness and friendship is priceless and is for a lifetime.