365 days ago. 525,600 minutes ago, we met you. You came into this world, and within a second you changed our lives forever. They took you away, and when they brought you back to us, our journey began.
We found out you had microtia and we dove into researching everything we could do to help you. We met with countless doctors, and when you were 3.5 weeks old, we found out you had congenital heart disease.
Our lives changed again at that moment.
We found out you were already in severe heart failure and it became clear to us how fragile life really is. We got a binder full of ”cardiac care” instructions and our heart journey began.
Each day we fought alongside you and together the 3 of us never gave up. You had more doctor appointments, saw more specialists, had more bloodwork, more shots, and more everything than any child should ever have to experience. And you did it ALL with a smile.
Although you were so small, you taught us everything we know about strength.
At six months old we handed you to a group of strangers, and they performed a life-saving operation on your tiny heart. They called us during surgery and said “your son is now on bypass” the translation, “your son is now surviving on a machine and electricity.” These are words I will never forget and are often words that replay in my head.
The afternoon of surgery we witnessed you have a terrifying incident. We stood with you as long as we could before the hospital staff asked us to step away so they could “work.” We prayed harder than we ever have before and by a miracle from God, and your strength, you fought through and proved you were even stronger than we ever knew!
Over the last six months, you have continued to fight and beat the odds. You have shocked doctors and shocked us by how well you have done. And each week you continue to amaze us!
Nolan, there was a time this year that we didn’t know if you would make it to today. We prayed we would be able to hold you on your first birthday, and now that this day is here we are praying for time to stand still.
While the last year is not the year we thought we would have, it was the one that God chose for you. While I wish I could take your place and take away all of your hard, if we had a choice, we would pick you EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
You are not microtia, and you are not Congenital Heart Disease. These are two small characteristics of your beautiful life. You are funny, strong, calm, and happy. You are clever, cuddly, and have the best laugh I have ever heard.
You are our son, and we are so happy to be your parents.
Today we celebrate you.
We celebrate how far we have come together. We celebrate the good and bad days.
We celebrate the hard moments and easy ones.
We celebrate the future and all that it holds.
We celebrate life because not only is it precious but because of you we have a new found purpose in life.
Thank you for teaching us more lesson than we ever thought we could learn. Thank you for your sweet smile and your contagious giggle. Thank you for your cuddles and your open mouth kisses. Thank you for being you and being our son.
Happy First Birthday Nolan. We love you!
Mom & Dad