Dear Ann Catherine,
Five years ago yesterday, your daddy and I got the call we had been waiting for.
Your NICU nurse called and told your daddy we could come and get you. We hurriedly got ready and were on our way. We couldn't wait to get there!
It had been 68 days since you were born. 68 days of multiple visits to the NICU to see you. 68 days of wishing and waiting. 68 days of standing on the sidelines and watching other people care for you. 68 days of driving home alone after each visit, wishing you were in the back seat. 68 days of fears, praises, highs, lows and many prayers. And after all that had happened, you were finally coming home.
Your nurses cried and hugged you a little longer that morning. They had grown to love you and they were going to miss you.
After everyone had gotten in their hugs, we put you in your car seat and took you outside the hospital for the first time in your life.
And we took you home.
Our pediatrician told us not to compare you to other children who were born around the same time as you. That wasn't fair to you, he explained, because you should have been born three months later. At two-months-old, you still only weighed four pounds, seven ounces. You were so tiny.
We had specialists we had to visit, and one by one they all released you. You began to grow, you became more alert and you thrived at home.
Now here you are, going off to kindergarten. I can't tell you how proud I am of you! You have come so far, little girl. From one pound, 15 ounces and on a ventilator fighting to live, to starting "big school." You are, and always will be, our little miracle.
Good luck tomorrow! I can't wait to see what God has in store for you!