This year, as last year, I am so very thankful to have Eliza Grace and to have her as healthy as she is. Thanksgiving this year was spent with family. Eliza's Uncle Stanley introduced her to her first set of horses:
Eliza Grace also got to try out Aunt Cindy's "Teetertot," a toy many of us recall, but which I am sure would no longer get the Consumer Reports gold star for safety:
However while enjoying the Teetertot, Eliza Grace was rudely licked by our favorite border collie:
At the holidays we always look back and give thanks for the year before. I am so very grateful for Eliza's amazing progress from those very dark days in the Lenox Hill NCCU. Her cognitive abilities are amazing, despite some speech delays, her eyesight is unaffected by her ROP, her lung function continues to improve, her motor function is, well pretty impressive for such a tiny girl, she climbs on everything and shows no fear. She does not however eat and that problem has been worsening almost daily and she will likely need a g-tube before the year is out. But even that's OK because I know it will help her to get the nourishment she needs to continue to do well.
Someone said to me not too long that I did not seem "grateful" enough that Eliza was doing so well, that she had her sight, her hearing and her cognitive abilities. I have had people tell me that "it could be worse," and of course they are right, life could always be "worse" for any of us. I suppose it could appear that I don't focus enough on Eliza's progress since I, like most people I suppose, tend to sometimes focus more on life's problems and not enough on the things that are going right. But despite what some folks might think I am very grateful that Eliza was spared many of the obvious effects of extreme prematurity. I am so very grateful to the doctors and nurses at Lenox Hill who never once stopped giving their very best to Eliza, especially during that very ugly first month of her life.
But I do think we can be grateful for our children's lives and how well they have escaped "most" or "many" of the effects of extreme prematurity and yet still wish that they had escaped "all" of those effects. Being angry that our children have to continue to suffer the effects of their early births does not mean that we are any less grateful for our children's lives than any other parent is.
So this Thanksgiving, I am deeply grateful that Eliza is my amazing little girl, even if I am angry that she still has to suffer because she was born too soon.