You, my dear daughter, are spending your last night cradled within me. Shortly after 1p today Clarity Elise Hartman will make her entrance into the world and you will have to start the fight for your life. Since your water broke early Monday morning (1a!) at 35w2d, we've been in the hospital. Antibiotics every 6 hours have kept you infection free and labor blessedly didn't come on as we waited through getting you two steroid shots, 24 hours apart. Your doctors are amazing and one, Dr. Reeves, worked all day managing to cobble together a team of about 40 (!) people needed to deliver you by caesarean section at Children's Hospital Colorado, 2 1/2 weeks before your scheduled arrival.
Tomorrow afternoon, I have to come back to the other hospital to recover but Daddy is going to stay by your side every moment that he can. I told him how I've been singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to you. He's bringing a cloth that I've kept resting by my heart all afternoon so my scent can maybe linger near you. He loves you dearly and you're lucky to be the daughter of a wonderful man.
Not far away, waiting outside the NICU, your grandparents, aunts, uncle, cousins, and big sister Willow are going to be praying for your safety. I hope you get to know your sister. She loves babies and although she's too young to understand that you're on the way, she will smother you with love and attention from the moment she sees you. My big-hearted, enthusiastic girls can grow up having grand adventures together and being the best of friends.
Father afield, your family and friends and complete strangers who only know about you because of your CDH are praying for you across the country and around the world.
Your Grandma Sue is coming back to the hospital with me and we're going to sew the binding on to the quilt I made for you. Daddy has promised to send pictures and updates when he can.
This afternoon, I spent several hours on the monitor just because I wanted to hear you and now, in the middle of the night, I'm back on. Your heart rate is strong and gets faster when you move around or when you get excited by one of my contractions. The nurses always comment, " Your baby looks great!" They let us keep the strip from the monitor this afternoon and Daddy recorded a sound file onto each of our phones of your heartbeat.
I know you're facing more challenges than we thought. You're so early that they think you only weigh about 5 pounds. You're latest MRI showed more bowel has ascended into your chest than we had thought which means they didn't see nearly as much lung volume as we'd been counting on. Everybody's very worried.
I also know that you were constantly practicing breath movements at your last scan. You somehow figured out how to regulate your amniotic fluid after almost having too much, suggesting you've figured out ways to swallow adequately, a good sign for your intestines. Your liver is still down in your abdomen, which is something that always makes the doctors more optimistic. We know your heartbeat is strong and regular. You don't have fluid built up anywhere in your body where it shouldn't be and besides the pesky problems caused by the missing piece of your diaphragm, everything else about your anatomy is just as it should be. I think you look like your sister in your 3D ultrasound pictures.
Although you're measuring in the 12th percentile for growth, that number may be low because your abdomen is so empty. You're head is in the 90th percentile. Your sister was in the 25th percentile for weight and 98th percentile for head circumference so I'm trying to hold the picture that you're perfectly on track for the size of babies in our family. By the way, always keep in mind that you got your huge head from Daddy and diminutive stature from Mommy. I'm betting you're another perfect half and half blend of your parents. Hopefully you've gotten the best parts, although I'm hoping you got my stubborn tenacity. Inheriting Daddy's calm, dogged patience for hard tasks would also serve you in what lies ahead.
I know that in the grand scheme of things you chose us and we chose you because we needed each other for whatever our destinies on earth are right now. We've promised that were going to do our best to do right by you and try to make choices in your best interest, unbiased by what we may want Thank you for entrusting yourself to us.
We love you so much already and can't wait to meet you tomorrow. We're anxious to spend as much time as we can with you, hopefully the rest of our lives. Be strong, my sweet girl, and fight, fight, fight. The world's a beautiful magical place that will be brightened even more by what you bring to it.