Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It's Almost That Time Again...

As October quickly approaches, I am finding it hard to believe that my littlest peanut Abrielle aka, "Brie" will be celebrating her 4th birthday next month. My, oh my... how time does fly. I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. She was born a month early and was the tiniest little munchkin I had ever held at a whopping 4.6lbs. I remember how anxious I was when I was told that I was being discharged before her because I wanted so badly to nurse her. Babies with Down syndrome typically have a hard time nursing but the benefits are needed even more, so I was determined to teach her how but I lived over an hour away. I was devastated because I knew if she began with a bottle, it would ruin her chances of learning to nurse and I would not be able to drive myself back and forth every 3 hours to feed her. This is when a nurse told me about the Ronald McDonald House. The chances were slim... because it is typically a place for more severe cases, but I plead my case and they agreed to allow me to stay for a week so that I could go to the NICU every 3 hours to nurse my daughter. I felt so lucky to have this perfect little girl whose only issue was that she had an extra chromosome and could not hold her body temp because she was so small, yet I also recall feeling guilty for taking up a space at this amazing facility that enabled mothers and father's who were fighting for their children's lives to stay close to their babies. I still remember some of those horrifying and sad stories; one mother lost her son while I was there and I sat with her at the dining room table and cried. As my week quickly went by, I told Abrielle every day that she had to hurry up and stay warm on her own so that Mommy could be with her, and every day she fought harder to do just that. One week after she was born, my little trooper stayed warm and we went home together; I was never a day without her. I knew at that moment, I had a fighter... and also how lucky I was to be taking my baby home.

As several of you know (and then there are those of you who have no clue,) every October I raise awareness for Down syndrome in honor of my daughter who carries 3 copies of  Chromosome 21. My oldest daughter and I began her Youtube awareness channel just two years ago in hopes of helping others who may be facing the same diagnosis realize that they will be blessed each and every day by these warm and loving smiles. Each year, on Abrielle's birthday (October 16th) we post a birthday video sharing photos and videos of her year of accomplishments and milestones; this year will be hard because she has had SO many!

However, this year in addition to her inspirational video, we will be doing something else and we will need your help. Without the Ronald McDonald house, I would not have been able to be with my monkey every day while she was kept in the hospital... this place is amazing and operates solely on the donations of others. With that being said, I will be hosting a donation page in honor of Abrielle's 4th birthday for the entire month of October... which is also officially Down syndrome Awareness Month. All proceeds will go directly to the Ronald McDonald House of Tampa, where I stayed for 7 days. I not only feel she was born a month early on purpose... I believe that I was supposed to do something with that.

Please watch for my special blog post on October 1st. I ask in advance for you to help us make October a month of giving to a wonderful cause in honor of the many lives that are lost while parent's hope for good news in this special house for the families of ill children by sharing this post as well as the one I will post on October 1st. Please, help us gain momentum before it even starts...

In honor of this upcoming cause, here is the very first inspirational video we ever posted on Abrielle's Youtube channel... 

click here to watch
"DETERMINATION"



XOXO 
Shells!

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