A year ago, we didn't know what would happen to Helena when she was born. We didn't know if she'd be born blue, if she'd be able to breathe on her own, or if she'd need surgery right away.
A year ago, we had no idea we'd spend months battling feeding tubes and reflux and fighting for every ounce our little girl gained.
A year ago, I didn't know what oral aversion is.
A year ago, I never thought I'd be an expert at dropping an NG tube or programming a feeding pump.
A year ago, we didn't know how to work a pulse-ox machine, or how to read an EKG, or what a normal baby's blood pressure should be.
A year ago, we didn't realize that not only would we be getting speech therapy, but also physical and developmental therapy to help our little girl catch up.
A year ago, we never could have imagined how loving, careful, understanding and adaptable our boys could be. Or just how much they too would love their little sister.
A year ago, we weren't even really sure what was wrong with Helena's heart.
A year ago, we didn't know when she'd have to have corrective surgery, or even what that corrective surgery would be.
A year ago, we didn't know how much love, support and care all of our friends and family would shower on us while we went through one of the hardest times in our lives.
A year ago, we had no idea how much we'd come to love this little girl, and just how scary it would be to hand her over to her medical team so they could fix her heart.
A year ago, we had no idea how incredibly grateful we would be to the doctors, nurses and everyone else who helped fix her broken heart and get her to where she is today.
A year ago, I couldn't even think about Helena's first birthday party because I was so scared she wouldn't be here for us to celebrate it.
A year ago, we weren't able to hold our new baby.
A year ago, we didn't know all the challenges this little warrior would face, and eventually overcome.
A year ago, we didn't know how long she'd be in the hospital. We didn't know we were looking at a month-long stay.
A year ago, she was sedated and intubated while we figured out what our gameplan for her would be.
Today, Helena turns a year old.
Today, Helena is babbling like crazy.
Today, Helena is army crawling anywhere she can.
Today, Helena is eating not only her formula, but real people food too - and loving it!
Today, we no longer have a feeding pump or a pulse-ox machine in our house - because we don't need them.
Today, Helena is making huge progress in all areas of her development and no one has any concerns that she will one day soon be caught up to her peers.
Today, her brothers love her even more than they did when they first met her.
Today, Helena has a mended heart.
Today, we cannot begin to express our gratitude to everyone in our lives who showed their care, concern and support during the last year. Without it, this hard year would have been even harder.
Today, our medical team is more like family. Our gratitude to them knows no bounds and we can't imagine not having them in our lives.
Today, Helena is snuggling and loving and wants to be the center of everyone's attention and love - and she often is.
Today, she is happier and healthier than I could have ever imagined.
Today, we are home as a family of five.
And today, we celebrate this little girl's life.
Happy Birthday Sweet Girl, you are so very loved.