2nd Annual Thanksgiving Gratitude Feature Post | Meghan

This is a long one, but so worth the read. I am honored that Meghan's mom shared her story with me. 

May 2015

I give profound thanks for my daughter, Meghan. When I think of all the events she and I have gone through in her short 11 years, I get a little dizzy. It has taught me not to take one single second for granted. It all started when she and I both survived severe preeclampsia in 2004. Being born 13 weeks early and only 1 pound, 9.5 ounces didn’t give her the best start in life. Meghan’s life as a micro preemie was scary and quite an eventful roller coaster ride. There were several times where she came “this close” and I will never forget them. Watching the monitors’ alarms scream so that someone could intervene to help Meghan remember to breathe or to encourage her heart to beat made us all feel helpless; however, her medical team was right on point. I also give thanks for one amazingly generous O- blood donor who helped save her life by transfusing life back into her 3 times before her body could makes its own bone marrow.

After 79 days, we were able to bring her home from the NICU, but then we had three years of intervention therapies (speech, physical, and occupational). For many years, our doctors feared she might have cerebral palsy as a result of her early birth. At that time, she could barely use the left side of her body. She proved them wrong though by working hard to grow into who she is today. We received the best possible outcome in having a former micro preemie in Meghan. She has no delays or deficits, minus some very mild attention issues.

On top of her adventures as a former preemie, Meghan also has a genetic disorder called Alpha-1. Basically, her liver incorrectly folds the Alpha-1 protein, where it gets stuck inside liver cells causing damage. Because her body’s Alpha-1 is stuck in her liver, it can’t be released into the bloodstream to be used in the lungs to combat bad things she inhales. Alpha-1 can cause both genetically caused cirrhosis and emphysema over time. Many people with Alpha-1 require liver and/or lung transplants.

At this time of year, I give thanks for Meghan’s health status. She is doing great. Looking at her, most people would never know what is going on inside. Alpha-1 brings her challenges, but what is so great about Meghan is that she takes them on full force. She is feisty and that will serve her well as she takes on any of the challenges life brings to her. Her zest for living is continually amazing to me. I feel so proud and grateful to be her mom.
— Jen Childress

Tell your tween how much you love her. Tell her why. It all matters so much.