Monday, November 4, 2013

Meet Leah

 A few weeks ago I was browsing Instagram after hashtagging one of Jedi's pictures with #preemie, I saw many very small babies and some big kids that were NICU graduates and as I scanned the feed of all the thousands of photos, one stood out to me. I clicked it to enlarge it, and I gasped. The sweetest little eyes staring at me.

And after viewing more photos like this:

I had to know more about this baby. In all honesty, I have seen LOTS AND LOTS of babies, but none like this baby.


  Her sweet face and delicate features had me right from the get go. And it wasn't just her insane yummyness that had me in a tizzy....the love that I could feel from the pictures and perhaps from the photographer, made me NEED to know more. I was set on finding out. I commented one of the photos asking for her parent to email me and I was really relieved she got back to me quickly. I had this baby on my brain and I wanted to know exactly what was going on in her life.

Here is what I found out from her blogs about section (click HERE to read more)

Leah Valerie was
Due July 4, 2013. Born May 8, 2013. 3.5lbs, 16.14in, 10 fingers, 10 toes, 47 chromosomes. Oh – and she has 2 mommies. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. 

I need a tissue.  My heart may explode. Right out of my eyes.

Her mommies, Lisa and Mandy have been together for 11 years and after finishing college and post grad school they decided it was time to start a family. Mandy became pregnant quickly and at 20 weeks they found out their baby had markers for Down Syndrome. Just a couple of weeks later they were given news that it was absolutely certain. Shortly after that, they discovered that there was a blockage in her stomach and plans were made to have Mandy deliver baby Leah at a bigger more distant hospital because she would likely need surgery right after birth. They forged ahead and planned to take Bradley classes and do all the things expecting couples do towards the end of a pregnancy. But on the morning of May 8th, Mandy had found that her water had broken. Just a couple of days before, Lisa had been diagnosed with chronic stomach paralysis and had been incredibly ill. She had hoped she would have her own surgery well before Leah's arrival, but baby Leah had other plans!
 In the days that followed they learned that Leah had esophageal atresia, which means her esophagus and stomach do not connect. Leah's form is especially rare because there is a large part of her esophagus that is missing entirely. This makes for a much more difficult procedure. Until the atresia is repaired or she is able to swallow, Leah cannot go home due to the potentially-fatal risk of aspiration pneumonia and because she has Down Syndrome, her recovery from surgery would take longer than a typical baby. This means that Leah has to work extra hard before and after surgery and will need to stay in the PICU for at least a month after surgery before she can go home to her adoring mothers. And Leah's journey doesn't end there! Leah will need in home care for quite awhile along with many different therapies that will both help her heal, and get her moving on the right track.

Why am I sharing Leah with you? Well other than "this is the cutest most hardcore baby in the history of adorable", you can help her Mama's help her heal. Leah had surgery on November 1st and seems to be rocking it out the best she can and I am sure her Mama's are both incredibly relieved that the surgery part is over with, but also a tad anxious about what will happen next.
As a state employee Mandy did not receive the state-funded disability and maternity benefits that keep most California workers afloat during times of pregnancy, parental bonding time and family medical leave.

Additionally, two days before Leah was born (as mentioned before) Lisa was in the emergency room due to a neurological condition that causes stomach paralysis. She has lost over 45 lbs in just a few months and has been too ill to work. She is still recovering from an abdominal surgery meant to help her manage this difficult condition.

 To help the Mama's stay with Leah as she recovers in the  PICU and help them manage costs when they finally go home (they have been staying at the Ronald McDonald house close to the hospital) a fundraiser was started for Leah and her Mama's. I have been incredibly blessed by having followers that have been there for me and helped me receive our Rainbow (that thank you post is coming up!) and I would be honored if I could send some of those kindnesses to this family. If you are moved to, please donate to Leah's fundraiser by clicking HERE. They are pretty close to their goal already but could use more! If you can't donate, you can still visit Leah's blog and read about her progress by clicking HERE (be prepared for a MASS amount of baby cuteness)
you can also follow Leah's Facebook page by clicking HERE
and her Instagram
and her Twitter

And if you are just over the moon about Leah as I am, could you please share this post? The world needs a little more sunshine and I think she's just the girl for the job.


  1. Anonymous11/04/2013

    Thank you Humble <3
    To Lisa and Mandy <3
    To sweet Leah <3
    There's not much else to say....except <3

  2. The ladybug outfit killed me, I'm a typing puddle right now.

  3. I have goosebumps, and tears, and a lot of hope for this little family. ♥