Caley may only be 1 year old, but her mom and dad have already seen enough evidence of her determination to know that they have a little girl with a fighting spirit. “When she wants something, she won’t give up until she figures it out,” said her mom, Marie.
Caley was born three months early, weighing just 1 pound, 6 ounces. With her organs severely underdeveloped, little Caley had to struggle to survive from day one. Doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado stepped in to give her treatments to help her lungs function and to protect her digestive tract from necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious digestive disorder that damages the intestines of preemies. When she was just days old, doctors performed a life-saving surgery to repair her still-developing heart.
Caley spent the first three months of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Colorado. During her hospitalization, she wore her mother’s wedding band around her tiny wrist as a bracelet and good luck charm.
While the experience was incredibly difficult, Caley’s parents say the staff at Children’s Colorado did everything they could to make their family feel at home. They say Caley was never treated merely as a patient but as an individual.
“Caley never went 24 hours without seeing a nurse who knew her,” said Marie. “They knew her name, the stages she was going through, her personality. Those nurses feel like family now.”
Steps in the Right Direction
Today Caley is progressing like a normal soon-to-be toddler, and her parents are relishing every milestone. She loves musical toys and recently took her first steps. She has long outgrown the wedding band that once fit around her wrist, but now that it’s back on her mother’s finger, Marie says it’s a constant reminder of how far Caley has come.
“She’s definitely our daughter: stubborn, strong-willed, feisty,” said Marie. “She’s taught us so much about courage.”