Eily celebrated her second birthday by enjoying a piece of a chocolate cake that was decorated like a pug puppy.
The cake represented another milestone for the adorable girl, who recently had a feeding tube removed after mastering the skill of eating orally. Now Eily can’t wait to try new foods and especially loves pizza, grapes and yogurt!
The milestones have been coming in quick succession as Eily gains new strength after receiving a life-changing heart surgery and a year and a half of early intervention therapy from the Guilds’ School.
Her parents, Shannon and Matt, have been through tough times worrying about their daughter. Eily spent the first 42 days of her life in a neonatal intensive care unit. She had an undiagnosed heart condition and low muscle tone and needed a feeding tube for nourishment. Doctors were uncertain if she’d walk or learn as easily as many other children.
The Guilds’ School started providing therapy as soon as Eily arrived home from the hospital. She had heart surgery at eight months of age. Although Eily will need monitoring for life, she gained energy that helped her turn the corner and make new strides while receiving physical, occupational and speech therapies and special education.
“Eily loves her therapists. They have always helped us see what she was capable of becoming instead of focusing on her limitations,” Shannon said.
The family has plenty of reasons to celebrate. Eily recently took her first steps as her brothers, Enzo, 5, and Leo, 4, cheered.
“She loves playing with her big brothers! Their cheering made her want to walk even more,” Shannon said.
Eily is growing into a typical toddler who walks on her own and is eager to keep up with her brothers. She has a full vocabulary, calls people by name, enjoys a good tea party and can’t help but break into a dance when she hears her favorite song, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
“She wakes up cheerful and is always happy,” Shannon said.