Burlington, Ont. couple Vanessa Marshall and Gordon Lewis are celebrating that after six long months, their little baby girl is home.
Baby Georgia was born with a rare heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means the left ventricle in her heart cannot effectively pump blood through her body —; requiring the right ventricle to do all the work.
As a result, Georgia has gone through two major surgeries and several dozen procedures at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. The defect also caused her to suffer cardiac arrests and at one point she had to be put on life support.
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But despite everything her tiny little body had to endure, Georgia championed onward and is finally home with her family.
Her parents call her use words such as “fierce” and “Wonder Woman” to describe her.
“I couldn’t go through what she has gone through, I mean there is no way … it’s amazing,” said father Gordon Lewis.
Gordon Lewis and Vanessa Marshall with their daughter Georgia in February 2016. Family handout
Gordon Lewis and Vanessa Marshall with their daughter Georgia in February 2016.
Vanessa and Gordon said having Georgia home is a dream come true, adding that being able to hear her coos and her cries brings tears to their eyes because it speaks volumes about their little girl’s determination.
“She has completely given us the strength … watching her go through this, how can we not be strong for her when she is fighting so hard,” Vanessa said.
“Being home, it doesn’t matter how tired you are or how fussy she is, it’s like she is here and she fought so hard to be here … she can have whatever she wants.”
Georgia currently gets food through a feeding tube, but her parents are also now able to feed her with a bottle.
She will have to undergo at least one more major surgery that will take place between the ages of two and four.
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In the meantime she will be monitored closely by doctors, a lifestyle she will have to maintain for the rest of her life.
Yet her parents say this is all normal for them now – it is who their little girl is and they plan on helping her embrace her “half-heart” as they call it, rather than see her condition as a negative.
They said seeing their daughter’s will and strength to live has brought them closer and helped them through their roughest days.
Vaness said there is a saying that hangs on her daughter’s wall that describes her perfectly: “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”