A New Face for Nicole

A Happy Homecoming

The trip back to North Carolina went off without a hitch. By the time we got home, the swelling in Nicole's face and head had gone down. We could already see a distinct change. Her nose had straightened, her eyes had separated, and her head had started to look more normal. Within the next few months, we drove back to Columbia two more times for follow-up visits with the doctors. Nicole also wore a molding helmet for about a year after the surgery to help her head grow into the proper shape. Today the only signs of her condition are two one-inch scars near her hairline.

Nicole is now an independent, funny, outgoing 2 1/2-year-old. She talks constantly, loves books, and adores the child's computer game we've taught her to play. We're so grateful to the doctors in Missouri, who helped us through one of the most difficult times of our lives. When I look back, I'm not sure how we had the strength to go against the advice of so many doctors. Educating ourselves -- and trusting our instincts -- was the key.

Often a stranger in a store will tell us how beautiful our daughter is. Kelly is especially touched when someone says, "Oh, she looks just like her mother!" That's the kind of comment most parents take for granted, but hearing it is music to our ears.

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