“She has my eyes, but otherwise she looks just like her daddy,” says her mom, Andee Hirsch.
Aaron Hirsch, Harlee’s dad, is thankful to spend his first Father’s Day with his miracle baby. The wide-eyed girl who can sit up all by herself and constantly smiles and coos nearly lost her life a week after birth. Andee and Aaron brought their newborn home from a local hospital and began their life as a family of three. A few days later, Andee noticed that Harlee vomited after every feeding, and one morning she couldn’t get her baby girl to wake up.
After rushing to the Emergency Department at Children’s at Legacy, Andee found out that Harlee was born with an imperforate anus - her anus had not developed in utero, and she was in septic shock. Harlee spent two weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s in Dallas, where she recovered before pediatric surgeon Dr. David Schindel performed a three-part surgery process to build and repair the anatomy.
In honor of Father’s Day, read what Aaron has to say about being a dad to his “little princess:”
Being a first-time dad, having my daughter was the happiest day of my life. However, the happiest day quickly turned into the worst day after finding out our daughter had a rare birth defect that would require a series of three surgeries.
The first surgery was by far the hardest. No parent should ever have to see their 9-day-old daughter hooked up to a bunch of wires and laying helpless in a hospital bed. It killed me knowing there was nothing I could do. After the first surgery was over, before we knew it we had made it through the second surgery and were on our way to her final surgery. By the time the third surgery rolled around, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of excitement knowing everything was finally almost over. That definitely beat the fear and anxiety I felt through the first two.
Six months later, I can’t believe we finally made it through this experience. Now, I definitely feel like we, as a family, can make it through anything. Going through this has definitely made me a stronger dad and man. I’m so happy to have my healthy baby girl home, and I can’t wait to spend my first Father’s Day with my little princess.