jane turns nine

My daughter, Jane is nine years old today. The time has passed so quickly that ike most parents, I can't believe how old she is.

Jane is special because I contracted a dangerous virus, CMV, while I was pregnant with her. I was hospitalized for a week during my first trimester and was advised to get an abortion, which I almost did. This is because CMV is a leading cause of congenital mental retardation, deafness, blindness and other serious health and developmental problems. Two separate amnios revealed that my baby was indeed infected with CMV virus in utero. I was really scared.

On the evening Jane was born, the hospital room was full of doctors and nurses standing ready to rush the sick newborn off to the neonatal intensive care unit. Instead, the baby arrived weighing 6lb 14 ozs and with a head full of black hair. She was completely healthy but for some minor eye problems that quickly resolved themselves. She also had such a loud, hearty wail that I knew she would be okay.

Jane's only lingering problem from the CMV is her teeth. She has gotten way more cavities than anyone else in her family because the high fevers I had in the first trimester weakened her enamel. Other than that, she is fine.

I adore having a daughter. She is a constant revelation to me. She looks absolutely nothing like me, with her dark skin, hair and eyes -- compliments of her father's French heritage. In fact, when she was a baby, people used to ask me if she was adopted. She's gorgeous.

She's a competitive equestrian, which is a joy to watch. I put her on a pony for the first time when she was five years old and haven't been able to get her off since. She's a driven athlete in her sport and works really hard at it.

She's also a girl's girl. She loves clothes, dolls, shoes, new hair-dos and Hilary Duff. She loves to read but would rather be riding or playacting some dramatic scenario she's imagined, often bringing both her brothers into the game.

I am so blessed.