Littlest Warrior Apparel was inspired by my son Eli who is my biggest hero.
We found out when I was 20 weeks pregnant that Eli had a heart defect and his intestines were blocked. Both those things pointed to Down Syndrome as well, so we had a blood test to confirm.
He was born full term via c section weighing 4 pounds 3 ounces. When I heard him cry, relief washed over me. A nurse brought him over and I got to kiss him before they rushed him to the nicu. He had his first surgery at 2 days old to unblock his intestines, then it was an agonizing long 2 days before I could hold him again. He was able to come home after only 12 days in the nicu. Then the next 6 months was a waiting game for his open heart surgery to repair his av canal defect. After countless visits to the cardiologist for echocardiograms it was time. Handing them over to the surgeons that day knowing that I may never see my baby boy again, was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But the surgery was successful and he amazed us again by coming home after only 6 days in the hospital. Eli is exactly who God wanted him to be and exactly what He knew our family needed. I will never be same and my 3 daughters will grow up to be kind and compassionate advocates and for that I am grateful. Eli is a gift that keeps on giving :)
After his heart surgery I was looking forward to connecting with other moms who have kids with special needs. I also needed to find a way to earn an income and be able to stay at home with Eli so I could take him to all his doctor and therapy appointments and the thought of a shirt business to spread awareness and inclusion really sounded great to me! My very first design was the Holland Tour guide tee because I read the Welcome to Holland story about what it's like having a child with special needs when I was pregnant with Eli and it brought me great comfort. I love that when we wear Littlest Warrior t-shirts, they end up being conversation starters and that's a great way to spread awareness!
I started Littlest Warrior back in January 2015 and I am blown away by the outpouring of love and support we have received!