By Jeannie Blaylock, First Coast News
Born Without a Face: Juliana's Progress
Juliana Gets a Playground
Juliana's Story: A Total Stranger From Pennsylvania Reaches Out
Whoever Dreamed Juliana Could Go To School?
How To Help Juliana, The Girl Born With No Face
The Girl Without a Face Says Her First Words
Father: Juliana Would Have Died In "Seconds"
Juliana's Story Reaching More International Audiences
Juliana Leaves Hospital
Juliana Could Leave Hospital Soon
What Hope Is There For Juliana
Children's Celebrity Surprises Juliana
Juliana's Gift, A Rare Ride on a Spy Plane
Girl Born Without a Face Gets More Help
TV Crews from Overseas Come to the First Coast for Juliana's Story
Juliana Stands Up By Herself -- A Big First
Born Without a Face: Juliana Gets Mail from Every Single State in the Country
Donating Frequent Flier Miles for Juliana
Giving The Gift Of Hope During The Holidays
Jacksonville Teacher Has Reason to Reach Out to Juliana
Juliana's Story Goes Worldwide
School Kids Raise $3500 For Juliana in Just 3 Days
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- When most parents have a baby, they spend months dreaming about what their bundle of joy will look like. Will she look like mom? Will he have dad's eyes? But for one local Navy family, the birth of their daughter didn't give them the answers to those questions. Their daughter was born without a face.
When Tammy was pregnant, she knew something was wrong. At worst, they thought maybe their baby had a cleft lip. So Tammy and her husband Tom went to the hospital happy until the birth.
"The nurse is like, 'We got her stable, we need to rush her upstairs,'" explains Tom, as he recalls every minute of that day. "And the nurse asked, 'Do you want your wife to see her now?'"
Tom says he thought to himself, "Before she gets the shock I did, let me take a picture so she's prepared."
Tammy hadn't seen her new baby yet, because she almost bled to death during delivery. Tammy would be okay, meanwhile, dad went to take pictures of his new daughter. But no matter what, these new parents had a wish.
"That if there was something wrong, she wouldn't be alone. We wanted to make sure she felt loved," said Tom, as he began to cry. "She squeezed my hand."
Little Juliana is missing 30 - 40 percent of the bones in her face. "She has no upper jaw, no cheek bones, no eye sockets, and she's missing the corner of her ear," explains Tom. Her birth defect is called Treacher Collins Syndrome.
Doctors say it's the worst case they've ever seen. So, how do you get people to see past all the defects, and find her heart? For mom, it just hurts.
"I just wish people would ask questions. Don't just stare," says Tammy. "I guess the most hurtful thing came not long ago, a little girl said she was disgusting."
Juliana has to eat through her stomach, and she has a trach to breathe. Already, less than two years into her life, she's had 14 surgeries. Doctors say she could need at least 30 more. Every time she goes to the hospital, doctors make a mold of her head, and then reconstruct her skull to figure out the next step. It's a life-long process that's draining for Tammy and Tom. Even still, they're thankful and full of love for their sweet child.
"God never gives you more than you can handle. I figure she has a lot to show everyone... to show the world," says Tom.
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First Coast News