The first child is usually the most difficult to raise, especially for young parents. Chelsea and Curtis Lush from California were looking forward to the arrival of their first daughter, but ultrasounds revealed that something was wrong from the start. That's how they knew they had the most difficult challenge of their lives ahead them.
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By the fifth month of pregnancy, doctors discovered that when they pressed on Chelsea's belly, her baby's bones warped under the pressure and broke inside the uterus. In addition, the development of her legs was six weeks behind schedule.
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The baby was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta, a disease commonly known as "crystal bones." "They told us that she possibly wouldn't make it till her birthday," recalls Chelsea.
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They named her Zoe, and after a nerve-wracking birth during which some more of the child's bones were broken, the young couple were finally able to hold their firstborn in their arms. At that point doctors were able to make a more specific diagnosis — Zoe suffered from osteogenesis imperfecta type III and not type II as expected. This was good news, because with the type III variant of the condition it is still possible for sufferers to live with it. After a week in the hospital, they were allowed to take Zoe home.
But it soon became clear that taking care of Zoe would be no easy task. Her bones were so fragile that it took three people to safely change her diapers: one to lift her pelvis, another to put on her diaper, and another to hold her arms. Curtis remembers hearing a breaking sound one day when he gently held her arm while changing her diaper.
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Zoe is now six years old and has undergone several operations. Life is still difficult, but much more manageable."Her being able to tell us 'I just broke' or 'no, you didn't break me' or 'hold on, please don't move me...'" makes taking care of Zoe much easier, says Chelsea.
Although she will always be very fragile, Zoe can actually lead a fairly normal life. She uses a wheelchair because her legs aren't strong enough to hold her weight, but that doesn't stop her from going to a special park to play with other kids.
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"I would not change Zoe... In the future I hope that Zoe has just as well of an opportunity as everybody else," says Chelsea. They have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Zoe's medical expenses and are doing all they can to make sure that she has a happy childhood. So far it looks like they're doing a great job — we wish Zoe and her family all the best for the future!

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