Today I ask for prayers for baby Charlotte. I’ve written several times about Charlotte and her parents, Maggie and Tim.
Charlotte is facing another unexpected surgery this morning.
Charlotte was born at the end of November and has been in the PCICU since then. Last week, she celebrated 100 days in the unit. While I don’t understand the details regarding her congenital heart disease, I know she was scheduled to have the three procedures we originally thought Becky would need. She had the first of those operations last week.
The surgeons placed a band on her pulmonary artery. Things appeared to go well and she spent the remainder of the week resting. On Monday, Charlotte began having trouble with her feeds. This is often an early sign of trouble. Monday night, Maggie and Tim received a phone to call to immediately return to the PCICU. Charlotte was desaturating, meaning her blood was not longer oxygenating properly. They rushed back from the Ronald McDonald House.
Maggie and Tim arrived to a flurry of activity. I’ve only seen a Code in the PCICU once. When that Code alarm went off, doctors, nurses, and therapists began running top speed. I’ve never seen anything like it. So I can imagine the scene in Charlotte’s room. As they approached her crib, the team stepped aside for Maggie and Tim. Charlotte was blue. At that moment, they were not sure if she would survive. The team worked quickly to stabilize the situation as everyone awaited the arrival of the surgeons.
An emergency echo showed a clot in her pulmonary artery. This clot was restricting blood flow to Charlotte’s lungs. When the surgeons arrived, they placed her on the ECMO machine. Essentially life support, this machine is similar to the heart-lung (by-pass) machine used in surgery. It takes over the work of the heart and lungs, giving them time to heal.
When I received the text from Maggie, I immediately reached out to people for prayers. Maggie had given Becky some special head bands to match Charlotte’s. In solidarity with Charlotte, I put one on Becky, handed her a chewable rosary, and began praying.
Greta and Angela both went to the Grotto at Notre Dame to light candles. Each candle represents a special intention, a loved one entrusted to God. Charlotte’s candle burns there now.
Maggie and Tim are the kindest people. My life has been enriched just knowing them these past few months. During Becky’s two admissions to the PCICU, we would talk in the halls, wave to each other in the unit, and catch up at the RMH. They have cheered Becky on, sharing our sadness when Becky was readmitted and rejoicing each time she was sent home. We have play dates scheduled for these two heart warriors in the future.
The surgeons will operate this morning in the hopes of removing the clot stuck in her pulmonary artery. This will be Charlotte’s third open heart surgery. I imagine Maggie and Tim will hand the surgical nurse their special Guardian Angel medal. Normally this medal rests in Charlotte’s crib. Today, the nurse will carry it in her scrubs. It accompanied Becky during her most recent surgery and it will be with Charlotte again today.
Charlotte’s surgery is scheduled for 11:30am. If you have a moment, whisper a prayer or send positive thoughts. Please remember this family and their difficult situation. I know Maggie and Tim would appreciate the support as they gather the strength, yet again, to wait the long hours and hope for a successful outcome.
God bless you, Charlotte! You have an army of love around you, behind you, and above you.
*Charlotte’s pictures used with permission.