Saturday, February 6, 2010

Audrey's stay at St. Charles and Doernbecher

All geared up for her procedures!

Cuddles from Mommy before CT scan / bronchoscopy

I may have a needle in my head...
but I'm still going to play!

Audrey's Daddy never left her side
the entire time she was in the hospital

Mommy and Dr. Evered with Audrey at her CT scan

Audrey was her usual active self
and kept rolling over in her crib!

Big brother

Baby sister

Audrey really wanted to touch Oliver
(so I put him in her crib the day after surgery!)

She was so happy to see him!

Cuddling with "rammy"
(The nurses kept giving her new toys to keep her
entertained so we came home with about 3 bags full...)

After 3 nights at St. Charles and 3 more nights at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, we were able to bring our sweet little Audrey home yesterday afternoon. We had been preparing ourselves for a long stay but feel as if we witnessed a miracle firsthand! The CT scan and first bronchoscopy performed at St. Charles revealed a narrowing of Audrey's airway so severe that she was flown via AirLink to Portland early Tuesday morning for a second bronchoscopy and probable major surgery. However, while the pediatric ENT was performing her second bronchoscopy late Wednesday afternoon to get a better look at her airway, rather than finding a structural problem that would have to be completely reconstructed, he found two cysts that had grown so large they were nearly blocking her airway completely. He called us from the operating room to tell us what he had found and asked for our permission to remove the cysts while Audrey was still under anesthesia for the bronchoscopy. About 30 minutes later Audrey was waking up, the cysts were out, and we were able to go see our little bunkin'. Audrey was pretty out of it and a little on the grumpy side, but it was nothing a bottle, or EIGHT, couldn't fix! After not getting to eat for over 10 hours, a bottle in the mouth brought immediate relief. She started with two little bottles of glucose water (to make sure her tummy could handle fluids post-op) and then proceeded to suck down SIX more little bottles of formula - all while half asleep! She was taken back to the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) for observation until Thursday. She continued a cycle of ravenous hunger and sleep for about 12 hours and by Thursday morning was back to her happy little self, peeking over the railing of her crib and trying to crawl right out! Daddy spent every single night in her room with her while I stayed at the Ronald McDonald house with my cousin Kellie (who, along with Grandma and Grandpa Bennington, helped us out immensely with the babies so we could talk to doctors and spend time with Audrey), her baby Taleah, Oliver, and Grace. The last two nights Robert took Grace too (so I could have a little break) and had her sleep in the DRAWER under his bed! (Yes, she is still that tiny). The nurses got a kick out of that and Grace actually seemed to really enjoy her little makeshift cradle! Late Thursday afternoon Audrey was finally moved out of the PICU and into her own room which meant we could finally all be together (her room in the PICU was tiny and could only hold 1 or 2 visitors at a time). She stayed there for one more night and Friday morning was released to go home!

The improvement in Audrey's breathing is incredible! Her little tummy, which used to expand dramatically with every strained breath, is now calm and still, and the deep "holes" she used to get in her throat and chest when she would suck in deeply for air are completely gone! She is still a little noisy when she breathes, most likely due to the irritation from two bronchoscopies and inflammation from the surgical removal of both cysts. There is a chance that the cysts will grow back (and rather rapidly), so the ENT has scheduled for her to be seen by him again March 18th. He will do another bronchoscopy to see if there is any regrowth and if so, we will discuss our options at that time. So, although we are rejoicing in Audrey's currently open airway, we will continue to pray that it will stay open and cyst free!

Robert and I feel so blessed and thankful for how everything fell into place during this stressful, emotional time. It truly feels like a miracle that our cousins were here to help out with the other babies, that we were able to respond quickly when Audrey stopped breathing, that help arrived promptly, that Dr. John Evered (who took care of the babies during their first 3 months of life) was able to accompany us through her procedures at St. Charles and arrange for her recovery in the NICU and transfer to Doernbecher (even though none of those things are his responsibility at all!), that Molly at Baby Phases was willing to meet us at her store at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday morning so we could grab a carseat and stroller for our trip over the mountain, that Audrey was able to see an expert pediatric ENT in Portland, and that her diagnosis was something that could be remedied so easily and without major surgery. So many people gave of their time and talents to help us through this scary situation and to take care of our little Audrey, and we are so very grateful to all of them. And we know that hundreds of people (many of whom we have never met!) were lifting Audrey up in prayer this past week and praying faithfully for her comfort, protection, and recovery. We can truly see how the Lord worked through the entire situation to preserve and heal our little girl. Thank you all!!!