She spent 185 days in hospital and went through multiple treatments and procedures before finally returning home.
Charlotte Valliere, an 8-month-old, was born with just one lung and a number of respiratory problems. After spending almost 7 months in the hospital, she's finally getting discharged in a miraculous turn of events.
Joshua and Karla Valliere welcomed two daughters into the world in December 2021. Charlotte and Olivia, who are identical twins, were both healthy at the time of birth. However, Charlotte was hospitalized in San Diego in January with breathing problems and a respiratory infection.
The Vallieres were initially unsure of what was wrong. Charlotte was born with one lung, but she was healthy and had no complications. Olivia was also in good health, according to Good Morning America. Karla told the outlet, "Her one lung grew like 1.5 sizes, so it was compensating for the lack of the second one. So [doctors] did run all the studies. She was totally fine -- oxygenation, everything 100%, so we were cleared to go after four days in the hospital."
She spent almost all of her early life away from her parents and twin sister at Rady Children's Hospital in California. But, a couple of days back, she was finally discharged from the hospital, after going through a difficult surgery.
She beat the odds. Doctors had told her that she had a 20% chance of surviving the procedure, reports Cafemom.
California girl beats the odds to reunite with her twin and return home with her family after a six-month stay at a San Diego hospital. https://t.co/kEOSmHjrMn— ABC News (@ABC) August 18, 2022
On January 29, the Vallieres went to Rady once more. Charlotte was positioned on an ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine. Eventually, tracheal stenosis and full tracheal rings, a congenital abnormality in Charlotte's airway characterized by aberrant rings in her trachea (or windpipe) and abnormal constriction in the region, were identified as the cause. Blood vessels were found around her trachea.
Charlotte was born weeks early and was small for her age, in addition to having respiratory problems. She wouldn't be able to get surgery till she was older. Brigger was aware that the surgery was dangerous, but he withheld the complete picture from the Vallieres since it was grim. He said, "Initially I [told the parents], 'Well, if we can get through surgery, I'm gonna give her 50-50. [But] I'm thinking more 20% of getting through surgery at the time, just knowing how much that we had to go through."
Charlotte's combination of ailments is unusual, according to Dr. Matthew Brigger, head of the pediatric otolaryngology department at Rady Children's Hospital. He said, "We knew that she had a critical airway that if anything were to progress, trying to keep her intubated, that was gonna potentially injure the airway and give us more difficulty in repairing it. So the ECMO was sort of a bridge to surgery."
Doctors gave Charlotte a 20 percent chance of surviving a complicated surgery and now, she's made it home to her twin sister Olivia. https://t.co/78t1URsNNt— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) August 19, 2022
Despite having little chance of surviving, Charlotte's surgery went well. Brigger explained, "Fortunately, Charlotte's a fighter and we got to do the surgery. She sailed through surgery." The Vallieres said Charlotte served as their inspiration. Karla said, "The thing that I think that I believe got us through was her. She never gave any sign of weakness."
Charlotte was eventually released from the hospital on August 1 after 185 days, and her family was there to rejoice and take her home. Brigger stated that he doesn't think Charlotte will ever require a second lung and that her future is promising. He said, "Prognosis is very good. She may not be running marathons in the future but she is Charlotte so it's hard to say. She's proved people wrong all along. I expect her to be able to live a good life."
Cover Image Source: Youtube/CBS 8 San Diego