Angeline Goes Back to Nashville . . .
In early September we went to Nashville to attend the Second Annual Fetal Surgery Reunion. We went driving with another FS family, Karen, little Ana, and Al Lyons (Al met us there on Saturday). There we met, face to face, many of the other families that had gone through an experience similar to ours. It was very encouraging seeing some of the real pioneers of fetal surgery. We even met the first one to have his spinal lesion repaired in utero at Vandy! We made new friends and learned a lot from each other. We joined the NICU picnic on Saturday afternoon and really enjoyed our auction dinner later that night (after getting lost for over an hour). We only wished that we would have had more time to share with all the other families. They say that time flies when you are having fun, and that is particularly true when you also have kids.
By Sunday night most families had left the hotel and we were packing to leave the next day. Suddenly, Angeline started running a fever and we ended up taking her to the ER at Vanderbilt University Hospital. The day was Sunday, September 10. Angeline was diagnosed with a shunt infection. The culprit was MRSA, a nasty bacteria resistant to most antibiotics. After a month in the hospital, four surgeries, and two shunt revisions, Angeline came back home on October 16. Her mom stayed at her side throughout this whole ordeal, while dad went back to work after the first two weeks of hospitalization and commuted back and forth from then on.
The whole experience was very stressful for all those involved. Our faith in the Lord and our confidence on the medical staff at Vanderbilt brought us immeasurable comfort and peace. Angeline proved once more how strong and life-loving she is. She kept moving forward in her developmental growth, even learning to smile while at the hospital. All the doctors, nurses, patient care assistant, and staff at Vandy were very helpful during our "stay" with them. Dr. Tulipan, who originally repaired Angeline's back in utero, was the neurosurgeon in charge of her treatment, and Dr. Aaronson, his assistant surgeon, was the most dedicated pediatric neurosurgeon we had ever seen. Delia, Dr. Tulipan's nurse assistant, took care of us and went out of her way like none else. Even one of the nurses, Amy, came on her day off to baby sit for us so that Emily and I could go out to dinner. The love and care that we felt while in Vandy defies description. We are very grateful to all of them.
While in Nashville we were blest by the generosity of the Ronald McDonald House Foundation. They offered us food, shelter and support. You could feel the spirit of the Lord working through everyone there. You never realize how needed these charitable institutions are until you need them. Please feel free to support their good work.
We want also to greatly thank the Baudhuin Family at Nova Southeastern University, who out of their hearts put up a collection and paid daddy's way back to Nashville to "bring Angeline and Emily back home." We are also very thankful to all our family and friends who have been always there for us . And above all we want to thank the Lord, our God who is our guide and strength, and who kept telling us "do not be afraid, only believe."
Today Angeline is over four months old and she is home resting with her mommy and daddy. She is the most precious thing that we have seen in our whole lives. God bless her!