Baby Charlie Dunaway | CaringBridge

Baby Charlie Dunaway

First post: Dec 19, 2017 Latest post: Aug 19, 2018
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Charles “Charlie” Christopher Dunaway was born on Dec. 6, 2017, at 3:43 a.m. at Ochsner Baptist Medical Center in New Orleans, LA. Charlie weighed in at 5-pounds and 3-ounces and was 18.3 inches long. He is named in honor of his late grandfather, Charles “Chiggy” Rhodes, who passed away prior to my wife, Aimee’s, birth in 1976.
Charlie was diagnosed with a pair of heart defects, including a rare congenital heart defect called truncus arteriosus and a ventricular septal defect. The latter is simply a hole in the ventricular septum, or the muscle wall separating the heart’s bottom pumping chambers. The other, truncus arteriosus, occurs when the two large arteries leaving the heart (the aorta and the pulmonary artery) are combined into one large vessel.
The good news is both of these serious heart defects were correctable, but open-heart surgery was necessary. Both defects were repaired during the same surgery.

Charlie began his journey in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Ochsner Baptist before he was transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Ochsner Medical Center. He stayed for two days before being shipped right back to Ochsner Baptist, where he was to remain until he gained exactly one pound. Sounds easy, right?

After two days, Charlie faced a minor setback with his heart performance and was immediately transported to Ochsner’s Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU). Our doctor advised us to transfer to a different facility, as Ochsner wasn’t equipped with the necessary expertise. We chose Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) in Houston, Texas, because of their top-ranked congenital heart surgery program and expertise with Charlie’s conditions. We also had several friends and family members in the area.

On the evening of Dec. 21, the TCH Kangaroo Care Team flew to New Orleans on their private jet to collect Charlie.  The three-member team burst through the hospital doors at Ochsner at 10:30 p.m., prepared Charlie for his trip, departed at midnight and landed in Houston at 2 a.m. We were in contact with doctors and nurses from Texas Children’s throughout the day. They are very good communicators, and they have damn good doctors.

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