Here we are, unaware anything is wrong with our child...
The next day we took her to the doctor who gave us some scenarios but hoped it could be taken care of by antibiotics. It wasn't.
After the doctor we took her to her first movie, moana.
That bought us an ultrasound, which we squeezed in the morning of her two year photos.
Waiting for an ultrasound in an heirloom bubble. She kept hollering to people in the waiting room "hey old yady, nemo!" It was a good time...
Then we saw a friend who is an ent and he confirmed that it was a thyroglossal duct cyst. Apparently when your tongue, thirst, thyroid forms it can mess up and leave a pocket and that pocket can get filled with gross stuff when you get sick (she had three colds, the stomach bug, and hand foot and mouth in the fall so that didn't help). It wasn't life threatening but it would continue to grow and could end up affecting her speech, swallowing, and breathing. Basically it had to come out. I was so relieved that it wasn't anything deadly that I didn't really worry too much about surgery. He did say that she would have to stay overnight after the procedure so I decided to take her to children's hospital in Birmingham for the procedure, so she would be as comfortable as possible. That meant a visit to a new ent.
Enjoying the fun moving chair.
Getting yet another ultrasound.
The doctor confirmed what we already knew and had us schedule surgery. We chose the Friday before her spring break so she would have a whole week at home to recover. In the mean time we kept busy to keep from thinking about the surgery (Disney, Colorado, Chicago, birthday party--that did the trick).
We had to be at the hospital at 630 the morning of the surgery. C couldn't eat or drink after midnight and wasn't happy about that so thankfully we were taken to a pre op room fairly quickly. We spoke to several doctors and nurses about what to expect while we waited.
Finally, the time came to hand her over. This was the part I was dreading the most. She had had no medicine and was wide awake for this and I didn't want her to be scared or cry. We got to carry her to the "bubble wall", which is a whallnfull of water and bubbles. She watched that for a while and then the doctor said "ok sweetie let's go get some bubbles and stickers" and she just let him take her. I was so so relieved--no tears on her end meant none on mine. The worst was over, in my opinion, and we just had to wait. It seemed like ages before they called us to say she was out and doing great. The doctor told us the cyst was actually larger than he thought and it was wrapped around the hyoid bone. The surgery took longer than we were told, I assume for this reason, and that made me a little crazy (it lasted over an hour). Then we had to wait until she was released from recovery too see her--more agony! When they finally said we could go get her we were about to jump out of our skin. She was asleep on her recovery nurse and I got to carry her to her room. She stayed asleep on me for a while before fully waking up.
She was not happy, and it was so hard to see her that way. She cried and cried and just wanted to be held. She refused all food and drink, even the doughnuts Stevie brought for her. I spent a lot of time laying with her in the hospital crib because she wouldn't let me leave her side for a second. She had no idea where she was or what was going on and I'm sure she was in pain. Luckily she fell asleep again.
When she woke up she was a hanged baby. She drank her whole juice cup, which meant she could get the iv taken out. She got to eat popsicles and watch Disney movies.
She ate French fries and spaghetti for dinner as well as a cookie and some cake. My parents came to visit and she went on a walk with my mom in the hallway. It was so great to see her back to her old self so quickly.
We spent the night in the hospital but thankfully the doctor gave her the all clear fairly early (after pulling her drain out) and we were discharged. C was so happy to go home!
We can't thank the doctors, nurses, and friends who helped us navigate this process. We are blessed beyond measure! Thank you to all of you who have check in on her and us--she is great and bounced back like a champ! She will point to her incision (in the crease between her neck and chin) and say "big girl". I think she is quite proud of herself. Please pray for all those children who did not get to go home the next day; who didn't just have a weird cyst that needed to be taken out. So many precious babies are struggling with diseases and injuries that far and above surpass this little hiccup Charlotte had and they and their parents need our prayers!!