This was Claire one year ago May 5th. She had just been through major abdominal surgery. This picture is probably an hour or two after she had surgery. The surgeons removed 75-85% of her liver, removed her gall bladder, removed her appendix, and repaired 2 inguinal hernias in her groin. Claire was only 7 months old. This was Claire's 3rd major surgery. Some days it seems as thought it has been forever since this picture. Other days, I remember it like it was yesterday. Even looking at this picture now, it's hard for me to grasp that this really happened and that this is our baby girl.
Fast forward 1 year. We found ourselves right back at Duke Hospital exactly 1 year later. Except this time we were there for "fun" and not surgery or doctor's appointments. We went up to Duke to do some visiting and to attend the annual NICU reunion. First we found the fish tank on 5th floor on the way to visit Ryland. Claire liked the fish! And the chicken painted on the window behind me.
We headed down to Ryland's room and busted him and his momma out! I unfortunately know how small those 4 walls can be in those rooms and Robin was looking for a good reason to get out. So we walked back down to the fish tank to take some pictures and catch up. I wasn't sure how long Claire would last so we tried to get pictures right off the bat. As you can see, Claire was not interested in pictures. She wanted to just run around.
Here is a cute of on Claire looking on at her cousin Ryland. She (and we) is so proud of him. I think she whispered to him a few heart baby secrets... We talked about how much of a miracle child Ryland is. Ninety percent of children with interrupted aorta like he had die by 4 days of age. He was 11 days old when they found his. And it was all due to his momma's instinct that something wasn't right. If she would have waiting even 2 more minutes, things may have been a lot different.
It was great visiting with them again. We are praying Ryland can come home soon. Then maybe we can have some fun play dates!
We then headed down to the reunion. Claire kept running out of the door outside. So she found some older kids playing basketball on "Coach K's Court" by CHC. I think she would have been content playing out here all day.
Here are our best attempts to get a picture of the "roomies": Heather, Eliza, me, Claire, Remi, and Christin. These girls started out together in the NICU and will be forever friends. It's so crazy to see how big they are now! My heart gets so big looking at these miracle babies. They make me proud!
See how Claire is a blur? Basically that is how she looked the whole time. Non-stop running around CHC. We were worn slam out chasing after her. I was supposed to work the Album of Hope table and I never got to do it. I had even brought stuff to make a page for Claire and had to bring it back home. Maybe I can make a page and take it in at a later date.... I really wanted to add her page to the albums.
We met up quickly with Nurse Marie but didn't get a picture. She was working the registration desk. We did get a chance to sit down and visit with Nurse Susannah a little bit. She is getting married in a few months so we had to get the skinny on the new guy.....
Nurse Charity was working in the NICU but took a few minutes to run down and visit. It was good to see her too as we haven't seen her since we left the NICU. Nurse Charity always said Claire woke up with her hair on fire in the NICU. She really liked her hair today!
Unfortunately, we were unable to meet up with Dr. Rachel. She was working the NICU and we were getting ready to meet up when Claire fell and scraped her knee pretty bad (see bandaid below). So it was time for us to hit the road. We were so disappointed. :( But we are going to be sure we catch up with her on one of our upcoming appointments.
I had also planned to visit Caroline and her family, but that didn't work out either. I really wanted to at least say hello and hug her neck. But Claire dictated that it was time to go.
We did get to take a pit stop at Aunt Julie and Uncle James' house and eat lunch with them and Aunt Amanda and Uncle Colby. It's nice to have family up there. We hit the road before the storm hit and Claire really enjoyed watching Elmo on her DVD player. She got a good nap too on the way home!
The Scott Family