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.”
The Vallieres returned to Rady on January 29. Charlotte was placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, or ECMO. Eventually, doctors diagnosed Charlotte with tracheal stenosis and complete tracheal rings, a birth defect in her airway that is characterized by abnormal rings in her trachea (or windpipe) and abnormal narrowing in the area. She also had blood vessels wrapped around her trachea.
Though Charlotte had a will to survive, her time in the hospital was not without its challenges. There were complications, multiple operations and treatments. The Vallieres said they were inspired by Charlotte.
“The thing that I think that I believe got us through was her. She never gave any sign of weakness,” Karla said.
Charlotte spent 185 days in the hospital before she was released. “It was just a lot of emotions and it was just a roller coaster. But now we have them together, so it’s worth it,” Karla added.