On October 14, 2023, a precious baby girl was eager to enter this world. Callie Rae Tweten was in a rush to celebrate her big brother Tade’s birthday on October 15, with her mom and dad, Tyler and Nicole (Baumler) Tweten.
Nicole was eager to share Callie’s birth story as it was a memorable adventure, explaining that before her due date, Callie started coming fast. The young couple headed from their home south of Canton, Minn., (over the Iowa border in Winneshiek County) to deliver in La Crosse, Wis., as planned. Just outside of Spring Grove, Minn., Nicole’s contractions were just 2 ½ minutes apart. The couple called for an ambulance and met it in Caledonia. They quickly headed toward La Crosse. A mere 10 minutes after arriving in La Crosse, baby Callie arrived.
The couple did not have a name picked out for their feisty little girl, but it didn’t take long for her daddy to come up with the perfect name for his little girl – Callie. He named his daughter after Caledonia, in honor of the Caledonia Ambulance Department, who delivered mom and baby safely to La Crosse.
On January 14, Callie celebrated her three-month birthday at the University of Wisconsin Children’s Hospital in Madison, where she has been since November 12.
Callie was first admitted into the Gundersen Hospital in La Crosse on Tuesday, November 7, after a blood draw in Decorah, Iowa, showed that Callie’s platelet levels were dangerously low. Doctors in La Crosse worked tirelessly to get Callie’s platelets up, but nothing worked. After an ultrasound at Gundersen showed evidence of a brain bleed, Callie was transferred to Madison, with doctors noting that it was not an emergency but was urgent. Doctors expect Callie to be there for some time.
On a daily basis, baby Callie has undergone a battery of tests and invasive procedures, including platelet transfusions, a breathing tube, blood draws, echocardiograms, MRI, chest x-rays, ultrasounds, steroid treatment, as well as regular appointments with occupational and physical therapists. As expected, she is also on a lot of different medications.
In the family’s online Caring Bridge journal, Nicole shared, “There have been lots of discussions about Callie all over the country. I know the doctors have reached out to colleagues of theirs at Stanford, Cornell (New York), Vanderbilt, Washington, a retired doctor from Los Angeles, and the head laboratory directors at Versiti in Milwaukee and lab director at Cincinnati. (These are just the ones I know of.) Her story was also posted on a hematology forum board.”
The Red Cross has played a major role in Callie’s health journey. Nicole has been donating her platelets to Callie, and the Red Cross has been very accommodating, making sure that the hospital gets the platelets immediately.
The family is also very thankful for the Ronald McDonald House which provides a home-like environment for families with sick children. A family member is always in the room with Callie at the hospital. When big brother Tade comes to visit, the family stays at the Ronald McDonald House. Over the holidays, the family spent seven days together in Madison. Nicole shared, “The Ronald McDonald House offered a lot for Tade to do during the stay at Ronald McDonald House.”
Nicole described their journey as “a puzzle with no clear path.”
A GoFundMe account to assist the family, Callie’s Corner, has been set up by Brooke Courtney. The account has surpassed its goal of $2,000 by $4,935. Donations are still being accepted.
If people prefer to donate in person or by mail, an account in Callie’s name has been set up at Viking State Bank in Decorah, Iowa.
On Saturday, February 3, 2024, there will be a benefit at the Mabel Community Center for Callie and her family. The day starts with an ATV/UTV ride. Vehicles are allowed if you do not have an ATV/UTV. Pre-registration is from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the community center. With a $25 fee per unit, riders will leave the community center at noon. If you have questions, contact Scott Fairchild at (515) 291-6708.
At 5 p.m., there is a freewill donation meal. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the menu of soups, sandwiches and bars.
The silent auction begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends at 8 p.m. The live auction starts at 7 p.m. Donations for the auctions are still being accepted. Organizers said that there will not be a raffle.
Items on the auction block include a gun, kayak, Blackstone grill, and bicycle plus much more. Donations are still being accepted for the silent and live auction. To donate, contact Christine Tweten at (507) 450-5586 or Chelsey Tweten at (563) 419-0632.
Nicole said, “Northeast Iowa and Southeast Minnesota have been very generous and very supportive.” The young couple thanks everyone for their prayers.
Follow Callie’s story at www.caringbridge.org/visit/callietweten. Thank you for being in #CalliesCorner.