(Warning, before you proceed, please know that we do post pictures below of Reese after surgery. We’ve always thought of this blog as a way to help other parents who someday might go through something like this. Nothing can prepare you for seeing your child in this condition, but we feel this blog must be as transparent as possible in order to portray the most realistic journey we’re taking. Thanks)
Today was “The day of days” for us. We were told this day would happen back in May. Due to many different setbacks, it’s been postponed 2 different times but we finally got this heart surgery done. People have asked me many times the last few weeks how I was doing and how Elizabeth was doing. I think both of us just wanted to get it over with. I wasn’t nervous until they finally came to take her back. Elizabeth hugged her and kissed her, then I picked her up, got my kisses and literally handed her over to the anesthesiologist. I don’t think Elizabeth saw me but I had tears in my eyes. Handing your daughter over to a complete stranger so they can cut her open, stop her heart and lungs so they can fix a hole….it’s almost just too much to handle.
The hole in Reese’s heart was almost a half inch long and her heart isn’t much bigger than that! Surgery was the only option and needed to be done sooner rather than later. They took her back a little before 1pm and we waited quite a while before receiving our first update. Prep for this type of surgery takes over an hour, so we weren’t told till almost 2:30pm that they had begun. Both of our families were with us and we had quite a few visitors stop by for support. In fact we had 4 different churches send either a minister or chaplain to pray and talk with us. God is good!
The first cardiologist came to see us around 3:45 and let us know that everything went great, in his words “It was an A+”. We’re a big fan of his, we’ve had him since her first hospital visit and he has great disposition and always puts us at ease. He’s the doctor who reads her EKG and signs off on each one before they start the surgery and the one after they’re done and about to close her up. We breathed a huge sigh of relief but waited for the official word until after her surgeon arrived. He came by just 15 minutes later and pronounced the surgery a successful one we all celebrated in our own quiet way. It was such a relief and I knew God had answered some serious prayers.
We now had to wait another 2 hours before we got to see her. They took her into the ICU where she’ll be for the next 24 to 48 hours and Elizabeth and I were finally allowed back. I had been told by another heart surgeon, that nothing can prepare you for what you see when you go back to the ICU. Our daughter has spent almost 6 weeks of her life in a hospital. We’ve seen almost anything they could throw at us as far as machines, cords, beeps, lights, etc. Then we walked into this.
As you can see, it wasn’t pretty. She’s a little fighter and by 8pm, that ventilator was out of her mouth! This was one of the bigger concern for doctors due to her chronic lung disease. We had been warned that she might have to have it in overnight or even longer than 24 hours. Instead, just 4 hours after her surgery, she had her eyes open and was breathing on her own. Praise the lord!
So now we spend the next 24 hours getting each and every line or wire running into her body removed one by one. If they all come off tomorrow and things are looking good, then we move into a regular room. If it takes a little while longer to remove each one, then it will be Friday before we’re out of the ICU. She will be here another 4 to 8 days depending on her recovery situation. Our main concern is avoiding infections and getting her pain down to a tolerable level.
For those who’ve asked, we welcome any and all visitors. We’ve learned from our past hospital visits to take it easy, take breaks, go home for rest and don’t wear ourselves out staying at the hospital 24/7. We have a great support system with our family and friends and will never able to thank you all enough for your help. Along with us, the grandmothers will sit with her and so will friends. Tonight is my night to stay with princess and Mommy pulls tomorrow night’s shift.
Once again we are so thankful for everyone’s amazing prayers, texts, phone calls, FB posts, tweets, and visits. Someone even managed to sneak in a Paul’s Fruit Market gift basket! That person knows who they are and we are so thankful. We of course will continure to update this blog, Facebook, and you can even find me on twitter for any up to the minute updates @unclekyle
We thank everyone but most of all we thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Without him, we wouldn’t even be able to understand why all of this has happened and how to handle it. If you don’t know Jesus, ask Elizabeth and I about him sometime. He loves you just as much as he loves our precious Reese. Accept him as your savior and your life will change forever.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17