The dreaded Monday morning had finally arrived. We were all piled up in our bed when Lily realized what day it was and said, “I don’t want it to be heart surgy day.” I was experiencing an odd mix of emotions – anticipation of having the surgery behind us. Fear of the unknown. Would this be David’s last night with us in the comfort and safety of our home? Would we return home with our Sunshine? We packed up and headed out the door. We dropped Lily off at my sister’s house. Lily barely took the time to tell us goodbye. Uncle Joseph had built a really neat tent and that proved to be much more interesting to her. The Lord answered our prayers. We left Lily happy and playing.
When we arrived at LeBonheur we had a few hours of peace before the pre-operation activity began. David had to get a chest X-Ray (which was a hilarious experience), an IV for labs and then also for the fluid, steroids, and antibiotic they started later in the day. There was a little trouble with the IV. Dr. Knock-Craig only allows 2 sticks, so the charge nurse was very unhappy when she realized after 2 sticks there was still no IV. Dr. Knott-Craig did approve a third stick but only if anesthesiology performed the procedure. They brought up an ultrasound machine and the IV was placed in his foot. David was not too happy about all the sticking – I’m sure you can imagine. Fluids began at midnight, and steroids and antibiotics began at 3 am. I couldn’t feed David after midnight, so he was a little restless; but overall he did very well.
Family began to arrive at 5 am. We had an hour of family time with David then everyone cleared out so that Louis and I could be with David before we took him down for surgery. Louis and I prayed, cried, and held our Sunshine. It was a sweet, emotional time – a time where we both cried and begged God to me merciful. We prayed for peace and acceptance for His will in our lives. We prayed for the surgeon’s skill. We thanked the Lord for LeBonheur, Dr. Knott-Craig, and for this precious baby boy He had given to us.
They came to get David at 6:30am. Louis carried David, and we walked hand in hand down long halls and an elevator ride to the pre-operation holding room. They brought us warm blankets, and we waited for the anesthesiologist. The anesthesiologist was very kind, compassionate, and patient with this crying mama. He explained the procedure, the risk, and then they hand you the consent form. You have to sign it, but I hate those forms. A form that tells you all the risk, frees them from liability if something happens to your child, but you can’t not sign. David’s heart had to be fixed. The time was finally here. As my tears ran down my face and onto his forehead I kissed him and whispered my love. The anesthesiologist was waiting with warm blankets and promises that they were committed to taking care of David as if he was their child. We handed David over and watched as they took our little boy through two large doors – the doors closed, and I could no longer see my baby boy.
They called at 8:20 to tell us the incision had been made. At 9:20 they called to tell us that David went on bypass at 8:40, and that Dr. Knott-Craig was half way through the repair. At 9:50 we received another call that David was off of bypass, and they were closing the chest. A nurse came to get me and Louis, and we waited to see Dr. Knott-Craig. Dr. Knott-Craig came gliding (he glides more than walks) in swishing around coffee in a styrofoam cup, takes a look at my red, puffy face and says, “Why have you been crying?” I wanted to laugh (maybe I did). He told us the surgery was successful. David was in the beginning stages of heart failure, and he found 4 holes instead of 2. The right side of his heart was perfect and the left side might have a tiny leak but should correct itself with time.
We waited about 20 minutes before we could see David. I had been dreading this part. A few days before surgery I had stumbled upon a photo of a baby who had the same repair as David – IT WAS ALOT TO TAKE IN. I was so relieved to see him that I didn’t care about all the wires and tubes. Louis and I walked into the recovery room and there was our brave Sunshine. This little boy who has been through so much in his three months of life. There was a ventilator. 2 chest tube to drain fluid and blood. A sensor on his forehead to measure oxygen to his brain, another one on his back to measure the oxygen to his kidneys. There were seven medications going through either his central or arterial lines, and an IV in his foot.
We are 48 hours into recovery, and David is doing all the right things. We are down to 2 oral medications, the arterial line (which will come out this afternoon after labs), and oxygen (which will be discontinued tonight). His labs have been perfect and all his vitals are great. David is eating well and having dirty diapers. We’ve been able to hold him today, and I have crawled in the bed several times with him. We get nice and cozy and snuggle. We should be moved out of the CVICU tomorrow. We will spend a few days in a step-up room and then we should be discharged.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14
Oh, how true this verse is. I have learned so much during our NICU and CVICU stay. My knowledge is very limited compared to that of nurses and doctors, and I can not even begin to comprehend the mind and knowledge of our Almighty God who created all the intricate parts of our bodies. A God who has blessed men with knowledge to fix a tiny heart. A heart no larger than a small lime. God has given men the skill to stitch vessels and rebuild walls and valves of a heart. He has created our bodies with amazing healing abilities. I stand in complete awe of this God who has blessed beyond what I could ask or think.