We made our way to the PICU to be with Nathan before they took him into the OR. Since we had really only ever spent our time in the hospital in the NICU, we had more than a little trouble finding where the PICU was. Fortunately, we were paged by the hospital operator who was able to give us directions when I called her back.
We soon found Nathan's room at the far end of the PICU. They were getting ready to transport him to the OR. He looked so awful. Pale. Fragile. Broken. Motionless. Our sweet little boy......
Seeing him was excruciating. Not being able to do anything about it was torture.
Fortunately, we didn't have to wait very long before they started moving Nathan to the OR. We took the short but long walk from the PICU to the OR with them, doing the best we could to hold back tears.
And then it happened.
Sometimes, when things are the most dark, when you are the most down, when everything looks the most bleak, God shines a ray of hope down to your soul, a "tender mercy" to let you know that he is still there and still watching over you.
As we approached the door to the OR, Nathan opened his eyes and looked at us. My eyes filled up with tears.
"You stay with us, Son! You stay with us!" I yelled to Nathan as they wheeled him through the doors and directed us to the waiting room.
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Thursday, December 3, 2009
The waiting room near the Cath Lab was small and not very comfortable for an early morning, two-plus hour wait. Since we had the pager, we decided to find a more comfortable place to hunker down. So we settled in on a couch near the main lobby.
Bekah had brought a book along to help her pass the time. Since it was still early and since the gnawing feeling in my gut that this was a bad decision still hadn't gone away, I decided to try and get some sleep.
I laid on the couch and kept the pager right next to my head. I wanted to make sure that I heard the buzzer as soon as it went off. As tired as I was, I was unable to sleep very well with all the worry and angst I was feeling.
Listless naps, book reading, walks, and checking emails seemed to do little to make time pass quickly. Every minute we had to wait seemed like an hour and every hour seemed like a day. Every so often I would offer up a quick prayer and hope that Nathan was doing okay.
As we passed two hours waiting, the knot in my stomach continued to grow. I tried to have have faith that everything was going to be alright, but the doubt I was feeling was doing a number on me.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, the buzzer went off. We headed back to the Cath Lab waiting to see our boy.
But we were met with the nearly the worst possible news we could ever even imagine instead.
The doctor apologized and informed us that the procedure had not gone as expected. Just as they had gotten the wire threaded through Nathan's heart, his blood pressure dropped dramatically. That meant that they had to immediately stop the procedure and work as quickly as possible to remove the wire from Nathan's body.
Unfortunately, in their haste, they accidentally cut Nathan's right tricuspid valve, nearly severing it completely. Our hearts absolutely sank at that news. He then informed us that Nathan was on his way up to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unite (PICU) and would soon be on his way to the Operating Room for immediate open heart surgery to try and repair the valve as well as patch the VSD.
As the doctor kept apologizing for how things went, the only thought that kept running through my mind was that I knew something was going to go wrong. I felt it and now it had. Only it was worse than I could have ever imagined.
Fortunately, Dr. John A. Hawkins, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Primary Children's was available to operate on Nathan. We were informed that he was the best around and that if anyone was able to fix Nathan's valve, it would be him.
Both of us were stunned, shocked, and completely saddened by everything that we had just been told. It was like all of our worst nightmare's coming true all at the same time.