The Family

The Family
For Christmas 2010

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Anxiety, Relief, Shock

At some point during our wait, we were informed that following the repair of Nathan's tricuspid valve and the patching of the VSD, it was highly likely that Nathan would need to go back on ECMO.

That news only served to add to our anxiety.  Would the doctor be able to fix the valve?  Would the patch work?  And now, Would Nathan have to go back on ECMO?  Knowing that the odds of surviving two turns on ECMO are relatively low, the burden on our shoulders seemed nearly unbearable.

It is tradition in the Waiting Room for someone to either call and let you know that your child's surgery is finished and to call you back to the Post-Op, or for the surgeon to come out and explain how the surgery went.

Finally, after a few hours, the phone rang for us.  It was decided that I should take the call.  I approached the desk and with my nerves all tied in knots said as calmly and bravely as I could, "This is Nathan's dad."

The lady on the other end informed me that the surgery was now over and that Nathan would NOT be needing to go back on ECMO.  My legs nearly collapsed with relief and joy.  She also said that Dr. Hawkins was just finishing closing Nathan's incision site and that he would be in to see us shortly.

Within a half an hour, Dr. Hawkins entered the Waiting Room, walked quickly over to us, sat down, and placed a piece of cloth with a hole cut out of it on the table in front of us.

The first words in my head were the first words out of my mouth: "What's that?"

What it was was the synthetic material that the doctor had cut the patch from.  The hole was the piece that had been cut out to form the patch.  We stared in awe at how relatively big the hole was--almost the size of a dime (you can see the cloth and hole with a dime in the copy above).

Now a dime is not very big.  But when you look at the hole, think about a little baby, less than two months old, and how BIG that hole is in comparison to their heart, which is probably smaller than most strawberries you can buy.

Hopefully now you can see how shocking the moment was.

In addition, Dr. Hawkins told us that he was able to repair Nathan's tricuspid valve using technique's and procedures that he basically invented as he went along.  (We later learned that Bekah's mother had been specifically praying for the surgeon to be creative if so needed, for which we were very grateful she thought to do that!).

He then told us that Nathan would be being moved back to the PICU so that he would have the care needed while recovering from surgery.

1 comment:

  1. We found out on December 7th of this year that one of our girl twins (whom we have named Allisyn) has CDH. I am about 25 weeks along, and it was discovered at the regular 19 week ultrasound. I would love to contact you and talk about your experiences. Allisyn and her twin sister Kathryn, make kids #6 & #7 for our family. Feel free to email us at God bless you and your little son!!!