If you missed any of the previous posts about Isabel’s birth you can check them out here:
- Isabel’s First Days
- A Stressful Trip To Denver
- Baby’s First New Year!
- The First Catheterization
- Leading Up To Surgery
I was a great distraction for us to have Addison still in town for Isabel’s surgery. We had lunch downstairs with her and Mamaw PJ before they headed back to Crested Butte. One of the nurses would come out and talk to us or give us a call every 45 minutes or so to let us know how things were going. She told us that the surgeon decided to go with a procedure where he used a cadaver artery as a conduit connecting the right ventricle to an area of the pulmonary artery that had some blood flow already. One of the rules they told us is “If it flows it grows”, so the goal was to provide more blood through her pulmonary artery in helping the artery grow. We received word that the surgery was a success and we would be able to go see Isabel in her room.
I am going to talk in detail about what Isabel looked like when we got back to her room and include some pictures as well. They are hard to look at and I completely understand if you don’t want to see a week old baby like that. I am including them because it is what we went through and is part of the experience. You will not offend me if you don’t continue reading.
When we got to her room she was on her bassinet and there was a nurse and doctor that were making sure everything was setup exactly right. She had a blanket over her and the nurse told us that we are welcome to move the blanket and sit around her but they didn’t want us to move her. We could touch her head and let her know that we were there but that was about it.
We removed the blanket and she had a 4 inch long bandage over the incision on her chest. She had 2 chest tubes for drainage coming out from below her ribs and 2 wires attached to an external pacemaker coming from just above where the tubes were. She was in 3rd degree heart block. This means that her heart would not beat normally and she was completely reliant on the pacemaker. The doctor told us that they were a concerned about it because they did not cut on the heart in any places where it would have cause the issue she as experiencing. They were going to keep a very close eye on it and normally little kids start to come out of the heart block a few hours or even a few days after. If it did not go back to normal after a week then they might have to replace the external pacemaker with an internal one.
We spent the next few hours making sure Isabel knew that we were there and watching the nurses and doctors. This surgery was the first of what will be many that she ultimately has in her life. I don’t know if I will ever get used to seeing my little girl like this but it is much better than any alternatives.