Thursday, June 5, 2008

Nathan's Open Heart Surgery Part 1

Jake and I woke up at 3:45 a.m. to get ready to take Nathan to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City. Neither one of us slept well last night and as we sit in the surgical waiting area right now we are soooooo tired! I woke Nathan up at 4:30 to quickly change his diaper and put him in his car seat so we could drive to the hospital. He was all smiles when I woke him. He was even cooing at Jake & I. It broke my heart to know that he'll be back on a ventilator tonight helping him breathe.

After we got to the hospital, Jake & I met with Dr. John Hawkins, the heart surgeon. He explained to us again in Laman terms what Tetralogy of Fallot entailed and what he was going to do to correct it. He was happy to see that Nathan's pulmonary stenosis is measuring 8mm. An average healthy child's measures 10mm. He said fixing that valve was actually the more difficult part of the surgery rather than patching the ventricular septal defect. He said that he would be checking in with us every couple of hours or so to let us know how Nathan's progress during the surgery was going. It is likely that due to the pulmonary stenosis there is a 20 - 30% chance Nathan with need a valve replacement in his lifetime. It could be 15 years down the road or 55 years down the road. Dr. Hawkins also explained the increased risk of infection at the chest scar site since Nathan has a G-tube in his stomach.

We were taken to the pre operation area to wait for the anesthesiologist. While waiting I spoke with another mom who's little girl is also having open heart surgery. Megan is 8 months old and weighs 3 lbs more than Nathan. This little girl has both an ASD and a VSD meaning there are two holes in her heart. She had a NG tube and Down's Syndrome. She will likely be getting a G-tube like Nathan since she has also developed an oral aversion. I felt slightly guilty for requesting Dr. Hawkins, the head heart surgeon, since this other little girl wouldn't be able to have him too. The anesthesiologist came and talked to us about what the surgery from his standpoint would be like for Nathan. Jake jokingly asked him if he was going to talk on his cell phone to his wife about the deer in his backyard while Nathan was in the OR like the anesthesiologist who was there at my c-section when Nathan was born. He said no, that he hadn't seen any deer in his backyard lately. He promised that he would pretty much only be talking to the perfusionist who runs the heart and lung bypass machine and Dr. Hawkins.

These are pictures that were taken at the hospital before Nathan was taken to the operating room. He was in such a happy mood and was kicking his legs all over the place. While Dr. Hawkins was talking to us, Nathan fell back asleep. Apparently to Nathan, Dr. Hawkins was a pretty boring guy!

A quick note about the name of John Hawkins - people with this name have had a powerful influence over our lives. John Hawkins was Jake's & my band teacher in high school who put us together to march into field shows. That's how Jake & I met and started liking each other. Now a different John Hawkins is repairing our little boy's heart.

More updates and pictures to come........


Janice & Don said...

Thanks for posting the info- it does make me feel better that John Hawkins is doing the surgery. As weird as it seems, it makes me feel a little more secure. Keep the updates coming!

Mom & Dad Ellinger said...

Jake told me to read your blog to know what is going on with Nathan. I appreciate everything that you have written and it will be a great history for him later in his life. Perhaps his "good mood" was because he knew that this surgery would help him to feel better in the long run. It is difficult though to watch him and know what had to be done. I feel good about the operation and know that it will be a success. He has so much good to do in this world. He is soooooo special.

Christina said...

Please know that I am praying for your family today. Nathan is in great hands with Dr. Hawkins.

sending hugs & prayers your way,
Christina Davis
Jacob's momma from IHH

Dan & Calli Ellinger said...

What sweet pictures! I am glad that you are keeping us all updated on how baby Nathan is doing. We will keep him in our prayers, best wishes!!!