The day we have long awaited has finally come, and it went better than we ever could have imagined.
This morning we arrived at the hospital bright and early at 6am to get checked in and ready for surgery. By 7:30 all the paperwork and pre-surgery discussion was done, judah had been given his first dose of the silly juice (versed) and they were ready to take him back to the operating room. Mommy and daddy gave judah our kisses goodbye, wished strength to our surgical team, and at 8am we sat down to wait.
Surgery was expected to take about 5+ hours, and in the end it took every bit of it – but when it was over we were met with an incredible surprise. Once the surgical team opened Judah’s airway up and got inside to look, they were able to see a story the prior pictures and scopes couldn’t fully tell. They saw the old reconstruction attempt that had failed, along with a lot of scar tissue causing the near complete closure of Judah’s airway. But what they didn’t see were narrowing and closures in other areas of concern, and the swallow study yesterday showed good signs of function and no aspirating. The surgeons determined that Judah was strong enough, and with a repair today would be a good candidate for a single stage repair, and a removal of his trach tube.
So just like that the doctors cleared out the scar tissue, took and implanted a piece of cartilage from his rib to create a new graft, and removed Judah’s trach! Since Judah was just two months old that trach has been his airway, his only method of breath. We’re still in a bit of shock that it’s gone.
The plan now will be to keep Judah comfortable and completely sedated in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit for a week to 10 days or more, giving him time to heal and rest while a breathing tube Running down his nose and into his trachea helps to not only breathe for him, but also keep his newly reconstructed airway open while it heals into place. After that time they will replace this breathing tube with a slightly narrower one, allowing some space around it for Judah to breath. The next day they will try to remove the tube completely and let him breath on his own. If that goes well, Judah will move out of the CICU to the general Airway recovery floor, where they will watch him for any signs of respiratory distress for another week to 10 days. If he seems to be doing well, then we will discuss next steps while staying local in Cincinnati and Judah will have a few more scopes to see how he is healing.
The next few days and weeks will bring a lot of healing and rest, but also some of the biggest challenges for Judah as he works to finally breath on his own, without any assistance from a trach tube or ventilator. We pray that he gets the healing rest he needs, and takes as long as it takes to grow strong and get healthy again.
Tonight we leave him in the incredibly skilled hands of the doctors and nurses at Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati, while we try to get a little bit of rest ourselves. For now this wonderful surprise has been an amazing birthday gift for mommy, but the road ahead is long. We truly and deeply appreciate and love the kindness and support all of you have shown us, and thank you for you love, thoughts, prayers, gifts, and healing strength.
All our love,