Thank you all for your incredible outpouring of support, thoughts and prayers today – they surely helped us get through this long and difficult day filled with uncertainty. Judah’s 2nd open heart surgery is now complete. Although it took longer than expected, and once the doctors got Judah opened up they found and fixed some other problems, but overall surgery went well and the team is happy with how it went. Now begins another long road to recovery, but we hope one of the last big steps to getting Judah healthy and ready to go home.
Our day started at about 3:30am, we prepared ourselves and went over to the Children’s Home to get Judah ready and meet the transport team. We packed up the last of our belongings and got Judah all set for travel back to Children’s Hospital. We arrived at the hospital at about 6am, and the PACU team took over prepping him for surgery. They placed IV lines, drew blood, and let us have our last little bit of time to kiss him and cuddle with him and tell him to be strong. Over the weekend the surgical team ended up adding a patient to the schedule before us, a case that they didn’t expect would take too long, so instead of getting in around 7am, Judah finally got in for surgery closer to 9am, which gave us precious few extra minutes for more kisses and cuddles, and one last chance for Judah to pee on mommy. At 8:55am they took Judah (and Yoda) back for anesthesia.
The next several hours were spent waiting and worrying. Every few hours a nurse would come out and give us a very brief update. We were told around 11am that the doctors had made the first incision just an hour earlier at 10. Around 12:30pm we were told the repair was going smoothly and Judah was stable. Closer to 2pm we received another update that work was still going smoothly, and they were getting ready to begin work on implanting the pacemaker. Our final update came at about 3pm, when the surgeon himself came out and said the major procedures were completed, and now they were just performing some final tests, taking him off of the heart/lung bypass machines, and closing him up, and we would be able to see him in about an hour or two.
When the surgeon came out to talk to us, it was obvious that this had been a tough surgical case, but he still spoke with calm and confidence. He told us that Judah’s heart was an especially difficult repair, and said to us “Judah really kicked my ass back there”. The surgery had ended up taking close to 7 hours, when he had expected it to take closer to 3 or 4. Once the doctors got in there, they repaired all of the major issues they had wanted to, the conduit and valve replacement, patching of the ASD, opening and patching the pulmonary artery, the atrial maze procedure and implanting a pacemaker. Once they got in there, they also noticed an issue with Judah’s carotid artery not pointing to the correct chamber in his heart, and they capped and fixed this issue as well.
While the surgical portion is now complete, the first 24 hours after surgery are generally regarded as the most critical. It is now that Judah will require the most monitoring and care, and as we got to go back and see him tonight after it was all finished, there was still a flurry of doctors and nurses coming in and out to check on him. He will remain sedated for up to several days, giving his heart time to regain strength and his body time to adjust to the new parts and pieces inside. The next few days will be difficult for all of us, but we know that this repair, and this recovery is just a step towards a healthier baby, and a major step to Judah finally being healthy enough to come home. This recovery could take several weeks, and only time will tell how Judah responds and what is to come next.
Our most sincere thanks to everyone who prayed, posted online, called, texted, and emailed in support not only of Judah, but also mommy’s birthday today. Though this might not have been one of mommy’s favorite birthdays, it will probably be her most memorable. We are in such awe of our loving family and friends, and even though we did not want to have any kind of birthday celebration, your thoughts and prayers helped to keep us strong. Again, our thanks, and our love to all of you during this long and difficult day, we could not have made it through without your strength and love.
As Judah begins and continues his recovery, we will be sure to keep everyone updated on his progress. Thank you for all of your support and love, and for standing by us and our brave little Judah bear.