Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Surgery Day...

Monday, September 2, we arrive at the hospital at 7:30am... Philz Coffee in our hands and big smiles on our faces! We're always eager to see our baby girl! She's sleeping peacefully while her nurses are busy checking her vitals and getting ready to move her and her equipment down to the operating room a few floors down. 

The first to talk to us are the anesthesiologists. They go over in detail about the preparation that's needed before and after surgery. The whole set up for surgery and the post-op process seem to take longer than the actual surgery. Setting up the equipment that's needed and determining what's needed after surgery in terms of meds and other drugs is a gradual process, but they mention that Maia looks good, so they expect her to do just fine!

Next thing we know, we are taking the slow walk with Maia down to the operating room. It kind of felt like we were in a parade walking down the halls! We gave her kisses and "see you laters!" and a short pep talk about being strong before the nurse walked us back up to her room. The nurse went over with us about what she will look like and what to expect after she gets back from surgery. We already knew what to expect after seeing pics of other babies, so we knew about all the tubes and wires and that she would most likely be swollen. So for us it really wasn't that scary.

A few minutes later, we meet the surgeon, Dr. Gordon Cohen. He was very friendly and thorough about discussing the surgery, detailing each step. This Norwood procedure that Maia is having today is the first of the 3-stage surgeries. The next surgery, called the Glenn, will be sometime around 4-6 months, depending on her weight. The following surgery (and hopefully the final one) is the Fontan, which is usually done between 3-5 years old. Although they are transforming her heart, they do not actually go into the heart itself... they rearrange the plumbing that surrounds the heart instead. He explained they will cool down her body and put her on a heart/lung bypass machine, so they can operate without blood flowing through her heart and blood vessels. When the surgery is complete, they will decide whether or not to close her chest, depending on things like swelling and blood pressure. We asked what time might the surgery be done, since we've been getting different answers from everybody! Surgery prep started after 8am so he said around 4pm they should have an update for us. He said to think of it like a baseball game... each game has 9 innings to complete, but the actual length of each game varies. He expects no complications since Maia is in great condition, good health and at a good weight. 

So after thinking about what to do while we wait, we decide to have breakfast at a nearby restaurant called Zazie. We saw it on Yelp and it was highly recommended by the nurses. They had holiday hours and didn't open until 9am so we waited outside for a little bit, along with a growing crowd of people... good sign, as Gordon says. Breakfast was really really good! We'll probably be back there sometime soon! From there we decided to try and go shopping for some things we needed, like a new laundry basket and a lamp. So we go to Tanforan. It's been years since we've been here and it was weird! We didn't find anything so we left. The next thing we knew, we were back home. The nurse suggested we take advantage of this time and get as much sleep as possible... so that's what I did, I took a nice long nap! Gordon decided to work on the car instead. At around 3pm, I decided to call the hospital and check to see if there was any news. They said they tried paging and calling us a little earlier but got no response. For some reason they had Gordon's number, but he never carries his phone, especially if we're together. We weren't sure how they even got his number! Anyway, she said about another hour and they should be wheeling Maia back to her room. So we decided to head over to the hospital, anxious to see our baby girl!

We arrive at the hospital and they're still setting up her equipment in her room, so we wait in the family lounge. After about 20 minutes, the anesthesiologists come in to talk to us with good news... Then the surgeon, Dr. Cohen talks to us and he's very happy how everything went. Maia did really well and the surgery itself was a success. They did have to leave her chest open and will most likely close it in the next few days. It turns out everyone had been searching around the hospital for us since they couldn't get a hold of us! So after waiting for about another 30 minutes, the nurse calls us in to Maia's room... our first glimpse of her and we were pleasantly surprised! She looked really good and hardly swollen. To cover up her open chest, there was a thin piece of material stitched to her skin, which was then covered with a tape-like plastic covering soaked in antibiotics. Although the material isn't clear, you can actually see her heart beating against it! It was kind of freaky to look at, but I couldn't stop looking at it!! She was sleeping of course so she just lay there peacefully, nice and relaxed. They don't expect her to wake up until sometime tomorrow and the longer she sleeps, the better because she needs to rest as much as she can. So after making sure she was good for the night, we leave her with her nurses... these nurses are very good, so we know she's in good hands.

We're back the next day, along with Marcus, to see how Maia is recovering. We go to her bedside and she still looks out of it... until she hears our voices!! She starts opening her eyes and starts to move around, but her heart rate goes up, so we kind of felt bad. Gordon and Marcus sit down and leave me alone at the bedside. She tries really hard again to open her eyes! I feel like I might be a distraction, so I stand at the other side of the bed where she can't see me and just rub that beautiful head of hair, hoping she'd go back to sleep. She's getting more fluids and is on pain meds, so she's looking a little more puffy today. They expect her to be at her puffiest the next day, before the swelling starts to go down. For now, we're happy she looks good. We are worried that the more she wakes up, she'll probably feel the pain more because she's always trying to move around, which is not always a good thing, considering she now has more tubes connected to her and her chest is still open. Plus, she has her favorite breathing tube back in her mouth! So we're sure she's hating it already! But she's recovering nicely, taking all the necessary baby steps toward recovery. I didn't want to post any post-op pics since it may be a bit disturbing for some people if you don't know what to expect... but I decided to just go ahead and put up pics for those that are curious. So for those that have never seen a baby come out of open heart surgery at 4 days old, here is your chance... I think you'll be ok!

Maia after her first open heart surgery

A close up of Maia's (open) chest
A sign for Maia's hospital bed (By Marcus)


  1. Thank you for sharing. I am constantly praying for baby Maia. We love you all. Let us know when we can come and see that little beauty!

  2. sorry, ^^^ that's me- Danita

  3. You are truly blessed. You are precious to the Lord. Love & Prayers. Aunt Noni

    1. Awe, what a beauty she is, and a fighter!!! So glad she is doing well mama!

  4. Love and prayers!!!

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