So I reliazed as I was posting my first blog entry that this past April was five years since Sydney had her heart surgery! There are so many things that I complain and whine about, but when I remember that she is alive, well and healthy that brings me back to how my life is blessed.
So for those of you who don't know the story here it is:
In late March 2004 I had to switch insurance companies and Syd's pediatrician at the time did not take our insurance. So we had to find a new pediatrician. That search led ud to Dr. Neil Russakoff. (let me background by saying that Sydney was born and diagnosed with a mitral valve murmer, but that was the extent of the diagnosis). On Syd's first visit Dr. Russakoff had asked me if Syd had ever had an echicariogram (ultrasound of the heart). She hadn't, and he suggested that she have one because he explained that her murmer sounded very harsh (loud and abnormal).
That led us to University Physician's Pediatric Cardiology department where we saw Dr. Daniella Lax (amaaaazing doctor). She tool her history and had an echo performed. Sydney was a champ through all the testing. While they were getting Sydney cleaned up (cold, icky, sticky gel is used for an echo) Dr. Lax took me back to her office. It was there that she told me that Syd had a hole in her heart called an atrial septal defect - a defect she was born with (congenital) and she was going to need surgery soon so correct it. I'm not sure how I held it in, but all I wanted to do was cry. My sweet little girl had to have her chest opened up and her heart worked on? How could this be?
So I got Sydney from the echo tech, got all the information from the front about what the next step was and left. God must have been holding me close on the car ride back to Sydney's preschool because I never cracked. It was not until I got into my truck in the parking lot that I lost it, I mean hysterically lost it. I called my Mom and Dad and told them, all the while hyperventilating and sobbing. I just didn't think it could be real.
Over the next few weeks all of the appointments were made and the date of the surgery set: April 13th. Every moment I was around Syd I was I rock - I had to be. But every night she was asleep I would cry until the tears wouldn't come. I was so scared. I knew that my amazing God would take care of her, but my human instinct still left me feeling helpless. While she was in that OR I couldn't do anything but trust God.
We had met Dr. Copeland (who is the foremost CardioThoracic Surgeon in the COUNTRY, I didn't know this until afterwards) for a pre-surgical appointment. My mother came along for support. On that day we met with a child life specialist to help explain to Syd what would happen and to take a tour of the PICU and peds unit. This was great because we got to meet some of the nursing staff who would be caring for Sydney. They were/are wonderful (I work at UMC now).
So it's April 13th, 7:00 and we leave the apartment en route to the hospital. We had to be there at 7:30 and surgeruy was at 1:00, but they would prep her at 11:30. My parents were there with me. The staff called us to the pre-surgery area where Syd would get her gown on and she would see the anesthesiologist. He gave her the "kiddie cocktail" (sedation) and took her back.
The hallway from the pre-surg area was horrible. It was long, cold and silent. I cried the entire way up to the PICU waiting room where my parents were. They cried right along with me. That was one of the two times I have ever seen my father cry.
Time passed slowly. I just sat at stared at spots on the wall and the people around me. Finally what seemed like 20 hours later (in reality it was 5) they brought her out. She was not intubated, which I was afraid she was going to be, but she was sedated, confused and in pain. She kept telling me "Mom, I can't wake up". I didn't cry so I could be strong for her. The PICU nurses said we had to wait until they got her settled to come in. However, 2 minutes later a nurse came and got me saying "she is crying for her Mom, you can come back". When I got back they had given her Morpine and she was calm. Sydney had every line, tube, and wire imagineable coming out of her. I didn't know what to do but sit by her bed and watch her. That is pretty much what I did all night long. I don't even remember sleeping.
As the days went on her pain eased, and she was able to have her urinary catheter removed to get up and go to the bathroom. The first couple days the wouldn't let her eat because she threw up a lot from the anesthesia, which very hard for her to understand. But as the days passed the pacer wired came out, the IV in her foor came out, the arterial line came out and the chest tubes came out. By the last day of her stay she only had her Central line in her neck for mantinence fluids. She was a trooper my little kid :)
We had many,many,many loving and wonderful friends come and see her. I don't think I would have coped without their love and support. My mother came everyday around noon and stayed for hours just hanging out with Sydney so I could grab a snack or go to the family room and wash one of the few pairs of clothes I brought and shower. My father, brother and mom would come every evening before visiting hours ended to bring me dinner. It was a blessing to have such a support system. The nursing staff was great too offering to bring me a drink or sit in the room with her so I could use the bathroom.
On the day of Sydney's discharge I was sooooo excited!!! And strangely a bit sad. Don't get me wrong, I was so glad to be taking Sydney home, but I was actually going to miss the Nurses and staff of the PICU. They had become our family while we were there. They cried and laughed with me and were just as excited when Syndey went home!
When we came back to the hospital for Sydney's post surgery check-up we went to visit the staff in the PICU. They were so thrilled to see her. One of the nurses, my favorite Diane even stopped talking to an administrator to come and give Sydney a hug!! That is someone dedicated to the patients!!!!!
So it is 2009, 5 years later and you would have never known Syd had surgery unless you looked at the scar across her chest and the chest tube scars below. We always joke that it looks like an upside-down happy face :). She is healthy, she is happy, and she is truly a miracle in my life. God granted me with such a wonderful gift of being a parent and even though he put this bump on our road, it has made me as well as Sydney stronger for it.
Our God is an Awesome God!!