Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Surgery - Stage 1, Norwood Procedure

Jasiu did Great ! Dr. Illbawi did Great! I thank GOD and the whole surgical team for taking such good care of our son.  Yesterday, 3/1/11 will be one of the most significant dates in our lives the day we handed our baby over pretty much a stranger to fix and literally touch his heart. It was an emotionally draining day and one of the longest that started out at 6 am when Emily woke up.

last pic with his chest perfectly clean

We got to the hospital and things were still looking good. Surgery around 2 pm. However when the doctors were doing thier rounds, the doctor informed us that an earlier x-ray of John's chest indicated a collapsed lung. Basically what that meant that there was mucus or some a mucus plug causing the left lung not to get enough oxygen. The resident at NICU showed us the X-ray and compared it to one a few days ago and told us that the lung was not getting enough oxygen and they want his lungs to be in tip top shape for the surgery. He ordered a few tests, suctioned and bagged him a few times and then reordered the x-ray. All this would have seemed extremely dangerous, and don't understress, it was a big deal, but I was sort of calm about this one, as one of fellow heart moms told me her baby had the same thing and she did very well and is thriving. The heart community is a wonderful thing, where other moms are so supportive and so informative and willing to share their exeriences that it can be one of the most reassuring resources for someone just starting this journey.  Anyways, they got that cleard and he was ready for surgery but surgery wasn't ready for him.

It turned out that another heart baby needed his surgery much more than John needed his. It was a different type of issue, but his condition required immediate repair, as opposed to John who was stable.  It was frustrating to keep waiting, we waited for 3 extra hours, but didn't know if the surgery would even be rescheduled. It did only take a few extra hours and we were taken from the NICU at around 4:45. It was quite a journey from NICU to surgery. We had the priviledge of getting escorted by Dr. Illbawi (head chief as one of the nurses put it) to surgery. This great skilled surgeon was the one, along with other nurses, wheeling our son  to surgery and doing the oxygen bag while en route. So the reason the trip was so intense is because here we have this 4 day old fragile baby who we want to keep as stable as possible and the respiratory therapist to join our walk down to surgery is missing, than we get to the elevator and the nurse forgets to press the floor we need, so instead of up to the floor we need to, our elevator skips our floor. We don't want to travel the elevator all the way up to 9th floor with John  if we don't need to so we exit at the nearest WRONG floor and press the button down. We get out the elevator door closes and the same elevator turns out wasn't needed any higher and reopened, so here we go again loading the same elevator and then end up on the 3 rd floor. We then hurry to OR and say our last goodby and kiss. It felt like someone was  taking him away and I had no idea if I was ever going to see my baby again.
Leaving to operating room

 Before John got wheeled in, we asked Dr. Illbawi how long, realistically, was this supposed to last. He nanchellantly said 6 hours and confirmed beginning to end.  We were really expecting 6 "hospital" hours to last 8 or 9 but to our suprise, the nurse came and gave us updates and at 5 hours 45 minutes she told us they are done with surgery, patch is being put on his chest and we can see him as soon s they stabilize him in his room in the PSHU (Pediatric Surgery Heart Unit) in about 2 hours. We were actually getting nervous why the surgery went so quickly, were they hurrying, or was John just taking it all very well. Turns out it was the later and things went great. The head chief came to talk to us and told us good news, we saw our son again a few minutes longer and stayed with him for about 2 hours that night. Since we live only 6 miles from the hospital we don't stay at the Ronald McDonald house and went home at 2 am. It was the longest day of our lives almost 24 hours (for me it ws 4 days post surgery) We were exhausted but all that mattered was that John was ok. The next 24-48 hours will be very important to see how his body heals and is weaned off of the medications, tubes and all the stuff that is currently coming out of his body. It's pretty grousome, so for those that didn't go throuh this it will seem like this kid went thorough war, and in some sense he did. A battle well fought and just waiting for recovery.

We will go see him and spend a lot of time watching him as his nurses in the PSHU will as well. We continue to pray for a speedy recovery and no bumps in the road. God bless !


  1. Thank you for the update. I knew your phone died, but I was glad to see this update today. He looks really good for just getting done with his surgery. I love the blanket!

    You all remain in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Sounds like he is doing great momma! Hang in there! We will be at Hope on Friday for Austin's cath. If he has to stay the night I will try to text you for a quick visit if you and he are up for it! <3 Sending lots of LOVE LOVE LOVE to Jasiu, you and your family!


  3. Great news; sounds like he handled his first surgery like a champ! I'll be checking back for updates on his progress as he recovers. Lots of prayers and happy thoughts over the next several weeks.


  4. Kathy,
    So glad to hear everything went well. I'm so glad I remembered to tell you about Olivia's lung collapse the morning of her Norwood! He looks great. I hope you're getting as much rest as possible. We have one of those blankets too, it's one of my most cherised possessions now. I just can't believe how far we've come in the last year. Many blessings and prayers for everyone's recovery.