Surgery Day

I had every good intention to update more thoroughly yesterday, but exhaustion, stress, and lack of good opportunity killed that idea pretty quickly. Now I've tried three times to start this one, but whether it be phone-calls, visitors, nurse check-ins, or Leana needing me, interruptions have abounded! 

Yesterday morning started super early, with us bundling up our baby, and heading out the door of the Easter Seals house around 6:15. Leana's last feed time was 3:45am, but she refused to nurse after her 2:30am feeding, which really concerned me! Her surgery time wasn't until 7:45, and I didn't know how it would be caring for such a hungry baby up until that time. Looking back on it all, I can sense we were carried by prayers, as she only got fussy about 10 minutes before they gave her the first dose of her "sleepy" medicine. To me, that's a miracle in itself!

Right before her sleepy medicine. 
They gave her the sleepy medicine about 20 minutes before they took her from us. That time will always be a special memory for me. She cuddled close into my arms, gazed trustingly into my eyes, and whenever we talked to her, she would give us this droopy, dazed, yet warm smile. When the nurse came to take her, she didn't make a verbal protest, but twisted her body around to stare at me while she was being walked into the OR. I'll admit - we both fell apart at that point. I don't think my eyes recovered all day from that cry... 

Somehow we found our way over to the coffee shop on that floor, and nursed a cup with a giant molasses cookie, and called that our breakfast. We felt shell-shocked for a bit, but finally collected our stuff and decided to walk to the nearby Safeway and buy groceries for the rest of our stay. It actually really helped pass the time - particularly for me as I had to hunt hard for items whose prices didn't send my blood pressure through the roof. Like seriously - $8 for a box of cereal, $6 for a loaf of bread, and $5 for a small jar of mayo? Don't get me started on cheese costs.... 

We went back to our disaster of a room, and I concentrated on organizing our tiny space, putting away groceries, and throwing a bit of real breakfast together. I was rushing by the end, as by then it was only 45 minutes till the projected end of her surgery. The butter was sizzling hot in the pan and I was two second away from cracking eggs when our pager went off. Instead, snacks and homemade soup and bread from the friends we stayed with over the weekend got thrown in, and we raced back to the hospital as fast as we could. We only had a couple minute wait until Leana's surgeon met with us.

Dr. Gandhi basically gave the report that everything went super well, and the pulmonary hypertension they were concerned about didn't seem to be an issue at all. He said the hole was absolutely enormous - we knew it was large, but even he seemed to be surprised at how large. In talking with him, I was finally able to get the reassurance I didn't that there was nothing I did during her pregnancy that caused it... 

Minutes after we saw her for the first time. 
About an hour later we were able to visit her in the pediatric ICU. We were SO happy to see our little angel, and were incredibly impressed with her color, etc. We were completely prepared for the wires and tubes she was hooked to from the picture they showed us beforehand, but not for the signs of discomfort and pain she showed for the next 8 hours. I had the impression that her sedation would keep her totally out, but they explained that it's a fine balance between pain management and keeping her blood pressure and respirations within acceptable ranges. She didn't do well at all on morphine, and by the time they had that figured out, meds switched over, and her more settled it was well into the evening.  

During this time, I struggled immensely with wanting to be with her, but feeling on the verge of an emotional breakdown whenever I was. It was so incredibly hard seeing her in so much discomfort, and wanting nothing more than to cuddle her, nurse her, and make things better. I was so completely helpless, and physically and emotionally worn down. 

We finally talked to her nurse quite frankly, and she encouraged me that the best thing I could do for my daughter at that time was to go back to our room and get some desperately needed rest. I struggled with feeling like a "bad mom" for "deserting" my daughter, but she helped me work through many of those feelings. The next 3-4 hours we napped, showered, and took a long walk. Upon arriving back we found out that those times had been her worst for discomfort, but they had also nailed the reasons why and the solution. In my condition, it was probably best that I wasn't there.... 

Feeding her for the first time.
In spite of us struggling with how sick she appeared, her nurse was ICU nurse was SUPER positive with how well she was doing. Upon arriving to her bed this morning, we were informed that she was within a few hours of being moved out of the PICU and up to children's ward. 75% of her tubes and wires were out, and I was one happy mom when they put her in my arms.  Knowing that it could have been 48 hours she was in the PICU, this news given at less than 24 hours was wonderful. 

Right now as I write, we are in the children's ward, with our own private room, bed, shower, and wonderful, friendly nurses. Leana has been awake on and off, eating wonderfully, and making fast progress. We are looking forward to tomorrow when the line in her neck is taken out, and the chest drainage tubes. These rather irritate her now, and we've been told she will be lots more comfortable once those are removed. For now, though, we're just relaxing, catching up on correspondance, and enjoying spending time with our daughter. 

Finally settled last night. 
We so appreciate all your prayers and encouragement! I wish I could have more promptly update this, but our lives were pretty full yesterday. :-) You can look for something more in a few days. 


  1. I have been praying for you! It must be so hard to have to watch you baby go through this. When I first read about it my heart broke for you as a mom. I will keep praying.

  2. This brought tears to my eyes as I can't imagine how hard it must be to watch your baby girl go through something like that. Praise the Lord for the successful surgery and her speedy recovery!

  3. Dear heart broke when I read your account of surgery Amanda. Picturing Leana was like I was putting my little girl in her place. She's so special to us and we will continue covering her in prayer. Blessings to you too.

  4. Praise the Lord that everything went well! I can't imagine having to go through sometning like this. Will keep praying for a full good recovery!


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