Thursday, October 18, 2007

Going Home!

Anna was released from the hospital 4 days after having open heart surgery - Is that not amazing? She is recovering well and except for the medicines she has to take, she enjoys most of her days at home. This week she has really discovered her feet and lifts them up to stare at them. She also has been giving out oodles of smiles this week. I don't think we realized how hard things were on her before the surgery. She used so much energy just to breathe and eat that she didn't have much left for smiling and exploring. We are so thankful for her fast recovery and her new found joy!

Moving on Up!

Tuesday evening Anna began to come out of her second sedation and was so alert. I was able to feed her a bottle which was the first food she had actually tasted since Saturday night. She had been on a feeding tube for the past couple of days. We left Tuesday evening to go home again since she had to spend another night in PICU. When we called to check in on her Wednesday morning the nurse said she had been so alert that they ordered her a mobile and she was eating like a little piggie. I remind you, this is the night nurse saying how alert she was! Yes, I am still paying the price for this.
We headed off to Erin's first field trip Wednesday morning and then scooted on to the hospital. We arrived just in time for her big move back to the Step Down Unit 3C where she would do the rest of her recovery. Happy to be nursing again and have a little more privacy, Anna was recooperating so well. She was such a trooper as the nurses came in every 2 hours to check vitals and poke at her. Mommy was exhausted from the constantly interrupted sleep, but knew it would be over soon.
The great news came on Thursday afternoon, Anna was okayed for discharge. We were floored that it all could happen so fast, but we were ready to be at home so we could get back to our normal routine. The first few nights have been an adjustment. Anna got her days and nights mixed up again, but she is quickly returning to her routine. We have been stuck inside this week since they don't want Anna exposed to any sickness. Hopefully next week we can return to getting out a few mornings. I'm looking forward to taking my little Pumpkin Pie to the Pumpkin Patch next week and watching her turn into a round little pumpkin herself. She is so much happier and looks so much healthier.
God has been so gracious throughout this process. If you would have asked me months ago if I could handle my child having open heart surgery, I would have told you not in a million years. I can't explain it, but there is something that happens to you when you are faced with a situation like this. I had a choice, to deny this was happening and crawl into a hole of despair, or to face it with courage and faith that God doesn't give us more than we can handle. Knowing that truth and having to actually live it out are two different things. There are times I feel God gives me more than I can handle - and it is more than I can handle - on my own - that's why He steps in and makes Himself so present that the most unbearable situation becomes bearable. Praise be to God who gives us the power through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Miracle Tuesday!

We arrived Tuesday morning at the hospital excited to find our little girl awake and looking around. We had gone home Monday night to get a decent night's sleep since she was in the PICU and I would have had to sleep on a bed in a room the size of my closet. Actually, we both could have slept there - they had bunk beds! So we opted for our own bed at home. Upon arriving home Monday night we called to check in on Anna and they were still concerned about her heart rate being so high. She was now peeking around 220bpm. They asked us to call back at 9:00 for another update after they had given her some medicine. At 9:00 her heart rate had dropped to a perfect 130bpm. Phew...we could get some rest and feel confident she was okay.

So we woke up Tuesday morning and called in and her rate was about 150bpm which was manageable they said they were getting ready to take all her tubes out. We arrived at the hospital and the doctor quickly came over. "She looks great, she's profusing well, her color is good, her rate is good, only one minor glitch - we can't get her stomach tube out." We didn't quite know how big of a deal that was until he said we're going to have to go in and surgically remove it. Okay Lord, another surgery, more anesthesia, another breathing tube - we really don't want to go through this again, but if it has to be done, then it has to be done.

The surgeon came by to explain the problem to us, "Apparently I either accidentaly caught a stitch in the tube, or it is stuck on something else." He apologized immensely and Joe was very gracious with him explaining we were so grateful for what he had done, that this was just a minor set back. So we prepped for surgery, again. Got the prayer chains going and asking people to pray that the tube would fall out before they had to go in and remove it.

We wheeled her down the long hallway, again. I was hoping they would give it one more try, one more little yank before going to the extreme measure of surgery, but that wasn't the plan. We went to the waiting room to wait for the hour and a half/two hours to slowly tick by. Imagine our shock when after 45 minutes the surgeon walked in and declared, "It came out, It just came out!" We immediately responded with Praise the Lord, and the surgeon responded, "He is an Awesome God!" How exciting it was to hear the good news, but also to have the surgeon share in our belief that it was only God that could have caused the tube to fall out.

The miracle we had prayed for all along was for Anna's heart to be healed. When it wasn't, we accepted it and knew God would bring her through the surgery. How awesome God is to have given us an unexpected miracle, one we couldn't possibly have seen coming weeks ago. He answered our prayers in the immediate need of them. He showed us and all those praying for Anna that He is still in the business of making miracles. He gives us just what we need, when we need it. Thank the Lord for our Miracle Tuesday.

Monday, October 15, 2007

One week ago....

I was nursing Anna this morning, just thankful to be holding her in my arms. One week ago at that time I was kissing her forehead and sending her off with nurses I had met just moments before. She simply looked up at Joe and I, and her grandparents as if to say, "what's the big deal?" not a clue of what was about to transpire. I was so thankful she was so peaceful and content, not screaming, I think that would have made it harder to let her little hand go.

Our journey had begun about 5 days before this. I had taken Anna to her 2 month checkup at her Pediatrician on Wednesday morning. I had complained because this appt. should have been a week and a half prior, but the Dr. didn't have anything until Anna was almost 10 weeks old. God knew what He was doing, Anna's condition didn't really make itself evident until the few days leading up to this appt. Our Pediatrician was very concerned and wanted to get us into the cardiologist immediately. That afternoon, we spent 4 hours at the hospital getting all kinds of tests done. We were sent home with an aggressive feeding schedule to try to prolong surgery for another couple of weeks. Those 2 days at home were treacherous and I truly felt she was getting worse. I made the call to the Dr. on Friday afternoon and he agreed with everything I was describing that it was best for Anna to be in the hospital and have surgery sooner than later.

Friday night was the worst night poor little Anna has ever experienced. Poking and prodding until 3:00 in the morning. Over the next 2 days she rarely experienced uniterrupted sleep and began to flinch everytime someone would touch her. I can't even count the number of times I told her I was sorry and I would take the pain for her in a heartbeat. We are so thankful she won't remember this pain.

It's hard to describe, but Joe and I both felt relieved that we were at the hospital and it had come time to do the surgery. Knowing it would be in her future, we both agreed we would rather have it done and behind us so that she could experience life to its fullest. To us, Monday morning was the beginning of a new life for Anna. The adrenaline that kept us both going was similar to the adrenaline you feel right after your child comes into the world. We felt excited for her, and not an ounce of worry. It amazes me that we could feel this way, and again, I know that it was because of the prayers being lifted up for us all.

So this Monday morning, one week later, I held in my arms a precious little angel, who I now like to call Pumpkin Pie, and I praised God for bringing her to this place in her life and allowing her to breathe deeply, eat sufficiently and grow appropriately. What an amazing God we serve - look what He can do in a week's time!
(written on Monday, October 15, 2007)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Where do I begin?

So I've been catching up on blogs this evening, because I truly did miss being in the know this week. Luckily, a lot of you hadn't done any new posts, so I didn't have too much to catch up on. I've also been sitting here debating where to pick up on my own blog. Do I blog about the surgery, what I've learned, what we've been through this week, what the future holds, or do I let it simply pass by, because truthfully, thinking about it all is overwhelming.

Then, I get to Sue's blog and read the post about the front steps, and suddenly the tears that I have held back for a week begin to pour. I don't know where to begin, and I probably will just post for the next few days as things come to memory or the Lord leads me to share.

I think it is only fitting that I start with giving the Lord, our Maker and our Healer, 100% of the glory that He deserves. We prayed from the moment we found out about Anna's heart defect that He would heal her - knowing full well that He had that capability. And as the weeks progressed and her prognosis stayed the same, I cried out again and again, begging for Him to do just that. But, that was not His ultimate plan. He planned for this surgery and to allow the surgeons, whom He gifted and prepared for this moment, to do their work and mend our little Anna's heart. We haven't fully learned all that we are going to from this experience, but we've seen glimpses of His plan in the works.

One such lesson I personally have learned is the power of prayer. I know with no uncertainty that on Monday morning half of the Hampton Roads area was praying for Baby Anna. What a testimony to her life to know that so many people were praying for her and coming together all over the city to lift her up. Whether on their front porch, the treadmill, the office desk or inside the waiting room, the prayers of many were being lifted up - for MY little girl - how overwhelming that thought is. I know that without this prayer, Joe and I would not have made it through this situation the way that we did. I also know that most of you must have been praying for peace for me - because I had a peace that passes all understanding. It was an unexplainable peace and I could feel the prayers lifting me up.

I want to personally thank each person that lifted us up on Monday and every other day of the week, but I know that is impossible to do. I hope each of you know that your prayers were answered and the Lord has done a mighty work. Thank you for your friendship and support throughout this week.

I'm going to close for now, but I will continue to recap last week throughout this week. I want to do it to give testimony to the things God has done, and to have it as a journal for Anna to read one day to show her how her testimony began and what the Lord did for her on this her 10th week of life!