The event we've had on the horizon since the day Gabe came home to us. Open heart surgery. And it's here.
We have our bags packed, our plans in place.
Josie is going to spend the weekend with a great friend and my mom will pick her up on Sunday to take her up to Minnesota for as long as needed. This is the first and longest time her and I have been apart. It's a different kind of anxious, but I'm feeling it equally to have her so far from me for so long. I know that she will have the best time, but that doesn't make it any easier. I already miss her squeally laugh.
Tomorrow morning, Andrew and I have to get up extra early and head up to Egleston with Gabe for pre-op.
They told us to block out the entire day. He will have a lot of labs done and spend some time with the child life specialist, who will explain what is going to be happening as much as you can to a four year old. Andrew and I will get to meet with the entire surgical team and get a time for surgery.
Then on Friday, we will come back up and Gabe will go on the bypass machine, where he won't be breathing or pumping his heart, for the entire surgery which I'm told should last 3 or 4 hours. From there, he will go in to ICU for the night. We will be able to stay with him as soon as they get his heart and lungs going again after surgery.
Today, I am calm.
Collected, at peace.
Today the entire event has become a check list of things to survive.
Wake up. Drive. Sign in.
I will go through each one, one at a time. Try my very hardest to stay right in that moment and not jump ahead.
For those who have asked exactly what they will be doing, here is a very amateur explanation:
The surgeon will be attaching a tube of a special plastic (a conduit of Gore-Tex) from the lower body vein (Inferior Vena Cava) to the base of the lung artery (Pulmonary Artery) diverting blue (deoxygenated) blood away from the heart straight to the lungs. A hole (fenestration) may be created between the tube and the right collecting chamber (Right Atrium). As with the Internal Fontan there can be a rise in pressure in the lung arteries after surgery and the hole acts as a pressure valve.
If all goes as planned, Gabe will slowly recover over the next couple months, resulting in him having more energy. The increase in oxygenated blood will allow him to grow and have as much energy as possible with a one chamber heart.
It sounds pretty foreign, but I have a feeling these words will become a second language over the next couple of weeks.
As I'm sure you can imagine, there are a lot of risks. A lot that can go wrong. We are choosing to not hover over those, but are aware that they are there.
I went back and forth on whether I would or not, knowing that some of it will be ugly and graphic. But at the end of the day, reading other Heart Mom blogs is what got me through the preparation for this. Knowing that we weren't alone. Getting a glimpse of what was coming.
It's also the easiest way to update everyone without having to say the same thing 1000 times.
Please pray for our family.
For continued peace. That Gabe would do well and thrive throughout this whole thing. For endurance and strength and wisdom. For bravery and support and calmness. For Josie's heart while she is so far away. For all Grandparents and other family members that are all worried about our boy.
Ready or not, here we go.