We had to be at the hospital at 6am. We signed a ton of papers and then they took us in a little room. The nurse pulled out the tiniest little hospital gown and blue little socks for us to put Conner in. (I will post a pic later of it). We put it on Conner, and tied the ties in the back (just like an adult gown!) He was SO stinkin cute in it!!! Then we were transferred into a few different waiting areas. The surgeon came and talked to us, and then the anesthesiologist came and spoke with us as well. When he was done talking with us, he had us follow him down a hallway. Then at the end of the hallway, he turned to us, told us to give Conner kisses, and then we had to hand over Conner to him. Can you say tear-jerker! Ahh! I was fine up until I placed Conner in his open arms, and he looked at us with his big blue eyes, so calm, and the anesthesiologist walked away with him, both in their surgery attire.
A nurse would come update us at all the major parts of the surgery. The hardest update for me to hear was when she let us know they had made the incision. No turning back after that! Thinking of his precious little chest that I had given kisses to, had tickled and rubbed lotion all over, being opened, was emotional for me. The time in waiting room actually went faster than we had anticipated it would, which of course was nice. We were finally able to go in and see Conner at about 1:30pm. He was not as swollen and puffy as people had told us that he would be, which we were so thankful for. It is so hard to see your sweet little baby hooked up to so many tubes, and cords and scary looking things. It is hard not to be able to hold them and comfort them. With so many tubes and things going on, they keep him sedated until he is ready to lose some of the tubes, etc.
Late this morning they were able to successfully remove his breathing tube. They tried to remove it yesterday, but his body wasn't quite ready for it, and was so 'comfortable' with all the medications he was on, that he decided he didn't want to do the work to breath on his own. They had to replace the bt, but it was difficult because he kept throwing up while they were attempting to put it down. The whole process took about an hour, and it was one of the most stressful, emotionally-draining experiences. This morning we were so nervous about them taking it out. They removed it, and then Conner started coughing and crying. The saddest sound you will ever hear...a baby who is sedated and trying to cry. It's a really quiet, drawn-out cry that breaks your heart. But it was a very good sign that he was ready to breathe on his own, and he has been doing really well since being off of it!
Each day he will be on less medications and less tubes. The average recovery time is 7-10 days in the hospital. It will take 6 weeks for the full recovery. We are so excited to get him home and see how different Conner will be- meaning how much more energy he has now that all the extra calories, etc, are not being taken up by his heart. The surgeon explained a normal healthy baby uses about 100 calories a day, but a 'heart' baby uses about 180-190 calories a day. So we are excited to see the difference.
Thank you to everyone for all the prayers, and thoughts and well-wishes. We know Conner will recover well and that soon we will have him home.
One fun little perk I had today was that as I was leaving the CICU to go pump, I was stopped by a 'heart'-mom who follows our blog (and I follow hers). She recognized me from pics on our blog (we had never met before). We talked for a few minutes and it was so lovely to meet her in person! She has a beautiful baby girl who is just a few rooms down from ours here. We pray for her sweet little girl.
Another perk today was that one of our primary nurses from the NICU came down to see us here in the CICU. She brought a sweet little gift for Conner. We love her so much. She was so thrilled to see Conner and how much he has grown since she last saw him (it's been about 6 weeks since the last time she saw him). We appreciate all she did for Conner in the NICU and for her love and support she continues to give him.